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Breaking Down the Running Back Position for Titans

Posted Jul 17, 2017

TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt breaks down the running back position for the Titans entering the team's 2017 training camp.

TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: RUNNING BACKS

In camp: DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, Khalfani Muhammad, David Fluellen, Akeem Judd, FB Jalston Fowler, FB Joe Bacci

Offseason developments: After playing in the Pro Bowl, Murray used the early part of the offseason to rest and recover following a 1,287-yard season. He didn’t need surgery on the toe injury that slowed him in the second half of last season, and he looked good in the OTAs and minicamp. Henry created some early offseason chatter when he was absent the first two weeks of the offseason program while attending school, but any questions about whether he’d been working were quickly quashed when he walked in the door. Henry reported in great shape, and looked faster on the field. The Titans used a seventh-round pick on Muhammad, who played at California. The Titans did not re-sign running back Antonio Andrews.

In the spotlight: Murray. Despite the persistent questions about Henry having an increased role, Murray remains the workhorse. Coach Mike Mularkey has done his best to make that clear again this offseason. Murray finished third in the NFL in rushing last season, and he was very effective catching passes out of the backfield as well. There’s reason to believe he could be even better in 2017, considering he was bothered by the toe the last two months of the season. Murray is a hard-working guy, and closing in on his 30thbirthday, he’ll be determined to prove he’s still got it.

Battle to watch: Muhammad vs. Fluellen. Muhammad will be fun to watch in camp. The 5-foot-7, 174-pounder bounces around the field and in and out of traffic like he’s controlled by a joystick. If he makes the team, he’d add something different to a backfield with big backs in Murray and Henry. The coaching staff regularly makes it a point to praise Fluellen, however, so don't rule him out. He’s a talented back who would provide a nice running option on the roster in the event of an injury. Both should get opportunities in preseason games. Value on special teams could be a factor here. 

Keep an eye on: Henry. Yes, he’s tough to miss. The hulking back is a physical specimen, and he had a really good offseason. Coming off a year when he ran for 490 yards and five touchdowns, there’s no doubt he wants to do more. The best way to earn more opportunities is to make the most of the ones presented to you, so Henry will aim to impress when he gets touches. I’m expecting Henry to look good – and perform well – when the ball is placed in his hands. It’s only going to raise the chatter from those wanting to see him on the field more.

Next up: Receivers.