YOU have to dig deep into the history of the rivalry between the Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers to find long-term success by the Browns.
When they defeated the Steelers, 13-6, late last season, it ended a 12-game winning streak in the rivalry for the Steelers. Dating back to the start of the 1994, season Pittsburgh has a 25-4 advantage.
Apparently, Joshua Cribbs hasn't studied history close enough. He's the only Browns player to have success against the Steelers, with the exception of one big game by quarterback Tim Couch in an improbable 33-13 win by the Browns in Pittsburgh in 2003.
Most of Cribbs' success has been on kick returns. Since signing with the Browns in 2005, Cribbs has returned 35 kicks for 969 yards (a 27.6-yard average) and three touchdowns.
In 2006, Cribbs totaled 150 yards on four returns, including a 92-yard return for a touchdown in a game in Cleveland. A year later, Cribbs had 201 yards on four returns, including a 100-yard return for a touchdown in a game in Pittsburgh.
There must be something about the sight of Steeler uniforms that gets Cribbs' motor going.
"We really get up for this game," Cribbs said. "When you hear from the fans, they really want a win. At the start of camp, they're not even talking about the first game sometimes. They're talking about the Pittsburgh-Cleveland Brown matchup."
Cribbs had success in another area in the Browns' win last season. Used extensively at quarterback in the wildcat formation, he rushed for 87 yards on eight carries.
It would have been wise for coach Eric Mangini to take a long look at film of that game before beginning practices in preparation for Sunday's game in Pittsburgh. With rookie quarterback Colt McCoy being forced into a starting role because of injuries to Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, Cribbs should be used quite a bit in the wildcat to ease the pressure McCoy will certainly feel.
The problem is that Cribbs has made strides as a receiver. While still a work in progress, he has 13 receptions for 175 yards, including a 65-yard catch for a touchdown.
The more Cribbs lines up at quarterback, the weaker a weak receiving corps gets. Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie have yet to reach double figures in receptions. Chansi Stuckey has 15 receptions.
Cribbs is happy to play any role on offense, but you get the feeling he prefers quarterback. It's been six years since he played quarterback at Kent State, but the position is still in his blood.
Cribbs views his wildcat role as a chance to help McCoy.
"It can help him succeed," Cribbs said. "It's not always third-and-long or backed up. (I can) put some momentum on his side."
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin would have had Cribbs on his mind even if Delhomme and Wallace hadn't been hurt. Now that McCoy is starting, Tomlin is sure to spend plenty of time devising ways to stop Cribbs.
"He's a unique athlete," Tomlin said. "With that I'm sure there's also great work ethic. He has great speed and agility and balance. He's uniquely powerful for a wide receiver-like guy.
"He covers kicks. He returns punts and kicks and plays offense. He's a highly-conditioned athlete. His physical skills are understated. To do some of the things he does you have to be uniquely conditioned. Guys like him and Devin Hester are special people."