Retired Backs LT, Faulk Like Tennessee's 1-2 Punch at RB


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — LaDainian Tomlinson was a do-it-all running back during his playing career.

The same can be said for Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk.

When the current NFL analysts look at the Titans, they see a ton of potential with running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.

"With those two guys, I believe they can control the pace of play and really win the time of possession game and really help their defense. And really try and win games in the ugly fashion," said Tomlinson, a five-time Pro Bowler who rushed for 13,684 career yards with the Chargers and Jets. "They are not going to throw the football all around the park I don't believe. I think Marcus (Mariota) is going to continue to take the next step and the next progression of being an NFL quarterback, and will be able to handle a little bit more.

"But I think he enjoys the luxury of having those two guys, and you can just play ugly football and just beat people up for four quarters. I think it will pay dividends in the fourth quarter where they probably will be able to keep a lead if they have it or keep games close to winning at the end."

Faulk, who starred with the Colts and Rams, agreed.

"I like the 1-2 punch (the Titans) have and it doesn't really matter who is 1 and who is 2 with me,'' Faulk said. "They can be successful. The offensive line, (it's) really good at run blocking. There is an improvement in Tennessee.

"I like (Henry),'' Faulk said when asked about last year's Heisman Trophy winner. "All through college I kept labeling him as another Alabama running back, and I don't want to speak too soon on it, but his ability to make people miss in tight spaces is better than I thought. I didn't think he possessed those abilities. … I like him now more than I did when he was coming out."

Tomlinson and Faulk made their comments on Tuesday during a conference call. Former NFL coach and fellow NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci was also on the call.

The Titans lost 25-16 to the Vikings in the season opener on Sunday.

Murray rushed for 42 yards in that game, and also caught five passes for 35 yards and two touchdowns. Henry gained just three yards on five carries in the opener, and he caught two passes for 41 yards.

Murray, acquired by the Titans this offseason via trade, had big success in the preseason. So did Henry, last year's Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama. Faulk said the Titans have to do a better job taking care of the football after turning the ball over three times against the Vikings.

On Sunday, the Titans face the Detroit Lions.

"As the season wears on, Derrick Henry will have more touches,'' Mariucci said. "DeMarco is going to be their feature back, but I like the 1-2 punch they are going to have. They are going to need it. With Marcus Mariota, we have seen him very good at times last year as a rookie and as long as they continue to push the ball down the field, and get the ball to their receivers, they are going to have a little more success running the football.

"I think it is a work in progress, but as the season wears on and Marcus develops into more of a passer, then that running game with DeMarco Murray and (Derrick) Henry will really flourish.

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