Being a RB in the NFL is a tough business. All eyes are on the QB but it’s the RB that takes the most pounding and hardest of the positions to shake that dreaded “Bust” title. In 2014 DeMarco Murray was it, he was labeled as the best in the game off one season as he put up a career year behind the best O-Line in the league. Murray rushed 392 times for 1845 yards and 13 TDs on his way to Offensive Player of the Year. Dallas let him go and off to Philadelphia he went, where he would take the place of LeSean McCoy in Chip Kelly’s high-powered offense.
From the beginning there were problems as Kelly envisioned a backfield with two backs, not one as he brought in free agent Ryan Matthews to pair with Murray and hybrid back Darren Sproles. I guess Murray figuring he just rushed for 1800+ yards the carries would be his, but as we would learn, Kelly didn’t care about prior success.
Murray started his Eagles off to a slow start and when I say slow I mean downright pathetic. Murray complained about his role more than once, for a player coming off close to 400 carries in 16 start his number were reduced to 193 in only 8 starts. Something had to give, and when Kelly left, reappointed GM Howie Roseman sent Murray packing just as quick as he came in.
Murray has a new start to his career with the Tennessee Titans now, a young team that is in need of veteran leadership and fresh legs. Can Murray revive what was looking to be a promising run for him as he challenged Adrian Peterson for top RB honors? He’s paired with a young QB in Marcus Mariota but he may run into the same issue he did in Philly. The Titans drafted Derrick Henry in the 2016 draft, this may all seem like deju vu for Murray but in all honesty this was a great move by the team. Murray is injury-prone, and the one year he was healthy just happened his to his best but it was also his free agent year.
What should the Titans expect from Murray and he from them?
Both parties must come to an understanding, unlike the situation in Philly Murray did not choose to come to Tennessee, he was traded but he must see this as an opportunity to shed some baggage as he’s placed on a team that he can help lead back to respectability, The Titans ranked 25th last season in rushing yards and 28th in attempts. Murray and Henry should be leaned on heavily to help take pressure off Mariota and their lack of a receiving core. Murray should not expect to see 300+ carries in 2016 but if he can get 225+ that should be enough for him to get his honor back.
Playing for Kelly will break your spirit, ask any Eagle that suited up for him but Murray was given a blessing even if he may not see it that way. The question is, can he capitalize on it and help lead this young franchise?