For DeMarco Murray, there is a little bit of been there, done that.
But for the Tennessee Titans rebuilt offensive line, having Murray win a rushing title in 2016 would be quite an accomplishment.
For a team that went 34 games without a running back going over 100 yards in a game, Murray simply being among the league leaders in rushing is remarkable. Since breaking the drought in week three, Murray has now gone over the century mark four times in the past six games.
Murray is currently second in the NFL in rushing with 756 yards in eight games, trailing only Dallas Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott, who has 799 yards in just seven games. Elliott is largely running behind the same offensive line where Murray captured the rushing title two years ago going for 1,845 yards with the Cowboys.
Personally, winning another rushing crown doesn’t mean that much to him, Murray says. But he knows it would be a nice feat for his young, emerging offensive line.
“I’ve been there and done that. It’s a credit to those guys more than anything. Obviously they’ll get the praise and accolades they need if everything continues, and we play the way we’re supposed to and win a bunch of games and go to the playoffs. That’s the only thing that really matters and how you get the kind of praise you deserve,” Murray said.
But he has heard the talk from the o-line about wanting to accomplish that for him. The Titans are currently third in the league as a team running the football.
“I know it would mean a lot to them. They talk about it quite often,” Murray said. “As an offense, and especially as an offensive line, those guys want to run the ball, just like every other team in the league, and that’s what you pride yourself on is being physical. Those guys have done a great job blocking not only for me, but also for Marcus. That’s why Marcus has been clean for the last few games.”
Center Ben Jones, one of the newcomers to the Titans line, said that having the league’s leading rusher is one of the line’s preseason goals they work toward every week.
“That’s our goal – to protect Marcus and have the league’s leading rusher. We’re trying to get him over 100 yards every week. We’re trying to keep it rolling,” Jones said.
Left tackle Taylor Lewan said it all should add up to more team success, if the Titans can keep Murray near the top of the league in rushing yards.
“We’d like that a lot. The more rushing yards DeMarco has, he better chance we have to win,” he said.
As far as how it plays out, the match of Murray and the line has been perfect thus far, with each now going the extra mile to better ensure success.
“It makes us want to finish our blocks and stay on our guys just a tad longer, because we know any play, he can take it to the house. It doesn’t matter if there is one guy in the hole, he can still make that guy miss,” Jones said.
Added Murray, “They work extremely hard and do a great job of blocking. There are some plays I wish I could have back. They know if one guy comes free, I’ll do my best to make him miss, and nine times out of 10 I’ll make that happen. I know I’ll have room to run, I just have to make the proper read and the proper cut and go from there.”