Dynamic Playmaker Brought On Board To Boost Putrid Special Teams Unit

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Jets’ badly sputtering kick-return game just took on some rocket fuel.

Josh Cribbs, a four-time Pro Bowler who was once one of the best returners in the game, signed a contract with the Jets on Tuesday, the team announced.

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Terms of the deal were not immediately known.

Cribbs, 30, spent his first eight NFL seasons in Cleveland, registering 10,015 career kickoff-return yards and eight touchdowns. He also added three punt-return TDs in that span.

The Browns chose not to re-sign Cribbs after the 2012 season, possibly due to concerns over a knee injury. The Jets, however, kept tabs on him for months and pulled the trigger on the deal Tuesday, clearly satisfied he’s 100 percent healthy and clearly concerned that their special teams have issues.

The Jets are 27th in kick-return average and 14th in punt-return average, so signing the dynamic Cribbs makes a lot of sense. With Mike Goodson out for the season due to a knee injury and Clyde Gates placed on injured reserve with a shoulder problem, the Jets decided to roll the dice on a player who has breakaway ability and could buck the league-wide trend on touchbacks.

Cribbs will likely also take over the punt-return duties, leaving wide receiver Jeremy Kerley to concentrate on playing the slot from scrimmage. Crubbs could also help as a receiver after recording 107 catches for 1,161 yards and seven touchdowns with Cleveland.

Ivory Has Some Issues

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Whatever good vibes the Jets had about their offense following their big win in Atlanta in Week 5 have slowly disappeared.

The Jets gained 83 yards on 20 carries on the ground during their 19-6 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday, but Chris Ivory got only four carries and was on the field for just nine offensive snaps. Particularly alarming was an early 3rd and 1 from the Steelers’ 2 that featured Bilal Powell getting stuff instead of Ivory, who claims he was told he’s the short-yardage back, getting a chance.

“Honestly, I feel like it’s been a little bit conservative,” he told reporters on Monday. “Hopefully, we get some things going. But it hasn’t been as many [carries] as I thought.”

In all, Ivory, who was traded for and then signed to a three-year, $6 million contract during the offseason, has 34 carries in five games. He missed one due to a hamstring injury. Ivory said he’s 100 percent healthy now and expects the ball more. And with the season-ending injury to Mike Goodson it stands to reason he will be used a lot more.

“I’m happy, I’m fine,” he said. “I say that because we have a lot of ball left. But if it’s close to the end of the season and it’s still the same, I can say I wouldn’t be too happy.”

The Jets (3-3) host the New England Patriots (5-1) on Sunday.

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