Colts Opponent Scouting Report: Titans Running Backs

NASHVILLE, TN- SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Demarco Murray
NASHVILLE, TN- SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Demarco Murray /

The Colts; defense will be tested Monday night when they go up against the Tennessee Titans’ two-headed monster in the backfield.

DeMarco Murray has had a turbulent career thus far in the NFL.

Originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, Murray led the NFL in rushing in 2014 with 1,845 yards. The following season, Murray latched on with the Philadelphia Eagles only to find out he was not a good fit in Chip Kelly’s offensive scheme. In 2015, Murray had the lowest per carry average (3.6 yards) of his career.

Murray was traded to Tennessee in the spring of 2016.

In his second season as a member of the Titans, Murray has run for 273 yards with an average of 4.9 yards per carry. The seventh-year running back out of Oklahoma leads the rushing attack for a Tennessee squad ranked 9th in the league in rushing this season.

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Former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry is the other piece of the Titans running back tandem. At 6’3″ 247 lbs., Henry is a big, powerful back, with a downhill running style can be devastating if he squares his shoulders when attacking the line of scrimmage.

The Alabama product has rushed for 187 yards on 43 carries so far in 2017 including a big game earlier this season against the Jacksonville Jaguars where he rushed 14 times for 92 yards and a touchdown. However, he has been held in check the past two weeks totaling only 16 yards on 10 carries.

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With Marcus Mariota‘s status uncertain for Monday’s game, Matt Cassel may be starting under center. If that’s the case, expect Tennessee to lean heavily on the running game.

The Colts have been stout against the run in two of the past three games. Those performances were against the winless 49ers and Browns, but the defensive line is starting gel. This is impressive considering nearly the entire Indianapolis front seven has been rebuilt and are in their first year with the Colts.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Colts’ first-down rush defense is much improved from 2016 allowing only 3.3 yards per carry. If that trend continues Monday night, the Colts could walk out of Nissan Stadium with a win.