The fans that attended the Ravens' open practice Monday night saw the same thing visitors to the team facility witnessed last week: running back Terrance West repeatedly finding holes and breaking through long runs.
West, the former Towson University standout, entered training camp looking to outlast a crowded roster competition at running back, and earn a spot on the team. He’s not only been the most impressive back so far, he’s probably been the Ravens’ most explosive offensive player.
He was in top form Monday as he strung together several long runs, including one touchdown, and even took a short pass for a long gain.
“I just think he looks good as a football player,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I think 'urgency' is a good word from a physical perspective. His running is urgent. He’s making cuts. He’s making really good reads. He’s quick through the hole, he’s quick into the hole. There’s no hesitation. Also in pass protection, he’s stuck it up in there and he’s popping people in pass protection. He’s doing really well. He had a really good night tonight.”
Roster spots aren’t won over the first week of training camp, but West’s form certainly has the coaching staff’s attention. While rookie fourth-round pick Kenneth Dixon remains sidelined with a knee injury and Trent Richardson (knee) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) are both on the physically unable to perform list, West has shined with the increased repetitions.
“I’m more focused. I’m focused on just football right now, and my family, my two daughters and my son. Like I said before, I’m just taking one day at a time,” said West, who was signed by the Ravens last November after disappointing stints with the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans. “I’m more dialed in because of the situation I was in and coming to Baltimore. This is my hometown, so there’s a lot at stake.”
West, 25, attributes his improved quickness and elusiveness to losing roughly 15 pounds since the end of last season. He played at 229 last year, but he currently weighs 215.
Then, there’s the matter of him focusing more on his responsibilities rather than looking too far ahead. He did allow himself to ponder the future a bit Monday when surrounded by reporters and asked what it would mean if he was the Ravens’ starting running back come the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
“That would be a dream come true,” West said. “A lot of people in this city are depending on me. That would mean a lot to this city. That would be big.”