BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine is a throwback style of coach that likes defense and a running game, both of which the team addressed in free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft.
After two weeks of organized team activities at the team's Berea headquarters, Pettine has been impressed by the running-back tandem of Ben Tate, who signed with Cleveland in free agency, and Terrance West, whom the Browns traded back into the third round to select out of Towson University.
"I've been impressed, but it's difficult when it's not live, when you don't have pads on," Pettine said. "Just the way they're both always looking to work north and south, I think they have a good feel for the zone scheme, are able to put their foot in the ground and get north and south.
"It's encouraging when you get to feel you're going to have runners that can get yardage after contact and are very rarely going to get knocked back."
The Browns traded back into the third round to draft West because of the production he had in three years in Towson, in which he rushed for 4,849 yards and 84 touchdowns.
Last fall, West proved to be a workhorse rusher who gained 2,509 yards and scored 41 touchdowns on 413 carries for a Towson Tigers team that advanced to the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision Championship Game.
"Terrance might be a little bit more north-south, where I think Tate can be a little more elusive in the open field, but it's close," Pettine said. "They are fairly similar."
In three years, and 40 games, with the Houston Texans, Tate rushed for 1,992 yards and 10 touchdowns on 421 carries while sharing the workload with fellow running back Arian Foster. He also caught 58 passes for 287 yards out of the backfield.
And the speed Tate has demonstrated on the field since signing with the Browns is something that even the defensive coaches have taken notice of in the film room.
"I think Kyle's run scheme presents challenges just because of how they attack the perimeter," Browns defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil said. "Ben has very good patience, and he shows the ability to burst as soon as he gets an open window. That eight-to-10 yards that he can get, happens in a hurry.
"Then, he also has the breakaway speed that he needs to take it the distance. A defense's best friend is an offense that can run the ball, so I'm excited with what we're doing on that side of the ball when it comes to running."