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Terrance West Isn't Taking Pole Position for Granted


It wasn't all that long ago that Terrance West was on the Ravens' practice squad, having bounced between two other teams in his first two NFL seasons. Just last offseason, he was fighting for a roster spot, let alone a starting job.

West hasn't forgotten that.

He led the Ravens in rushing last year, and he's in line to be the team's primary ball-carrier at the start of this season. So how does it feel?

"I don't feed into any of that," West said. "Anything can change any given day, any practice. Each and every day you've just got to come out and perform. You're as [good] as your last play, so that's how I look at it."

After making the 53-man roster last offseason, West took over the lead job from Justin Forsett four games into the season.

He ran for 774 yards on 193 carries (4.0 per rush) and five touchdowns last year. He also caught 34 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown, placing him second on the team in total yards behind wide receiver Mike Wallace.

It was a breakout performance for West after the 2014 third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns had a tough entrance into the NFL. The Browns traded him after just one year and the Tennessee Titans released him.

Now the Baltimore native, still just 26 years old, is looking to establish firm footing in his hometown.

"I come out here each and every day and give it my all, and let the marbles fall how they fall," West said.

West stayed local this offseason and trained downtown at the Under Armour complex. He came into OTAs looking in shape, and has impressed Head Coach John Harbaugh.

"He has done really well," Harbaugh said last week. "I think he worked really hard in the offseason, and he has improved."

Harbaugh also went on to point out that the Ravens' other returning running backs – Kenneth Dixon, Danny Woodhead, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Buck Allen – have also done well so far in OTAs. While West is in good position for a heavy share of the carries, he has a lot of competition.

Woodhead looks elusive coming back from season-ending knee surgery and will be used in a variety of ways in the Ravens offense. Running the ball, likely, won't be his primary function, however.

He has only once had more than 100 carries in his eight-year career (2013). He has averaged more than 90 per season when healthy. That could change in Baltimore's system, but likely not dramatically.

Dixon flashed as a rookie last season during his 12 games, rushing 88 times for 382 yards and two scores. He caught 30 passes for 162 yards and another score. Dixon showed power and elusiveness. He led the league with a forced missed tackle once every 3.4 touches, per Pro Football Focus.

However, Dixon is suspended for the first four games of the regular season after violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs.

Whichever way it shakes out, the Ravens running backs will be tasked with the job of improving a rushing attack that ranked No. 28 in the league (91.4 yards per game) last year.

"We've got a lot of weapons in the backfield that we're going to use this year, and I think we're going to get after it this year," West said.

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