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Cleveland Browns: Can Terrance West Start Over Ben Tate Week One?
When the 2014 NFL Draft came around this past May, it was no secret the Cleveland Browns were going to add some running back depth. General managed Ray Farmer took care of that during the draft with Towson’s Terrance West, and with undrafted free agent, Isaiah Crowell.
Crowell is going to be in a major fight to make the squad and to get carries, but West has a chance to shine in new fffensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s offense. West has a nose for the end zone as he rushed for 41 touchdowns last fall at Towson.
West runs with a lot of force and has great vision. He also is capable of handling a heavy load of carries throughout a season. However, with Ben Tate as the lead back, West might not be getting a workhorse load of carries.
West lacks the elite speed of some other NFL backs, but as seen with Alfred Morris in Washington, elite speed is not needed in Shanahan’s running scheme. This is where Tate and West will thrive, as they can hit the hole and pound away for chunks of yards.
After the first few days of training camp there has been some speculation of West beating out Tate for the starting gig at running back. Though possible, this scenario is unlikely. Even if West does continue to perform well at camp, it would most likely be more split carries than West taking the majority.
With Tate’s history of injuries, it is very logical for the Browns coaching staff to give Tate less of a workload compared to a normal primary running back. West gives the Browns this option, and for the amount it seems like they will run the ball as a team, it looks like they have put themselves in a prime position to be forceful in the run game to opponents.
No matter who is at quarterback, this team is going to win ball games with defense and controlling the clock on offense. A run game to set up the passing game is going to be the key for the Browns to get the ball in the air.
Cleveland is equipped with receiving threats, but with the suspension of Josh Gordon looming, Jordan Cameron is the closest to a sure thing, big-time threat through the air. Therefore, the Browns will have to open the pass game by forcing teams to load up the box to stop the run game.
Expect Tate and West to carry the load, however, don’t be surprised if Edwin Baker and Crowell see a fair amount of carries if they are in fact on the roster come week one at Pittsburgh.
West most likely won’t start over Tate week one barring any injuries, however, if West continues to prove himself in camp, he should be able to eat into Tate’s carries and create more of a split carry situation to keep both backs fresh throughout the games.
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