DeMarco Murray helped Titans regain respectability

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have told DeMarco Murray he will be released, and a team that spent a 2016 second-round pick on Derrick Henry is ready to move forward at running back.

Murray brought the team the sort of intensity that had often been missing during the Ken Whisenhunt regime and his work in 2016 shouldn’t be forgotten.

Murray was Jon Robinson’s first big move. He swapped fourth-round picks with Philadelphia as the Eagles undid a free-agent signing that did not work for Chip Kelly. And to bring Murray to Tennessee Robinson got him to agree to a re-worked contract.

The running back helped the Titans re-establish themselves with 293 carries for 1,287 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 44 passes for another 322 yards and an additional score.


He was a reliable third-down player, good running routes and effective at keeping blitzers off of Marcus Mariota.

But 2017 was not as good, when a hamstring injury held him back and a knee injury ended his season before the Titans must-win season finale and two playoff games.

The running-back room was run by since-fired position coach Sylvester Croom. But I've heard the strong-willed Murray may have strong-armed too much control in there.

The Titans now move forward with Henry at the front of the line. Tony Dews is the new position coach, and he will be coaching guys in more of a zone-heavy run scheme. Odds are it will be without a personality as strong as Murray's.

I’m not convinced Henry is as much of an outright three-down back as Murray was so I expect the Titans will draft a running back in a solid class.

Sony Michel and Ronald Jones III would be great fits, but it would probably take the Titans No. 1 pick, 25th overall, to get one of them. John Kelly and Jaylen Samuels could be worth later consideration.

They could choose to address the position sooner, or double up and get three-deep, by adding a free-agent like Dion Lewis or Jerick McKinnon.

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