The New York Jets head into their Week 11 matchup with the Buffalo Bills needing a win to maintain their control of the final AFC playoff spot. The Jets will get Santonio Holmes, Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow back from injury and suspension this week, and all three players should make a big impact on the passing game.
However, the Jets will be without slot receiver Jeremy Kerley, who will miss the next few games with an elbow injury. Greg Salas will see a lot of playing time in his place, but the Jets would also be well served to create some chances for Josh Cribbs. Cribbs only gained 18 yards on his 5 touches against the New Orleans Saints, but he also completed a pass for 25 yards and showed his versatility.
Without Kerley, the Jets need someone to be the type of player who can pick up key third downs and turn short receptions into long gains. Cribbs is a former Pro Bowl return man, and he has the ability to create big plays when the team can get him the ball in space. The Jets have been building a package for Cribbs, and they have used him in the Wildcat in recent weeks. This game could be a great opportunity for Marty Mornhinweg to expand Cribbs’ role in the offense and see what he can do.
Cribbs’ versatility allows the Jets to remain unpredictable on offense, which makes things easier for the entire offense. The Jets will continue to use Cribbs in the Wildcat, but getting him the ball on screens, reverses and short passes over the middle could all lead to big gains. At the very least, it is something extra that the Bills have to think about.
The Jets have been lacking explosive plays this season, as they don’t have a breakaway threat at running back and their best deep receiver, Stephen Hill, has been extremely unproductive. If the Jets can stretch the field, it will open up the running game for Chris Ivory as well as short and intermediate passes for Geno Smith. Cribbs could provide the big plays the Jets have been looking for, and don’t be surprised if they try to get him the ball quite a bit on Sunday.