Kyle Shanahan hopes Browns' starting RB will emerge

The Cleveland Browns house three quality running backs each vying for a bigger piece of the pie. Ahead of Sunday's home tilt with the Raiders, play-caller Kyle Shanahan sees that as a positive.

"If they want to be out there more, they need to separate themselves and show that they're obviously better than the other guy and we'll keep them out there more," Shanahan said Thursday, per Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer.

Ben Tate and rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell have mixed and matched carries all season for a ground game that ranks sixth in the NFL at 133.5 yards per outing. Tate (69 carries for 279 yards) leads the way, but West (59-243) and Crowell (51-255) were a big part of Cleveland's bulldozing approach when the veteran was sidelined with a knee injury.

After serving as Towson's bell cow last season en route to 2,509 rushing yards and 41 scores, West acknowledged this week that sharing duties has been "a little bit" of a culture shock.

"Yeah, I'm coming from college getting about 25 carries a game and just being the guy and putting the team on my shoulders," West said. "Then coming here and just getting limited reps, it's hard, but I can transition to anything, overcome anything."

The Browns as a whole must overcome the loss of Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, out for the year with a broken fibula. Without their road-grader last Sunday, Cleveland's three-headed backfield squeezed out a season-low 69 yards in an ugly loss to the Jaguars.

People will dismiss the winless Raiders as an easy out, but if the Browns can't reignite on the ground, Oakland has a legitimate chance to stun Cleveland in their own building.

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