NASHVILLE, Tenn. – During the glory days of the franchise, running back Eddie George and quarterback Steve McNair made each other better.
And as a team, the Titans benefited.
George, the franchise's all-time leading rusher, believes new Titans running back DeMarco Murray can have a similar impact on young quarterback Marcus Mariota, and the entire team.
The Titans traded for the former Cowboys and Eagles running back last week.
"I really like it,'' George said. "It's a bold move, and I think the Titans are getting a player in DeMarco Murray who feels disrespected after leaving Philadelphia and he wants to prove his worth. He is coming back with a chip on his shoulder and the Titans desperately need a running game to help Marcus Mariota.
"That move told me something. I really like it, to pick up a veteran running back who is undervalued, a guy who will be coming in with something to prove. I like the moves I've seen so far from the Titans."
George, a four-time Pro Bowler, ran for 10,009 yards from 1996-2003, with 64 touchdowns. The Titans made four playoff appearances during that stretch, and made it to two AFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl.
Murray, a six-year veteran, has rushed for 5,228 yards and 34 touchdowns during his career. He was named the league's Offensive Player of the Year after leading the NFL and setting Cowboys franchise records in rushing yards (1,845), and scrimmage yards (2,261) in 2014.
In his lone season with the Eagles, Murray ran for 702 yards and six touchdowns on just 193 carries last season.
George likes Murray's game, and believes his presence will help more than just Mariota.
Running back DeMarco Murray arrives at Saint Thomas Sports Park to sign his contract. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
"He can also help the offensive line become better pass blockers, because now you are not pass blocking on predictable downs,'' George said. "I don't know any great, Hall of Fame offensive linemen who pass-blocked the whole game. Some of your better pass blockers were set up by the run.
"DeMarco, when he's had lanes and you give him space, he's deadly. And when his confidence is high, he's going to break tackles for you on the second level. The year he had in Dallas, you saw how he was tough to tackle in between the tackles.
"I think for DeMarco, it will be: Can he get his confidence back? And, "Are they going to feed him?'' You can't give that type of running back the ball 10 times, or even 15 times, and expect maximum production. He is a rhythm back and you have to allow him to get in a rhythm."
The Titans finished 25th in the NFL in rushing offense in 2015, averaging just 92.8 yards per game. In addition to Murray, the team returns running backs Antonio Andrews, Dexter McCluster, Bishop Sankey and David Cobb from a year ago. Andrews led the team in rushing last season with 520 yards, followed by McCluster (247), Sankey (193) and Cobb (146) among running backs.
The Titans haven't had a running back run for 100 yards since Dec. 29, 2013, when Chris Johnson did it against the Texans in his final appearance before being released.
George said he thinks Cobb will help as well. Cobb played in just seven games last season after rushing for 1,626 yards in his final season at Minnesota.
"I like the fact they are creating that level of competition,'' George said. "I am pretty sure (Cobb) is champing at the bit, and you have to remember he ran for a lot of yards at Minnesota.
"But having a guy like DeMarco is going to help everyone. I like it. I like it a whole lot."