Even though the Browns have revamped their passing game with wide receivers Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, coach Mike Pettine has been clear Cleveland will go as far as Crowell – and fellow rookie Terrance West – can take them.
Instead of developing a rivalry for who gets the most carries, Crowell and West have embraced each other, and have even made a pact together. Somehow they kept it under the social media radar, but Crowell flew up to Baltimore this offseason to get some workouts in with West, and, in turn, West flew down to Atlanta.
That pact? Both Crowell and West want to rush for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Crowell said the offense is generally similar to last season’s scheme, but there will be distinctions.
Two hints from Crowell: The pass protection is different and we will see him more as a receiver out of the backfield.
Once the Browns were done with Ben Tate (Week 11), Crowell out-touched Terrance West 90 to 68 over the final seven games, but West had the last laugh, turning 20 touches into 106 yards and a TD against the Ravens in Week 17. (A seemingly healthy Crowell touched the ball five times for 22 yards.) The Cleveland running backs averaged 26.6 carries per game, so if the new offense does indeed feature the backs as receivers, there should be 30 or so touches for Crowell and West to split each week. Last season, HC Mike Pettine was handing out touches based on practice performance, so Crowell's current ADP (in the 5th round) seems steep given his uncertain workload and Cleveland's projected offensive struggles.
"It's too early to tell, but it doesn't look good," one source inside the organization told NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala.
A Monday morning MRI on Bell's hyperextended right knee revealed no ligament damage, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, who reported that it will be "difficult" for Pittsburgh's star running back to suit up for this weekend's AFC playoff bout with Baltimore.
Jason La Canfora is also reporting Bell is 'likely out' for this weekend's game. Josh Harris is next up for the Steelers at RB, in what is a very tough matchup against the Ravens who are ranked third in allowing fantasy points to RBs. Dri Archer could also see more work, and the team is very close to signing free agent Ben Tate. Teams have had success throwing against the Ravens so that may be how Pittsburgh attacks this week if Bell is in fact out.
In desperate need of a feature back with Le'Veon Bell's immediate future uncertain, the Steelers are working out former Texans, Vikings and Browns running back Ben Tate, ESPN reported Tuesday morning.
If the visit goes well, they are expected to sign the 26-year-old, once thought to be the best running back on the open market back in March.
Some inside the Steelers organization are doubtful that Bell will make an appearance on Saturday in prime time against the Ravens, which would make the need for an all-purpose back like Tate that much greater, the story said. The piece went on to say that in some respects, this is the ideal opportunity Tate has been waiting for. Just like former Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount knows, strong playoff performances can change perception, and after getting cut by two teams in less than a year, Tate is longing for that opportunity. The Ravens do present a tough matchup however, as they are ranked third in allowing fantasy points to RBs.
Ben Tate is back on the street.
Tate was cut free after amassing just 38 yards off 13 attempts over three appearances for Minnesota. His 2.9 yards per carry were even lower than the paltry 3.1 yards per tote he accounted for in eight games with the Browns, who surprised many by releasing the former Texans runner after Week 11.
The story points out that it's not a good sign that Tate has been shipped out of town by two teams in less than a month. Whispers of a bad attitude in Cleveland don't help, but even more concerning is the apparent on-field decline for a runner still just 26 years old. Tate hasn't been healthy this season, which has contributed to his ugly play. If the playoff-bound Colts and Cardinals don't come calling, a team may take a long look this offseason in order to find out if Tate is worth keeping around for 2015.
Jerick McKinnon's promising rookie season is over.
The Minnesota Vikings announced Saturday that the rookie running back has been placed on season-ending injured reserve with a nagging lower back injury.
McKinnon, a third-round draft pick out of Georgia Southern, was leading the Vikings in carries (113), rushing yards (538) and yards per carry (4.8). Among rookie backs, he ranks third in rushing yards, behind Jeremy Hill and Tre Mason.
The runner will have a procedure done on his back with a recovery time of about eight weeks, ESPN.com's Adam Caplan reported.
McKinnon is still a nice dynasty/keeper value for next season given Adrian Peterson's up-in-the-air status with the Vikings. Peterson could win his appeal and be reinstated as soon as Week 15, assuming the Vikings want to welcome him back when there's not much to play for. Matt Asiata figures to continue as the lead back for now, with Ben Tate and Joe Banyard in the mix.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 14. We should see Matt Asiata lead the team in touches once again, though HC Mike Zimmer said that he expects the team will use all three running backs, including Joe Banyard and Ben Tate.
Friday, November 28, 2014, 6:04pm
Vikings RB Matt Asiata (concussion, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 13. Asiata will return to the lineup and with Jerick McKinnon out, he figures to see the most touches. Joe Banyard or Ben Tate could limit Asiata’s upside.
Friday, November 28, 2014, 6:04pm
Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back, doubtful) missed practice all week and is doubtful for Week 13. McKinnon must have had some sort of setback with the back. He’s listed as doubtful, but he says he’s out for Sunday. Look for Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard and Ben Tate to form a committee in a pretty nice matchup with the Panthers.
It's a tough blow for fantasy owners hoping to start him in a nice matchup with the Panthers. Matt Asiata is back from his concussion, but Joe Banyard played well in limited work last week. Ben Tate wasn't involved, so the team will likely go with a combination of Asiata and Banyard.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 6:20pm
Vikings RB Matt Asiata (concussion) took limited practice reps Wednesday. It looks like Asiata may be on his way back. He’ll vie with Ben Tate and Joe Banyard for touches behind Jerick McKinnon.
“I just got here; I don’t even know if I’ve been here for six hours yet,” new Vikings RB Ben Tate said after practice when asked about his new teammates. “You’re asking me questions I really can’t answer.”
Tate practiced for the first time since the Vikings claimed him off waivers Wednesday from the Browns, which came as a surprise to him. He’ll have only three days to get acclimated to a new scheme before his first game in purple against the Packers on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.
“It was tough,” said Tate, describing the past two days. “After being claimed, I’ve got a girl and a little boy so it’s definitely tough trying to get situated with that. Just traveling, not much sleep and not much eating. I’m starving.”
The 26-year-old might be relied on because of injuries to running backs Matt Asiata, who missed his second consecutive practice going through the league’s concussion protocol, and Jerick McKinnon, who was limited because of a lower back injury.
Tate has never played in offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s system, and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he’s not sure if Tate will be active Sunday.
“He practiced some today,” Zimmer said. “He got some reps and was in the blitz pickup. He was in everything, so we’ll see how fast he gets. It was a quick day for him.”
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Vikings RB Matt Asiata (concussion, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 12. With Asiata out, look for a heavy dose of Jerick McKinnon since Ben Tate is still trying to learn the playbook.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back, probable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 12. McKinnon played through the back injury last week and should do so again in Week 12. Of greater concern is the arrival of Ben Tate, whom the Vikings picked up via waivers. McKinnon’s workload should be safe this week, but the long-term impact of Tate’s arrival likely won’t be positive for the rookie.
Minnesota picked Tate up on waivers Wednesday and he practiced Thursday, two days after he was released by the Cleveland Browns. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said Tate was signed for insurance because McKinnon was the only regular running back able to practice at all this week.
"We're in a situation where (Wednesday) we had one back that could practice, so the timing of (Tate) being released and the opportunity for us to add a back ... was good timing," Turner said. "We're excited about Jerick and what he's done, and I see him as our running back. He's been limited in practice last week and couldn't practice (Wednesday), so you've got to protect yourself."
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:58pm
Vikings RB Matt Asiata (concussion) missed practice again Thursday. Asiata may not be able to play this week, which has prompted the Vikings to acquire Ben Tate via the league’s waiver process.
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