Titans Finding Success Using Multiple Running Backs


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Most fans want a bell cow at the running back position, someone who gets the bulk of the carries and is the undisputed go-to guy.

Fantasy football owners hate the words "running back by committee."

Well, Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan doesn't really care.

"I could care less who runs the ball, I really don't care at all,'' Lewan said. "As long as whoever runs the ball runs hard makes the right reads and makes guys miss and gets yards, that's all I care about. I think all (of our) guys are extremely talented, so we definitely are lucky to have a good stable of running backs."

Through three games, the Titans are ranked 10th in the NFL in rushing yards, averaging 126.0 yards per game. That's pretty solid.

They've done it using a number of running backs, all in spurts.

Bishop Sankey leads the team with 126 yards, on 29 carries. Dexter McCluster has 113 yards on the season, on 17 totes. Behind them, backs Terrance West (16 carries, 51 yards) and Antonio Andrews (12-49) are next in yards. Andrews got his total in Sunday's game against the Colts after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury.

"What's wrong with what we've been doing in the first three weeks running the football? We've been effective,'' coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "Every week we have different packages and I can't tell you which package is going to have success. It depends. Just like (vs the Colts), Bishop Sankey had a number of plays. In fact, he was very effective on a couple screen passes for us.

"But his plays, we didn't have a good matchup we felt in the packages that he was in there for, especially running the football. But it was a little bit more that way with Antonio (Andrews) in there, so he took advantage of it. I don't know what it's going to be next week or the next week that we play. That's going to go from week to week."

McCluster leads the Titans in snaps (97) through three games, and he's followed by Sankey (74), West (28) and Andrews (22). West was inactive against Indianapolis after playing in the first two games.

Sankey led the Titans with 74 rushing yards against the Buccaneers, while McCluster paced the ground game with 98 yards against the Browns. Andrews had the most rushing yards against the Colts, with his 49-yard total.

"I want to show them why I should be the man, that is my goal,'' Andrews said. "If you are eating, they have to keep feeding you. So I have to make them see me."

Sankey, who ran for a team-high 569 yards last season as a rookie with the Titans, said he's adjusting to getting into a rhythm while sharing the load with other backs.

Sankey played in 23 snaps in the opener, and 32 against the Browns. He was on the field for 19 snaps against the Colts, when he carried the ball just five times for 10 yards.

"My main focus is when I'm in there, I don't know how many plays in a row I'll be in there, so I am trying to make the most of my opportunities and be productive and make plays,'' Sankey said.

"I think we are definitely a good group. Each and every one of us are good backs, capable backs and I think we push each other every day at practice to get better. Everybody is just competing, and that's probably the reason the running game is doing well."


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