clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

An Angry Derrick Henry Is What Titans Need

Henry aiming to add physicality to his game.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Titans Senior Writer/Editor Jim Wyatt posted a story outlining RB Derrick Henry’s disgust of his play through three games this season.

Henry has 46 carries through three weeks for a total of 139 yards. If you factor in the 60+ yard scamper that wasn’t, he’d have a little over 200 yards. This would’ve boosted his average yards per carry from three to four and some change.

Splitting carries isn’t bothering Henry. For him, it’s the belief that he is not making the most out of the carries he is given.

Having Jack Conklin manning the right side of the offensive line surely will help boost Henry’s productivity.

Trusting the Hole

Henry’s hesitancy or lack of patience in understanding the hole will be there keeps him from running with a full head of steam once the ball is stuffed in his gut.

OC Matt LaFleur praised Henry’s vision and it’s apparent the Titans want to give Henry more opportunity to do damage. In week one, Henry carried the ball 10 times. Over the past two weeks, he’s carried the ball 18 times twice.

Between 18-25 carries per game is what the workload on a good day should look like for Henry as he is a volume runner.

What he was used to in college was fields of wide open spaces. In the NFL, the holes will not be as glaring and it will be up to him to hit the crease hard to help it open up.

The hesitancy above affects Henry’s ability to process the play because he leans on his instincts to bounce the run outside instead of waiting for the hole to develop. Once Henry can overcome that hesitancy, he will be even more dangerous.

A misconception of Henry is thinking he is a bruising back. He’s not. His physical stature suggests one think, but his instincts as a runner are completely opposite. Henry’s style back in college wasn’t built on his ability to plow through people - it was built on his ability move that fast at the second level with that physical size.

Dion Lewis, who is obviously not Henry’s size, is more of a between the tackles grinder. What helps Lewis is his trust that the hole will develop - something he can help Henry learn.

Lewis’s size contributes to him getting lost behind the line, which make it easier for him to creep up on the openings in the offensive line. Henry doesn’t have the same luxury. He can’t hide behind the line and usually defenders meet him in the backfield, thus preventing any steam from building up.

Adding Violence

A mad Henry should mean a violent Henry.

Violence is good.

If Henry attacks even the smallest crease with an intense level of violence, great things could happen. Henry evolving into a force running between the tackles will put him one step closer to being a complete running back, which bodes well for the Titans.

In Wyatt’s piece, Henry says he “let three go away”. Although his individual stats aren’t where he’d like them to be, Henry should still realize he has contributed to the offense in the past few weeks.

I’ve mentioned in previous pieces that Henry has been a shoestring tackle away from breaking the big one - multiple times. If he approaches the home game against the Eagles with the mentality he spoke about having, it would come at just the right time.

There has been somewhat of a difference in the speed of which Henry hits the hole from the Wildcat compared to other formations. A lot could be due to his Wildcat options being cut and dry. He needs to explode through the hole the same way no matter what the formation.

With the offensive line seeming whole again, Henry could be primed for a big day on the ground. If Lewis is on his game, the “Derrick and Dion” show could be fun to watch run wild behind an offensive line nearing full strength.