Young Receivers Fight for Spots

Young Receivers Fight for Spots

Following on last night's Flash Analysis of the receiver position, Fred Greetham talks to the team's young receivers to get a sense of how the competition is going. Here's an update on that battle and Wednesday's injury updates...

BEREA – When it comes to the receiving corps, much of the talk is about the trio of Antonio Bryant, Dennis Northcutt and rookie Braylon Edwards with the departure of Andre Davis.

With mandatory cut downs looming next week, it appears Frisman Jackson, Richard Alston, C.J. Jones and rookies Brandon Rideau, Lance Moore and Josh Cribbs are battling for the remaining two roster spots assuming the Browns keep five wide receivers.

"It's always competitive," Jackson said. "With Andre leaving, it opens up a spot and I intend to keep that spot."

Cribbs had four nice catches during the 7-on-7 drills and 11-on-11 time.

"Converting to receiver has been tough," he said. "It's been a challenge, but I feel I'm picking it up and getting used to playing at this level."

Rideau has three receptions thus far in the preseason for 34 yards. Jackson, Moore and Alston each have one reception.  Cribbs and Jones have yet to catch a pass. Cribbs, however has made a major impact in the kick return game as he has returned four kickoffs for 141 yards (35.3 avg.). He also returned a punt for five yards. Rideau, Moore and Cribbs are undrafted rookie free agents. Cribbs' kickoff return performance against the Lions last Saturday might have clinched the return position for him.

Alston has one kick return for 29 yards. However, Alston was the Browns primary kick return man in 2004. He returned 46 kicks for 1,016 yards (22.1 avg.) including a 93 yard touchdown against Baltimore on Nov. 7. Jackson caught 13 passes for 168 yards (12.9 avg.) in 2004. He has 16 receptions for 203 yards (12.7 avg.) in his three year career. Jackson also returned four kicks for 70 yards.

"It's real competitive at the receiver spot," Alston said. "It's always going to be very competitive at this level. I'm just hoping I can show what I can do in the next couple of games."

Jackson wants to not only make the team, but he wants to be a key contributor to the Browns offense.

"There's no room for error," Jackson said "I want to be a go to guy, not just someone who makes the team. I want Trent (Dilfer) or whoever is the quarterback to look for me."

It might come down to special teams. Alston and Jackson each have three tackles on special teams thus far in the preseason. Cribbs has shown the most athleticism after being converted from a quarterback at Kent State to a wide receiver.  Jackson was a quarterback at Western Illinois and threw a pass last season.

"I think I can be used in many ways on this team," Cribbs said. "Right now, I feel I can really help on kickoff returns."

INJURY UPDATE: CB Gary Baxter (concussion) missed both practices and is expected to miss Friday's game with the Panthers. RB Lee Suggs (ankle) has also been ruled out of the game. CB Daylon McCutcheon (headaches) continued to work on individual drills along with CB Michael Lehan (hamstring) and S Brodney Pool.OL John Dunn (ankle) missed practice along with DL Ivory McCoy.

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