Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/EditorTitansOnline.com
Titans fullback Jalston Fowler has made a career out of blowing up defenders. On Sunday, Fowler blocked the same player twice – the second time roughly 50 yards downfield. His teammates and coaches noticed.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans fullback Jalston Fowler has made a career out of paving the way for running backs.
He’s a guy who does the dirty work while banging helmets with defenders, and that’s just fine with him.
He signed up for the gig.
Through the eyes of his coaches and teammates, Fowler went above and beyond with his effort in Sunday’s win over the Seahawks, especially on one play — DeMarco Murray’s 75-yard touchdown run.
Go back and watch the replay and you’ll see Fowler blocking Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane near the line of scrimmage before chasing him all the way downfield to block him again, over 50 yards away. The effort helped spring Murray for the highlight-reel play.“Good things happen when you hustle,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said.
The Titans say it’s a good thing they have Fowler, a fourth-round draft pick out of Alabama who goes by the nickname “Nudie.”
“Nudie is a hell of a fullback and a guy who works extremely hard for us,” Murray said. “We’re proud to have him.”
Titans tight end Delanie Walker said watching Fowler’s effort on the play fired him up. Fowler’s first block came around the Tennessee 30-yard line, the second one inside Seattle’s 20, which allowed Murray to glide in.
“You know what?,” Walker said. “To see stuff like that, especially from a fullback, running all the way down the field to block a corner. That goes a long way. It’s the “want to.” We already knew Jalston is a beast, and he goes about being a pro every day on the field and off the field. That’s all we can ask from him.”
The 5-11, 254-pound Fowler, who played in 19 of the team’s 73 offensive plays on Sunday, acknowledged coaches singled him out for his effort on the play in film review. It came on a day when the Titans ran for 195 yards while averaging 5.6 yards per carry in a 33-27 win.
“The coaches have been pointing it out, saying “This is us, this is how we play, this is how we finish and this is what we want all the time,” Fowler said. “You want to be recognized for the good, not the bad, I guess.“I was just chasing the ball and trying to be there for my teammates, that’s all I was doing.”
Fowler has been dependable while playing in all 35 games since entering the NFL.
He played in 16 games for the Titans in his rookie season in 2015 while battling through injuries. Fowler injured his labrum that year, which required offseason surgery, and he also dealt with a broken toe at the end of that season.
In 2016, Fowler played in all 16 games for the Titans for the second straight year.
During his career, Fowler has just nine carries for 19 yards, and six catches for 58 yards. He scored his third career touchdown in Week Two in Jacksonville on a three-yard run near the goal line. It was a nice reward for a player who usually doesn’t get a lot of attention.
In addition to playing fullback, Fowler is also a key performer on special teams.During the offseason, NFL Network analyst Michael Robinson told Titans Online that when he spent time with Murray following his 1,287-yard, Pro Bowl season in 2016, Murray raved about Fowler, who was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2016.
On Monday, Fowler said Murray complimented him for his good game, and his persistent blocking.
Talk to Fowler and it’s clear he’s uncomfortable taking much credit, and hearing “Thank yous.”
“What I did (Sunday), that’s just me doing my job,” Fowler explained. “That’s what the coaches always preach: You do your job and finish downfield. They always say go to the ball, follow the ball. They tell me I am everybody’s protector when I am in the game, so just go to the ball and protect your teammates. That’s what I always try to do.”