Dolphins, Titans Coaches Talk Trades With Eagles
BOCA RATON, FL — The Titans were prepared to enter free agency looking for a running back, but when they traveled to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine, they discovered the Eagles were looking to trade DeMarco Murray.
“Obviously, you heard things that he was not happy in Philly,” Titans head coach Mike Mularkey said at the NFL’s annual meeting today.
Tennessee then swapped fourth-round picks with Philadelphia to acquire Murray, whom they feel will perform next season closer to his production in 2014 than in 2015.
Mularkey said the Titans would run Murray from under center more than the Eagles did, and that he would be Tennessee’s featured back. However, the head coach noted that Marcus Mariota is a big threat from shotgun, so they’d have to strike a balance.
“It was a different offense [in Philadelphia],” Mularkey said. “Obviously, a shotgun offense, more sideline to sideline, not a lot of the same scheme we run. We’re similar to Dallas, very similar in regards to the run game. I watched him up close and personal two years ago and watched him run for 180 yards on some of the very same plays we run.”
Mularkey said it’s not possible to determine whether Murray was a step slower in Philadelphia compared to Dallas because he was in a different scheme. The head coach also isn’t concerned about how well Murray will hold up after carrying the ball 392 times in 2014.
“I think it’s how the guy handles himself when he’s [in the] offseason, how he trains,” Mularkey said. “It’s obvious this guy trains pretty diligently by his makeup. I think it’s the player that dictates how long he plays, but we’re going to run him.”
The Titans also didn’t have any character concerns about the running back, or reports about a conversation Murray had with Jeffrey Lurie regarding his lack of playing time.
“I don’t read any of that. I don’t pay attention to any of that,” Mularkey said. “I’ve spent a significant amount of time now with him since we signed him, and he’s quality, great character; he’s going to be great for our locker room. That’s what I heard, and that’s the impression I have now of him.”
GASE ON ALONSO, MAXWELL
Dolphins head coach Adam Gase struck a similar tone in explaining why Miami traded for Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell, saying they’ll use the duo better and get more out of them than the Eagles did.
“I feel like Byron’s going to fit well into what we’re going to do. He’ll be able to do more of what he’s done in the past where he had success,” Gase said. “What he did in Seattle was he’s aggressive on the line of scrimmage, getting up there and pressing, and being able to play aggressive. That’s what we want to allow him to do.”
As for Alonso, Gase expressed no concern about the linebacker’s injury history.
“Coming off his injury, we feel good about it being another year removed from that,” Gase said. “We see a guy that runs well, that he hits, he strikes. He’s going to fit into what we do really well. Him being back in a 4-3 defense, that probably suits him a little bit better. … Having that kind of speed at linebacker is really going to be helpful for us.”
To acquire Alonso and Maxwell, Miami had to swap first-round picks with Philadelphia, moving back from No. 8 overall to No. 13. But Gase considered that price to be a bargain.
“I was fine with it because we got two starters, and we’re going to add a third at 13. So I look at it, we move back five spots and we got three starters,” Gase said. “I was all for it, because I know this: one guy is not going to change our team, so adding three starters for us is a big deal. We have a lot of needs we need to fill.”