<
>

With DeMarco Murray, Marcus Mariota will be under center more, which is fine

play
Murray to Titans "smartest move this offseason" (0:54)

ESPN NFL senior writer John Clayton explains why Tennessee's trade with Philadelphia for running back DeMarco Murray makes complete sense for the Titans. (0:54)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Coach Mike Mularkey's offense figures to fit new running back DeMarco Murray, who has done his best work as an I-formation back taking handoffs from a quarterback dropping back from under center.

Mularkey said Thursday as the Tennessee Titans introduced their new running back that quarterback Marcus Mariota will be under center more.

"Obviously he's going to be [under center] more than he was last year," Mularkey said. "It's a very balanced offense. Marcus will be under center more than he will be in the gun. If you look at the breakdown, at least of the offenses that we've run over the last 15 years, yeah I would say that, sure."

That doesn't mean the Titans will abandon the sort of shotgun work that Mariota excels in, and it doesn't mean they still won't incorporate elements of the Oregon offense he played in college.

But more snaps for Mariota under center will help Murray, do a lot for creating play-action chances and will further balance the offense.

(Mularkey also spoke about how the Titans' offense will be closer to what Murray excelled in with the Dallas Cowboys than what he slumped in with the Philadelphia Eagles.)

In that giant season in Dallas in 2014, Murray had 356 carries for 1,675 yards and 11 touchdowns when the quarterback was under center and 35 carries for 169 yards and two TDs when he was in shotgun.

He went from 90.8 percent of his runs coming out of plays with the quarterback under center to 84.9 percent of his runs coming out of shotgun plays last season in Philadelphia.

The balance is going to swing back, though I wouldn't expect it to be quite so extreme. And I don't expect it to have a bad bearing on Mariota. It's should help him.