BEREA, Ohio— For the first time in many weeks, Josh Cribbs is not listed on the injury report. Cribbs has played the past few weeks, but his duties have been scaled back since dislocating four toes against the Jets on Nov. 14. Eric Mangini thinks the Browns can use him in any fashion they deem this week.
“I thought Josh looked really good last week,” Mangini said. “I thought it was probably the best he’s looked from a physical perspective. I’m assuming that that’s how it’s going to look this weekend. He’s looked good in practice.”
Cribbs was a big reason the Browns defeated the Steelers late last season at home as Cribbs rushed for 87 yards out of the Wildcat.
In October, Cribbs was knocked out of the first game this year with a concussion. He also has three of his eight touchdowns on kickoff returns against the Steelers.
“He’s done a lot of good work against Pittsburgh,” Mangini said.
Wait ‘Til Next Year: The majority of next year’s opponents have been set. In addition to the two games each with the AFC North rivals Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati, the Browns will host Jacksonville, St. Louis, Seattle and Tennessee. They will travel to Arizona, Houston, Indianapolis and San Francisco.
The two undetermined games will be at home against the AFC East team that finishes in the same spot in the standings as the Browns. Currently, it would be Miami. The final road game will be against the AFC West team that corresponds to the Browns, which currently, is Oakland.
Draft Wise: The Browns could finish in the top five or fall to as low as 14. Carolina is 2-13, while three teams are 4-11. There are six teams at 5-10, with four teams at 6-9.
Injury Update: Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip) and Lawrence Vickers (illness) were back at practice Thursday.
Peyton Hillis (ribs), Brian Schaefering (shoulder) and Floyd Womack (knee) were still held out.
“I do still feel good about (Hillis) playing (Sunday),” Mangini said.
Rookie Shawn Lauvao will take reps for Womack at right guard.
The Talk: Mangini was asked hypothetically, if he would be open to changing to the West Coast offense if asked to by Mike Holmgren.
“I figure I’ll have any conversations after the season and those things will take of themselves,” Mangini said. “Right now, it’s Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh.”