As the years go on, NFL football becomes more and more of a passing game. However, not a team in the league can survive without a talented running back. Browns fans have seen years and years of bad running football. Some years, the offensive line gives the back no chance. Others, injures plague the backfield. And of course, sometimes they just flat out suck. On the contrary, the year’s Cleveland Browns running game looks poised for a big year.

It all started just before the third week of last year’s horrendous season. President at the time, Joe Banner, traded our beloved running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for their first round pick. At the time, this move seemed to be disastrous. Crazy enough, Banner’s decision to pull the trigger is what landed us the great Johnny Manziel.

On the other hand, without the former Alabama star in the backfield the Browns had no one to run the ball. Desperate for some sort of a threat, Cleveland signed a washed-up Willis McGahee. Years before, he killed us as a member of the Ravens. As a Brown, he struggled to simply gain yards. Clearly, McGahee was not the long term answer.

After the 2013 season, one weakness of many was at the running back position. Have no fear, Ben Tate is here.

That’s right, the Cleveland Browns signed the former Houston Texans running back to a two-year, 6.2 million dollar contract this offseason. Last year, Tate rushed for 771 yards and four touchdowns as a backup. Tate is a strong back, but also has some speed on the edge. This year, he has the ability to finally give the Browns that desperate push on the ground this team has so desperately been in need of.

Additionally, Ben Tate had 34 catches last year making him a duel-threat.

In this past year’s draft, the Browns hopped back into the third round to select running back Terrance West out of Towson. This kid is a beast, and many expert called West a “steal” at the place we got him in the draft. For a little icing on the Cake, he had over 2,500 rushing yards and yes, 41 touchdowns last year as a Tiger.

Saturday in Detroit, both running backs looked motivated and ready to get the 2014 season underway. While neither had jaw-dropping numbers, (Tate, 6 carries, 25 yards), (West, 10 carries, 22 yards), they both ran hard and with that explosion needed to break off long runs in the future.

This is not a competition, as we already have enough jazz coming from the quarterbacks. It will be Ben Tate starting week one in Pittsburgh.

Ideally, we will see a lot of Terrance West in third down situations. He’s the type of guy that has the ability to catch passes out of the back field. His explosiveness makes him a threat on third and long. His strength, third and short. Could be a starting running back, if need be.

Ben Tate finally gets that elusive opportunity to be the feature back, as he was always behind Arian Foster in Houston. It’s exciting to finally have a solidified running back in his prime in the backfield for the Browns this season. Something that this team has needed for many years.

We also saw glimpses of Edwin Baker and Dion Lewis in the second half of the game. On just a few carries each, neither really showed much Lookout for them more as the preseason continues especially in the fourth and final game at First Energy Stadium against the Chicago Bears.

In 2014, running the football has become very underrated. However, it is needed in to win a Super Bowl. The Browns have it…finally.

-Zach Shafron

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