When the regular season hits, a funny thing begins to happen: many of the "winners" of NFL Free Agency from back in March start disappearing into the rear view. It's not an across-the-board thing, but injuries strike some of the prized-gets from spring and they don't end up having the impact that most of their fan bases envisioned.
Unfortunately for the Cleveland Browns, they have been snake-bit a few times recently with injuries and poor play by guys with high expectations. The team attempted to overhaul the running back position this offseason via Free Agency and the Draft to help themselves in the bruising AFC North.
One of the players they signed was a valuable backup at the position in Houston behind Arian Foster and the hope was that he would be a major factor in a multi-headed attack. Fifth-year man Ben Tate signed a lucrative two-year, $6.2 million contract to try and bring offensive balance to the Browns' offense.
After a relatively solid debut on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, racking up six carries for 41 yards (6.8 yards per carry). He didn't finish the day though, as he suffered a knee sprain and Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell pick up the slack. West, a rookie, had 100 yards on the ground and Crowell had two rushing touchdowns as Tate wasn't able to go.
According to reports, Tate is slated to miss 2-4 weeks with this issue and has already been ruled out for this Sunday's game against the Saints. The Bengals don't play the Browns until November 6th (when Tyler Eifert is also expected to return from IR-recall), so they will likely be seeing Tate at that point. The pressure is on West and Crowell now to continue their momentum from Week One.