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Browns running back situation fluctuating

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On Friday after practice, the Browns announced starting running back Isaiah Crowell (hip) will be listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Maybe it was a ploy of gamesmanship or maybe the Browns just don't know, but coach Mike Pettine left the door open for who will be carrying the football at FirstEnergy Stadium.

"We actually repped four backs this week, so that's going to be a decision for us," Pettine said.

Cleveland signed veteran Shaun Draughn earlier this week after placing wide receiver Miles Austin on injured reserve. The shifty North Carolina alum has made waves in practice. Draughn, 26, spent time with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in 2011 with the Redskins.

"The Draughn kid has come in here and done a real nice job on special teams with [special teams coordinator Chris Tabor] and did a good job for Kyle," Pettine said. "He showed some things, and he's knowledgeable with the system.

"When we meet about the other positions, that's one that's going to be on the table as well. We're going to have to decide, more than likely, on three backs out of those four names."

Pettine also indicated there's a chance rookie running back Terrance West could be inactive for the Colts game. West blamed his costly fumble as the reason the Browns lost last week against the Bills, but Pettine said the rookie has responded.

"He did have a good week. He took ownership of it," Pettine said. "I think he realized that the impact that that play had, and you could tell. He was very much accountable for it."

Rookie running back Glenn Winston said he received more reps in practice this week than he has all season combined. When Ben Tate was still on the roster, Winston was often inactive on game days and only playing a role on special teams when he was active.

Now, with the rushing attack lacking consistency, Cleveland could slide Winston some carries.

"I feel good. I feel like the hard work has paid off. I'm just going to try and contribute to the team," Winston said.

Winston said the zone-running scheme the Browns employ suits his skill set. He described himself as a physical runner but defenders shouldn't underestimate his speed. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is an athletic specimen yearning for playing time. 

"They'll find a true competitor and one of the best teammates on this team," Winston said when asked what fans will see from him if he gets carries. "And a good athlete that's just been slept on."

Pettine, quarterback Brian Hoyer and the rest of the offense have said this and week, and all season, the Browns' winning formula features a heavy dose of running the ball.

Without any true big names – thanks to injured defensive end Robert Mathis – the Colts' run defense is ranked 12th in the league. On film, they've been an impressive unit that stays at home and doesn't concede many big plays.

But most teams have been abandoning the run in favor of the pass against Indianapolis. The Colts rank 25th in pass defense and will be without top cornerback Vontae Davis.

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