BEREA — The Cleveland Browns dropped to 2-3 with a disappointing loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 16. What made matters worse were the two special teams breakdowns that contributed to the loss.
Josh Cribbs spoke out after the game, saying he wants to be back making tackles on special teams like he did when he broke into the league. He feels like he might've been able to stop Oakland's Jacoby Ford from returning the 101-yard kickoff and help thwart the Raiders' fake field goal.
"I'm very insignificant on offense, so I need to be out there heavily on all special teams," Cribbs said. "I got the ball only twice, so that's insignificant right there. Snaps, it's insignificant. I want to help my team win. You get the ball to your athletes. I feel like where I'm an asset on this team is special teams, and I want to refocus on what got me into this league."
Cribbs caught two passes for 30 yards, including a 23-yard pass that sparked the Browns' first scoring drive. His other reception for seven yards was on the Browns' final drive.
Pat Shurmur understands Cribbs' frustration.
"It's frustrating to lose on plays like that."
"You have guys who want to make a difference and they get asked questions and they're going to say they want to do more to help the team," Shumur said. "That's why they're at this level. They are players who have made a difference."
Shurmur said the 10-minute cooling off period after a game is not always long enough for players to not speak out.
"Here's what I would say," Shurmur said. "You have guys who are highly competitive and when they don't win, they are asked questions and they answer. They want to win. We'll just move forward."
Shurmur said he'll talk with Cribbs about his concerns.
"When you have a player after a game disappointed, I know how hard it is for me to get my emotions under check," Shurmur said. "We are trying our best to get our returns.
"I think we put our best players out there as much as we can. We want to give (Cribbs) every opportunity to make plays."
Shurmur was asked if he'd put Cribbs back on all the special teams.
"Absolutely. I'll put him out there every play," he said. "I won't read his mind. I'll talk to him about it."
Sheldon Brown said the Browns are frustrated, but they can do something about it.
"We're very frustrated about the lack of consistency," Brown said. "I've always been a believer of not pointing fingers."
Joe Thomas said it could be a good sign to have players want to be more involved.
"I think you can look at it two ways," Thomas said. "You can look at is as the guys are selfish or you can look at it as guys that want the ball in crunch time, and that's the way I tend to look at it. You want to have guys like that on the team."
Hillis Injured: Shurmur was clearly taken off guard in questions about the injury to running back Peyton HIllis. He said he was told by trainer Joe Sheehan in the first quarter that Hillis had a hamstring injury to his left leg and should only be used in an emergency.
The confusion was that no announcement about Hillis suffering an injury was made in the press box until late in the third quarter. It is customary to hear that announcement much sooner. The speculation was that Hillis was simply not being used.
"You can be assured he had a hamstring injury," Shurmur said. "I can see why you're confused. I can tell you when it happened on a toss to the left and he made a nice run."
Hillis hurt his hamstring early in the game after carrying six times for 14 yards. Hillis did get sent back in to help pass block for a couple of plays after running back Montario Hardesty missed a blitz and quarterback Colt McCoy was hit hard.
"He was sent out on the field to block," Shurmur said.
Shurmur said he doesn't know if Hillis will miss time.
"He's been evaluated and we'll have to see how he does," he said. "I don't know how long could be, a couple days or longer."
Thomas said the loss of Hillis hurt the game plan.
"That was really tough," Thomas said. "We wanted to feed Peyton early and often. They wanted to stop the run and bring an extra blitzer. With Peyton out, that hurt us. We're hoping he can be ready to play next week."
Blame Game: Shurmur took the responsibility for the fake field goal that resulted in a touchdown.
"We sold out on the 53-yard field goal," Shurmur said. "That's on me. They just got us."
Fujita Concussion: Linebacker Scott Fujita suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter. Also, defensive back Ray Ventrone suffered a hamstring injury.
"We'll have to see how long it will affect him," Shurmur said.
Haden Update: Shurmur shed no new light on the status of defensive back Joe Haden, other than he continues to progress in his rehab from a sprained knee.
Colt's Troubles: Former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon said during the television broadcast that McCoy was having trouble picking up the blitzes and reading the defense. Shurmur disagreed.
"I don't think so," he said. "He's a young player working through what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. I think he's still confident.
"I think he does a good job in pre-snap judgments," he said. "He just needs to drop back and make the throws.
"He does a good job of recognizing."
Shurmur agrees that McCoy has to play better.
"There were times in the game that he was off the mark, but he can play better," he said. "I think he just has to drop back and throw it.
"There were a couple of times that there was pressure, and it appeared Colt didn't see it coming, but he did."
Thomas defended McCoy's development.
"I think Colt is doing a good job," Thomas said. "When you see him go out of the pocket, he's making an adjustment."
Shurmur doesn't think it's all on McCoy.
"I think everybody needs to be where they need to be and that's how you help the quarterback best," Shurmur said. "If the receiver is to be at eight yards, he needs to be at eight yards."
The Numbers: Offense is 24th overall (30th rushing, 19th pass) and seventh in defense (27th rushing, fourth pass)… McCoy is 121 of 217 for 1,199 yards (55.8 completion percentage) with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. His quarterback rating is 78.1.