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When the Titans were “searching” for a new head football coach, I consistently said that the team would hire interim coach Mike Mularkey. Instead of going with a splash hire, they would try to make a splash in free agency and hire the coach with which they were comfortable. The Titans clearly viewed Mularkey as the right man for the job following the train wreck that was the Ken Whisenhunt administration. They went opposite hire. Mularkey was named head coach and we awaited free agency. In fact, we still do. March 9th signals the beginning of free agency in the NFL. That is when deals can become official. That is when DeMarco Murray will become one of the three best running backs in Titans history.
Bill Johnson, DeMarco Murray’s agent, (@_SportsTrust) lives in the Nashville area. His company tweeted that a deal was in the works, Monday. Adam Shefter and Ian Rapoport then tweeted the deal will be finalized when free agency opens. It’s funny, I ran into Bill Johnson over the weekend and asked about Murray’s status without gaining any insight. Johnson is a consummate professional, who represents his client with their best intentions at heart. In the end Bill Johnson was able to strike a deal with the hometown team, without telling a buddy at a bar.
Now, what does this trade mean? Number one, terms of the deal have not been disclosed. If you’re worried the Titans gave up the overall number one pick in the draft for DeMarco Murray, stop it. They did not do that. This move is big on at least two levels.
One: The Titans gain a featured running back. They’ve had two since the franchise has called Nashville home. Eddie George and Chris Johnson. Murray is a down hill, one cut runner that was the best running back in the NFL just two seasons ago in Dallas. He ran for a league leading 1,845 yards in 2014 with 13 rushing touchdowns. In the off-season following that amazing year, Murray signed with Philadelphia. The Eagles’ offensive system failed to take advantage of Murray’s strength. He loves to run between the tackles. They didn’t need that, want that or do that. It was a square peg in a round hole scenario. He ran for 702 yards and averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry. It did not work. He needed change. He gets a change of scenery and scheme. And, Mariota get a running back that will have to be game planned. This should provide opportunities for TE Delanie Walker as well as WRs DGB, Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. This is the move, schematically, that the Titans needed to make to continue to develop the offense and their prized quarterback.
Two: The Titans prove that they are willing to go after the prize. But perhaps even more importantly, this move signals to the league that the Titans will be aggressive under new General Manager Jon Robinson. And, it shows the league that they are here to play as an organization. There have been many questions about the organizational structure and health of the organization. This move shows the league that the Titans are an active participant. This is huge.
Will this move provide on the field success? I think it will. I think DeMarco Murray will have a huge year. I think he will fit the Titans and I think the Titans will fit him. I think Murray will be motivated to prove that last season was more about the Eagles and their system and less about him and his ability level. Mike Mularkey wants a physical, exotic smash mouthed team. He wants the kind of team of which opponents are wary. He wants to bring the fight. This signing is a big step in that direction. I love this move. Do you?