Cleveland Browns: It’s Time To Pass Torch on Kick Returns
In yesterday’s win at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cleveland Browns finally got a touchdown out of their special teams. The only thing, the big play didn’t come from NFL record holder Josh Cribbs, it came from rookie fourth round pick Travis Benjamin. After seeing Benjamin turn on the afterburners and blow by the entire Chiefs’ punt coverage team, this begs the question; is it time to make the switch?
In the first half of the contest, the Browns used a little trickery on special teams. The move was a very interesting one by special teams coordinator Chris Tabor. Right before the Chiefs snapped the ball, the Browns pulled Cribbs up to rush and Benjamin went from blocking the gunner to back to return the punt. After a line drive punt by Dustin Colquitt, Benjamin caught it, eluded the first couple of tacklers and then it was off to the races. Benjamin is so fast, I have rightfully given him the nickname “Ricky Bobby”. The 93 yard return to the house was a huge momentum changer in the game. At that point, the score became 10-7 and the Browns never looked back.
Taking absolutely nothing away from Cribbs, maybe it’s time for Benjamin to takeover the retuning reigns. The 100th pick overall in this past draft is incredibly fast and adds a new dimension for Browns’ scoring opportunities. Cribbs is a great returner and top ten in the NFL in both kick/punt returning average, but just hasn’t been able to return one for a touchdown this year.
At the end of the day, speed kills. Benjamin is much faster than Cribbs and those are facts. With Cribbs slowly being inserted in to the offense in the “Flash” package, why not let Benjamin grab the returning duties for the rest of the year? What could it hurt?
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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