Running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery expects Ben Tate to return to his starting role once he returns from a sprained right knee, but undrafted rookie Isaiah Crowell seems destined to receive a heavier workload.
“That’s what we brought Tate here for, to be the starter,” Montgomery said. “He’s the No. 1 running back in this offense. Right now, you can say we miss him. We miss his experience. We miss his leadership with the group. Speaking from that standpoint, we’ll be open arms and welcome to have Ben back into the fold.”
Tate was hurt in the season opener. Terrance West, a third-round pick in this year’s draft, has started in his place. Crowell has served as the No. 2 back.
But Crowell took the first reps in individual drills during the portion of Wednesday’s practice open to the media. West went second. Tate rode a stationary bike instead of practicing.
It sounds as if Tate will be the starter when he returns, which should be Week 5. Crowell may have passed West on the depth chart since he was getting first team reps ahead of West in practice today. Crowell is averaging 5.2 YPC, while West is posting 4.3 YPC, so the difference has been stark.