Shortly after the Tennessee Titans selected former Alabama Heisman winning running back Derrick Henry in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, DeMarco Murray posted this welcome tweet.
While fans may have questioned Murray’s fondness of some potential competition, head coach Mike Mularkey set the record straight (via the team’s official website).
“First of all, he loved the pick. And he said ‘he’s going to make me better and I am going to do the same for him. I’m going to do whatever I can to make him a great player.’
If Murray is genuinely thrilled with another running back that could eventually threaten to steal some of his touches, then he is expressing a team-first mentality.
Henry rushed for a ridiculous 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns at a pace of 5.6 yards per carry in 2015. Even though the Titans traded for Murray and plan to use him as the lead back, it’s hard to believe that Henry will primarily be riding the bench in 2016.
Nevertheless, Mularkey confirmed Murray’s status with the team after making the Henry pick:
“I told DeMarco, ‘Nothing has changed since we made the trade for you. You’re still going to be the guy who is going to carry the load for us and I know when you need to take a break and come off the field there will be no letdown when the next running back comes in, whoever that is’.
Murray arrived to the Titans after a disastrous one-year stint under former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. While Henry was getting busy each week, busting out an average of 147.9 rushing yards per game, Murray tallied only 46.8 rushing yards per game.
Murray will have to put up numbers similar to his 2014 campaign with the Dallas Cowboys, when he recorded over 1,800 yards, if he’s going to hold Henry back in Tennessee.
Whether it’s mainly Murray or a blend of him and Henry, improving the Titans’ 25th-ranked rushing game will be one of the team’s goals for the upcoming 2016 season.