While addressing the media last month, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularkey said that he wanted his team to play “exotic smash mouth football” this season.
Yes…exotic smash mouth football…which Mularkey later clarified as the name for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ style of play when he was their offensive coordinator from 2001-2003.
Smash mouth speaks for itself, a tough physical mentality on offense spearheaded by a power run game. And to their credit, the Steelers excelled with that identity.
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Now…when Mularkey made the comment, I admit, I chuckled. The Titans were anything but exotic on offense, and had one of the worst offensive line / running back combinations in the entire league last season.
But after a string of moves to start the new league year, it appears that Mularkey was not bluffing.
For starters, the Titans already have their multi-dimensional qb weapon in Marcus Mariota, who recorded at least one passing, rushing, and receiving touchdown last season (a la Kordell Stewart).
Mularkey also has his Swiss Army Knife run/pass weapon in Dexter McCluster, who he made a team captain once becoming interim coach last year.
And now, the Titans have their smash mouth bell cow running back after acquiring DeMarco Murray from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Murray is the perfect fit for this team and system because he is one of only a few feature backs in the league. A back that demands 20-25 touches a game. A back that gets tougher and stronger as the game progresses. A back that led the league in rushing two short years ago.
DeMarco Murray epitomises smash mouth football, as does newly acquired free agent center Ben Jones, who started all 16 games for the Texans last season…and plays with a huge chip on his shoulder.
With the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, Tennessee still have the opportunity to draft left tackle Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss), who is widely considered a can’t miss…once in a generation type talent.
If the Titans elect to go that route, then 2014 first round left tackle Taylor Lewan can be moved to the right side. While living up to his first round draft slot has been up for debate, no one can debate Lewan’s toughness and willingness to compete.
With a revamped offensive line, and a productive run game led by a true feature back, Marcus Mariota can now do more things…more exotic things…by design.
I’m no longer chuckling.