They win a game with the hapless JaMarcus Russell at quarterback, and suddenly they think they're invincible.
Head coach Tom Cable and a number of other Raiders acknowledged Wednesday that the Raiders will, in fact, kick to return specialist Josh Cribbs when they face the Cleveland Browns Sunday, the Oakland Tribune reports. Cribbs became the NFL's all-time kickoff-return touchdown leader by scoring his seventh and eighth touchdowns off kickoff returns this past weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Yes, Cribbs is the all-time leader in kickoff returns for touchdowns. And he has earned this mark in only his fifth season in the league.
"We're going after (Cribbs), we have to," coach Cable told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He's a heck of a returner but we have good coverage teams and good kickers."
When Josh Cribbs himself heard this news, he became more excited than a hockey player in Carrie Underwood's dressing room. "I'm pretty shocked," Cribbs told the Chronicle, "If that's true, then they got egos and we got to prove it to them like we got to prove it to everybody else."
Raiders' punter Shane Lechler sounds fearless. "We’re going to do exactly what we did to Hester, what we did to Dante Hall four years ago when he was at Kansas City,” Lechler told the Oakland Tribune. “ When you do (kick away from the returner) it goes to show that you don’t trust your guys. I’m willing to put my guys up against anybody. I like my guys. My punt team is outstanding, they play their butt off every Sunday.”
If they're going to keep Cribbs from dominating the game, they'll have to play their pants off again this Sunday.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who wishes there were some of Josh Cribbs' wife's Twitter histrionics he could read on this topic.