OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Terrance West has never really enjoyed sharing the workload as a running back.
“I’m not a rotation back,” he said. “I like to feel a defense out. I get stronger as the game goes on.”
Given the opportunity to validate his assertion, West ran for a career-high 113 yards for the Baltimore Ravens in a 28-27 loss to Oakland on Sunday.
West received his first start for the Ravens (3-1), who were apparently so impressed that they cut former 1,000-yard rusher Justin Forsett .
“It was surprising. I didn’t know they were going to do that,” West said Wednesday.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the move was “best for the team.”
“Those are decisions based on roster options and who is available and what you’re trying to do going forward,” he said. “Salary cap was not a favor.”
Forsett’s exit leaves West, Javorius Allen and rookie Kenneth Dixon in the Baltimore backfield. The trio entered the season with a combined 12 NFL starts between them.
That’s OK with West, who accounted for 87 of his yards after halftime last weekend.
“It felt good. I got in a good rhythm,” he said. “As a running back, you need to get in a rhythm and get going. That’s what happened.”
The 5-foot-10, 225-pounder hopes for more of the same Sunday against the visiting Washington Redskins (2-2), who are tied for 20th in rushing defense.
Playing with the Ravens has been a delight for West, who played his college ball at nearby Towson University. After being drafted by the Browns in 2014, he was traded to Tennessee in September 2015 and signed by the Ravens last November.
Now, he’s a starter for the team he cheered for as a youth.
“It’s a dream come true,” West said. “I grew up as a Ravens fan. I went to college right down the road. The fan base here, they know who I am. It’s great. It’s home.”
Despite starting for the first time this season Sunday, West leads Baltimore with 232 yards rushing and is the only running back on the team with a touchdown.
“Terrance is a hard runner and he has some physicality to him,” Harbaugh said.
All that was on display against the Raiders.
“He ran the ball, put a foot in the ground and got the ball upfield, which is what good backs do,” Harbaugh said. “Certainly he can get better, and there are plenty of things we’re working on to get him better.”
Allen had three carries in his season debut Sunday and Dixon was inactive for the first four games with a torn left MCL. He is expected to make his NFL debut against the Redskins.
“We’re all going to try to the same thing, run hard and run tough,” said Dixon, a fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech.
NOTES: the Ravens promoted tight end Daniel Brown from the practice squad to fill the void left by the release of Forsett. Baltimore filled out its practice squad by signing receiver Kenny Bell.