<
>

DeMarco Murray delivering as Titans envisioned

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Shortly after the Tennessee Titans traded for DeMarco Murray in the spring, general manager Jon Robinson explained what the team he’d just taken over was getting.

"Patience, yet ability to press the hole and be instinctive in traffic and make a linebacker miss, make a safety miss," Robinson said. "When it comes down to brass tacks, he's going to lower his shoulder and try to run over a guy."

Coach Mike Mularkey said at the time, “He will fit exactly what we're doing."

Through three games, Murray looks like the Titans' best player. At 1-2, there is a lot to figure out around the running back.

In Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Raiders, Murray turned 16 carries into 114 yards and a touchdown and caught all five of the passes thrown his way for 41 additional yards.

That ended a stretch of 34 games for the franchise without a running back reaching 100 yards on the ground.

Chris Johnson did it last, with 27 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown on Dec. 29, 2013.

After leading the league in rushing in 2014 while with the Dallas Cowboys, Murray jumped as a free agent to Philadelphia for a year that was a wash.

In Tennessee, Murray already has nearly 35 percent of the rushing yards he had in all of 2015 and nearly 41 percent of his receiving yards.

In that huge year with the Cowboys, Murray accounted for 2,261 yards. Right now he’s on track for 2,010.

Mularkey said Murray is an even more well-rounded player than he realized.

“Rarely do you get to talk about a guy that can protect like he can, but his ability to protect has been outstanding,” Mularkey said. “And the plays he's made down the field -- not just the short chunks out of the backfield, they've been down-the-field plays -- he's been very good.”

Murray is a confident guy, but he says the sort of things the Titans are looking for in projecting a team-first mentality.

“I made a few mental errors,” he said of his performance against Oakland. “I would like to get those plays back, those are the kind of things that stick out to me much more than the individual success.”

The Titans are feeding off Murray’s personality and his serious, professional manner; he brings high expectations and has experienced personal and team success.

It hasn’t taken him long to become a tone-setter who plugs directly into what Robinson and Mularkey want.

“We want to be a physical running team,” tight end Delanie Walker said. “You have to have the type of running back who believes that, and DeMarco does. He’s very physical and everybody sees that.”