NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As a game moves along, Mike Mularkey wants only a general sense of how the Tennessee Titans' running back workload is playing out.
While GM Jon Robinson classified the two backs as Thunder and Thunder, the coach said when the Titans drafted Henry in the second round that Murray was going to be the lead back and Henry would prevent any sort of drop-off when the lead back comes out.
Mularkey said Tuesday that things won’t be entirely clear until game-planning is official.
“We’ll find ways to get [Henry] on the field,” he said. “We know what he’s capable of doing. I just want to be careful, I did it one time when I went in and was worrying about how many numbers guys were getting and it didn’t work.
“We’re going to do what’s best for the team like we’ve been doing from the beginning. And whatever that is, if he’s a large part of it, [he] is. But he’ll have a role, definitely.”
Mularkey said while Henry has shown he needs to be on the field, Murray hasn’t shown any reason not to be on the field.
The time Mularkey tried to really monitor touches, he went overboard. The Steelers lost 30-14 at New England on Sept. 9, 2002, in his first game as an offensive coordinator.
“It was worrying about how many carries, who was getting passes,” he said. “I had a guy up there tracking everything, and I was trying to feed to this guy and that guy. After that game, I said I’d never do that again. I never have. It’s didn’t work.
“If a guy gets open, he’s going to get open, he’s going to get the ball. If the coverage dictates throw it over here, then the guys that are over there are going to get the ball. If we’re running the ball successfully, they’re going to get the ball. If we’re not, we’re going to try somebody else to try to win.”
His determination in that game to spread the ball around wasn’t a reaction to the defense, but a desire to be equitable. His coaching career since showed him that things will even out on their own.
“It’s amazing without ever doing that, if you ever watch the number of carries and balls thrown to guys, somehow without guys doing it purposely, it comes out pretty balanced,” he said.
Murray and Henry both shrugged off questions about the regular-season distribution of carries with equal speed.
Is Murray curious about how the carries will split up once the games count?
“No,” he said. “Not at all."