(Photo by FoxSports.com)
After running 392 and catching the ball 56 times during his last season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014, DeMarco Murray was expected to fail as a Philadelphia Eagle in 2015. Running backs that have carried the ball at least 390 times typically average under 4 yards per carry, fail to play sixteen games, and rush with the ball and thus produce less during the following season. Murray accomplished that by averaging 3.6 yards per carry, rushing for 702 yards, and scoring six touchdowns in his lone fifteen-game season in Philadelphia.
However, as I had written for SportRants.com in September 2015, with the high-carriage season wearing backs down into the following season, barring career-diminishing injuries, they do not fully recover until two seasons later.
After carrying the ball for a record 416 times for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2006, Larry Johnson just averaged 3.5 yards per carry and played in eight games in 2007. However, in 2008, Johnson was able to get his average up to 4.5 yards per carry, better than his average in 2006 (4.3), but only played twelve games.
In 1998, Jamal Anderson rushed 410 times for the Atlanta Falcons and became so beat up in 1999 that he solely played two games and disappointingly averaged 3.1 yards per carry, 1.4 yards fewer than his 1998 average. Unlike Johnson, he played in sixteen games and gained 1000 yards rushing in 2000, but failed to get to 4.0 yards per carry for the rest of his career (3.55 from 2000 till 2001).
Right now, Murray is looking like he is on the path to recovery by averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Best of all, he is on pace for a 1000-yard season by averaging 65.5 rushing yards per game (1048), but will not be able to do that unless he plays a full season.
History shows that a full season for Murray is possible, except with injuries being synonymous with running backs, such an accomplishment must be viewed with cautious optimism. Injuries have already sidelined Danny Woodhead, Arian Foster, and Adrian Peterson, and, like them, Murray could be gone for as long as the rest of the season. Still, playing behind first-round offensive linemen like Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin and Quinton Spain, along with complementing rookie Derrick Henry in the Tennessee Titans backfield, could lessen his risk of injury and thus make his 1000-yard rushing season realistically happen.
Sometimes situations or circumstances can affect your season, and a lack of recovery surely played a hugely negative role in Murray’s 2015 season in Philadelphia. Had he been there in 2016, the chance of him turning around his career could have been possible, but, a match between you and someone else may not always be meant to be. As of today, Murray’s fit with the Titans proves to be working as his near-recovered body fits their system, and if it can prolong for sixteen games, he will be worth the investment that the Titans made in him.