BEREA—One of the common denominators of the play last week of Josh Cribbs and Jerome Harrison combining for 614 all-purpose yards was Lawrence Vickers.
The 6-0, 250 pound fourth year fullback from Colorado is a key blocker on kickoff returns and the lead blocker for the running backs on offense.
“To me, it’s about always blocking the right person,” Vickers said. “I’m always running as if the ball is in my hands and look for the block that springs the back.”
Vickers has not carried the ball this season and has caught eight passes for 27 yards and a touchdown. However, his pancake block on Cribbs’ first return was key and his seal block sprung Harrison on his 71-yard touchdown run.
Vickers doesn’t touch the ball much, but takes pride in seeing others excel.
“Each year, I’m trying to get better,” Vickers said.”A lot of fullbacks block, but I want to be a dominant blocker.”
Eric Mangini was very impressed with the work that Vickers has done, particularly last week against the Chiefs. He mentioned numerous times the blocking of Vickers.
He said that the play of Vickers on offense and special teams was one of the best blocking games he’s witnessed this year by a player. If it’s up to Mangini, Vickers could end up in the Pro Bowl.
“He had as good a game that I’ve seen from fullbacks I’ve been around,” he said. “(On Cribbs’ first return) he had some pancake blocks where he just leveled the guy.
“He had about the best game I’ve seen from a fullback this year.”
Vickers felt he had a good game and has played well.
“I hope I get the Chiefs’ vote (for the Pro Bowl),” he said. “I’m always working on my technique and trying to get better.”
Special Combination: RB Jerome Harrison and WR Josh Cribbs combined for the most all-purpose yardage by two teammates in NFL history when they combined for 614 yards against the Chiefs. Harrison rushed for 286 and added 12 yards receiving, while Cribbs had 316 total yards with 269 yards on kickoff returns, 36 yards on punt returns, eight yards rushing and one reception for three yards.
12/20/09—Browns-- Jerome Harrison and Joshua Cribbs – 614
12/18/95—49ers—Jerry Rice and Dexter Carter—550
9/15/85—Chargers—Wes Chandler and Lionel James—533
11/19/61—Browns—Jim Brown and Bobby Mitchell—511
12/16/62—Cardinals—Tommy McDonald and Timmy Brown—505
12/12/65—Bears—Gale Sayers and Jon Arnett—503
Mangini said he doesn’t think Harrison will feel added pressure to have another big week.
“Those (games) don’t happen very often, but what I want him to do is to keep improving,” he said. “He has improved on his pass blocking quite a bit.”
Cribbs Special: As all Browns fans know by now, Josh Cribbs is a special player. Cribbs was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his two touchdown returns on kickoffs against the Chiefs. It is the second time this season and third overall, he has picked up this reward.
His first return against the Chiefs set the NFL record for most kickoff returns for touchdowns in NFL history with seven.
Does Cribbs ever think that someday he could be the first primary special teams player to go to the Hall of Fame?
“I’ve thought about that and I try to keep focusing on the game this week,” he said. “That would be really special the way things have developed.”
Cribbs has accomplished much already, but could he even do more for the Browns?
“He has done a lot of things here,” Mangini said. “He has carried a lot of balls, caught some passes and done a lot of returns.”
Mangini was asked if he would kick to Cribbs if he was playing against him.
“There’s not a lot of great options,” he said. “You can kick it up or squib it and sometimes it goes out of bounds. Some teams have done a good job. I like the way the kickoff return team has played as a whole.”
No Huddle to Continue: Mangini indicated the Browns will continue to use the no huddle offense with QB Derek Anderson starting.
“He’s been working in the no huddle, but has not been getting the amount of work that Brady has,” Mangini said. “He has a lot of familiarity with it, but just hasn’t done it with the number of reps that Brady has.”
Mangini said he’s confident that Anderson will do well with the offense.
“I feel comfortable with it because he’s worked in the system and has been familiar with what we’re doing.”
Mangini says the Browns can capitalize on his strengths.
“I think DA has a lot of strengths,” he said. “He has the ability to stretch the field and can put some balls in really tight coverage. That can go two ways. Sometimes, it can be a great play and sometimes it might not be a great play.”
Charlie or JaMarcus: Former Browns and Akron QB Charlie Frye started last week against the Broncos, but suffered a concussion and its unknown if he will start this week. QB JaMarcus Russell replaced Frye and led the Raiders on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.
Mangini said it presents a challenge in preparation because the quarterbacks are so different.
“You’d like to know who it is because it does cause you to do more preparation in getting ready for one, two or three guys,” he said. “Because the quarterback controls the whole offense, it is more important for the quarterback.”
Three in a Row: Mangini was asked what a third win in a row would do for the Browns at this point of the season.
“The way we’ve been making progress is the most important thing,” he said. “The way we played defense last week was not the way we want to be playing. We want to be more consistent in all areas.”
No Decision on Quinn: Mangini said there has been no determination as to whether QB Brady Quinn would need surgery on his left foot. Mangini said the injury was to the right foot, but Quinn was seen clearly wearing a boot on his left foot.
“I don’t think that decision has been made yet.”