Terrance West was blunt in the locker room after his first season with the Browns concluded with a 20-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
"My rookie year," West said, "had a lot of ups and downs."
Sunday was one of those ups for the Browns rookie running back.
In front of friends and family in his hometown of Baltimore, West scored a touchdown and rushed 18 times for 94 yards, his highest output since Week 10. West peeled off a gorgeous 36-yard run in the second quarter, weaving through defenders and tiptoeing down the sideline. Plays like that are why the Browns traded up to nab West in the third round of the draft.
One week after not seeing the field in Carolina, West earned trust from the coaching staff, proving he deserved to tote the rock against the Ravens. The attention to detail and professionalism from West during the week paid dividends for the entire offense. The Browns had a 10-3 lead entering the fourth quarter and were consistently moving the football.
"He was more accountable throughout the week; meetings; practice," coach Mike Pettine said. "Probably had a lot to do with he was coming home and realized I have a chance to play in front of the hometown crowd. But we have to get that type of effort and professionalism every week."
Pettine was right about the crowd. Dozens of fans donning purple Ravens jerseys were shouting "T West!" when he trotted off the field. The Towson product is somewhat of a legend in the state of Maryland. A whopping 2,509 rushing yards, 41 touchdowns and an FCS national championship berth in one season will do that.
Moving forward, that's what the Browns have to find out: How can they get West to bring consistency every single day? His unique skill set of power and shiftiness makes him an asset. The running back agreed showing his maturity is the most valuable thing he'll have to bring to Berea in 2015.
"I have to grow up and lead," West said. "It's important for me to improve my focus. We could be even better next year because we have a really good rookie class. It's one of the best in the league."
The observation from West is bold, but certainly justified. Joel Bitonio, Chris Kirksey, K'Waun Williams, Isaiah Crowell and Taylor Gabriel were all major contributors throughout the duration of the season. And players like truly believe the core group of veterans are already in place.
West is also on that list of rookie contributors and he could be on the cusp of something much more.
His 673 rushing yards led Cleveland. Imagine if West shows improvement in the day-to-day grind of an NFL season and earns more carries. A 1,000 yard season won't be out of the question.