Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Titans’ hopes rest more than ever on Derrick Henry

If the Tennessee Titans are going to be a force once more in the AFC, they’ll need running back Derrick Henry more than ever.

The Tennessee Titans have gone from top seed to forgotten. If they want to prove plenty of pundits wrong, the quest largely begins and potentially ends with Derrick Henry’s legs.

Henry has been the most prolific running back in football since 2018, racking up 5,563 yards and 55 rushing touchdowns, both league-leading figures in said span. Additionally, Henry ran for more than 2,000 yards in 2020 and the year prior, was the driving force for Tennessee reaching the AFC Championship Game, going for 1,273 rushing yards between Week 10 and the Divisionals.

 

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However, last year saw Henry get hurt, limiting him to nine games. And while Tennessee was able to become the AFC’s No. 1 seed despite the absence, the Titans are no longer getting the services of receiver A.J. Brown and edge rusher Harold Landry, following a trade to the Philadelphia Eagles and a torn ACL, respectively.

Considering the lack of other options, Henry is going to be relied on more than ever. And that’s concerning after a foot injury that coincided with Henry racking up 219 rushing attempts in just eight games.

Still, it seems Tennessee has no thoughts of limiting the workload for Henry. Recently, Titans general manager Jon Robinson spoke on the subject with Turron Davenport of ESPN:

“Derrick’s a volume guy. He wants the ball. He likes it when we give it to him. That’s a balance that you have to, from a coaching standpoint with trainers, with the strength coaches, just figure out what’s best for the football team. The most important thing is the availability of the player a lot of times, more so than the ability of the player.”

 

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At 28 years old, Henry is leaving the prime oof his career, but remains young enough to give Tennessee another year or two of spectacular production. The question is whether the right move is to give Henry the carries Robinson says he wants, or hold him back to try and extend his career.

For the Titans, the only path to victory in 2022 might be the former option, and that is a risky proposition for a hulking running back with plenty of miles already on his legs.

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