Terrance West went out for a route in training camp during a passing drill. The rookie running back shook linebacker Craig Robertson on a double-move, raced down the left sideline and caught an incredible one-handed pass. Fans roared loudly and whipped out their phones to Tweet about how polished Cleveland's new rookie running back looked.
That was back in late July.
The preseason wasn't as kind to West as the practice field was. The burly 5-foot-10, 225-pound running back carried the football 31 times in four games for 83 yards. That's 2.7 yards per carry. Often times, he tried hitting the home run by cutting outside, instead of keeping the pile moving forward four-yards at a time.
So, Mike Pettine, what did you think of West in live game action?
"Inconsistent, but I think it was good for him," said Pettine. "We put him out there in some situations that we wanted to see him in. There were some times where he made plays, and then he made rookie mistakes some other times."
To make sure his message was clear, Pettine had a sit down meeting with West a few days ago. The two discussed West taking the next step and about competing for time as the third-down running back.
"We're pleased with where Terrance is, but it's something…he just needs to continue to get better," said Pettine. "Some guys kind of say, 'OK, I made it. I'm on the roster,' but to me, they need to accelerate, not decelerate."
Encouragement is coming from everywhere for West. On Tuesday night, Twitter was buzzing with West's name. Legendary San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice sent this note on the social media website.
West won the award at Towson last season, where he posted astronomical numbers – 2,509 rushing yards, 41 touchdowns and a championship berth for his Tigers. Jerry Rice, of course, starred at Mississippi Valley State.
Dawg Pound Downtown
The NFL is so close you can see it, literally.
Last night on the Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland, the Browns left their mark.
The idea came from a brainstorming session between Browns fan experience employees and the downtown Cleveland Alliance. Images are projected on a Go-Bo lamp, which then shine on the tower. The dog face logo, Go Browns!, and 100 percent Dawg Pound will rotate on the tower all week long.
Three Browns-Steelers things I wonder
1) I wonder … if the Browns will come out and treat the Steelers game like it's the Daytona 500 – the biggest game of the season. Cleveland should come out and throw the kitchen sink at Pittsburgh. The Browns should be the aggressors in the game, on offense and defense, to set the tone. Go for it on fourth-down. Throw the football deep early. Use a little bit of Duke Johnson Jr. to toy with the minds of Steelers defenders. Coming out swinging should be the approach in Week One. If the Browns are able to shock the Steelers, the momentum for two home games against the Saints and Ravens will be real.
2) I wonder ... Who will guard tight end Jordan Cameron? In Week 17 last season, the Steelers used an array of linebackers to check Cameron and he put a dent in the Pittsburgh defense with five catches for 69 yards. Now that he's Cleveland's most reliable target, how will Dick Lebeau scheme for Cameron? Letting 33-year-old Troy Polamalu mark the athletic Cameron could be a dangerous proposition. I'd watch for rookie inside linebacker Ryan Shazier to handle a big chunk of the coverage on Cameron. The 6-foot-1, 237-pound rookie from Ohio State is a playmaker of his own, and must be accounted for by quarterback Brian Hoyer.
3) I wonder … If Mike Pettine will call the defensive plays. He and defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil alternated during the preseason to experiment with different situations that arise during real games. Defensive players said Pettine has been vocal during defensive install meetings. Expect the play calls to be more exotic than you saw in the preseason.