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Terrance West learning what it takes to be an NFL running back


Terrance West

Terrance West's natural running ability jumps off the field.

His explosiveness and speed are exceptional. So, too, are his instincts.

Sometimes, though, the jumping part is too literal. As with many rookie running backs in the NFL, West will occasionally choose to jump rather than run through holes. And jumping rarely works for someone at his position unless he's attempting a leap over the goal line.

Put it on the list of lessons that the Cleveland Browns' third-round draft pick from Towson must learn to have long-term success in the NFL and to make an immediate contribution backing up veteran Ben Tate this season.

It isn't about jumping. And although patience is necessary while awaiting the right hole to open, too much hesitation while searching for the perfect opening to go the distance is almost always a mistake.

"(With) any young back, I think they learn probably the hard way that there are yards to be had in the NFL when it's just plant your foot and go," coach Mike Pettine said. "I think a young back a lot of times the mistake they make is they think they can hit a home run every time they get it. Then, they start to bounce them. They might get a decent gain, but the next three times they lose two, three yards."

Pettine, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery have been using as much time as possible in the preseason to try to enhance West's education.

"That's one of the reasons why we wanted to get him some more carries, so he could go ahead and get a sense for, 'Hey, listen. This is the way this is being blocked. There's three yards, maybe four to be had. I'm going to go ahead and put my shoulder down and get it,'" Pettine said.

Expect more of that in Thursday night's preseason-finale against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium.


BEARS QUARTERBACK JAY CUTLERdoesn't sound thrilled that, in parting ways with backup-quarterback candidate Jordan Palmer early in the roster-reduction process, the team gave him plenty of time to provide vital information about Chicago's offense to his new employer, the Buffalo Bills, against whom the Bears open the season on Sept. 7. "It's not an ideal situation," Cutler was quoted as saying in the Chicago Tribune. "It's not exactly what you'd want. He can give them a few things I'm sure. … he'll be meeting with (Bills defensive coordinator Jim) Schwartz pretty much immediately. He knows snap counts, some of the stuff we do with some of our checks, what plays we like. But they still have to defend it. So I don't think we'll change much if anything. Maybe a few tweaks here and there. But we'll just have to go play football."

AT LEAST ONE NFL OWNERdoesn't love the blizzard of yellow flags we have been seeing this summer. Through 49 preseason games, there have been 230 defensive holding and illegal contact penalties, an average of 4.69 per game. And that has led to fears of the trend continuing into the regular season, causing games to move slowly. "I think it's fair to say there's concern around the league about (the increase in penalties) and I think that the point has been made by the officials," Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II was quoted as saying on "I hope we're going to get back to a more normal number of penalties per game." >>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for "Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford" on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on We take your questions at 216-578-0850 and via Twitter @Browns_Daily.

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