NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — DeMarco Murray isn't setting any goals for himself this season. The running back is just working hard to fit into his third NFL team in six seasons.
So far through OTAs with the Tennessee Titans, Murray likes what he sees of coach Mike Mularkey's offense.
"Terminology-wise, I'm used to some of it, and a lot of plays I've ran in the past so I'm excited," Murray said.
That's exactly what the Titans were hoping when they traded for Murray in March, swapping 13 spots in the fourth round with Philadelphia to land the running back who led the NFL with 1,845 yards rushing in 2014. Murray's lone season with the Eagles proved very forgettable as he started only eight of the 15 games he played and had a 3.6-yard per carry average — the worst of his career.
Tennessee needed someone to take some of the focus off of quarterback Marcus Mariota and ignite a run game that hasn't had a running back reach 100 yards rushing in 32 straight games. The Titans sweetened the move by giving Murray a revised contract through 2019.
That still didn't stop them from drafting Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry at No. 45 overall in April with their fourth selection for some insurance. Mularkey called Murray after that pick to reassure the veteran he would still get the bulk of the work in the Tennessee backfield.
Now that the Titans are on the field this offseason, Mularkey really likes what he's seeing out of Murray even with nobody wearing pads. The coach noted the running back made some impressive moves that would have been big plays in a game.
"You can tell when a play is going to work and not work," Mularkey said. "That play, a couple of them, would've been explosive runs. Very good vision, very good feet. A lot of things we're doing, he's run before. It's not new to him."
A year ago, Murray was trying to fit into coach Chip Kelly's offense in Philadelphia with his $40 million contract. He had just set a Dallas record with his big season in 2014 when he also scored 13 touchdowns while catching 57 catches for 416 yards. That fizzled away as Murray found himself demoted into a group approach at running back.
The Eagles fired Kelly before the season finale, and that made Murray a pricey reminder of Kelly's tenure. The Titans swooped in for a trade that made everybody happy with Philadelphia unloading a big contract and Tennessee getting a key piece for the "exotic smashmouth" offense Mularkey wants to run to help Mariota.
Murray said he's not a big talker but is enjoying himself in Tennessee.
"I try and work and do my deal and if necessary say something," Murray said. "But I think there's a lot of great guys on this team, a lot of guys who've had individual success and a lot of coaches and players who've great success with teams. So you have to learn from everybody."
The Titans certainly hope Murray resembles the running back he was in 2014. That's the only season in his five-year career that Murray started every game, though he did run for 1,121 yards over 14 games in 2013. Antonio Andrews led Tennessee with 520 yards rushing last season as one of four different starters.
That combination is why Tennessee took advantage of some extra protection by drafting Henry too.
"Derrick's coming along every day," Murray said. "We've got a lot of young guys, but everybody's competing at a high level and we're going to make some good things happen this year."