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Derrick Henry Continues to Dominate Against Stacked Boxes

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans got back in the win column on Sunday with a key 18-point victory over the Jaguars. We are so used to Derrick Henry dominating his hometown Jaguars and it was more of the same. The King ran for an astounding 130 yards on 29 carries and not one, not two, but three touchdowns. Henry’s longest run of the day went just for 15 yards. That means Henry was consistently solid, and picked up 4.5 yards per carry. Henry started slow but like we’ve seen so many times before, began wearing the Jags down in the second half.

Next Gen Stats is an excellent tool. Its advanced model often tells the story that the basic statistics don’t, and one of this week’s reveals for the Titans is an exciting reveal that captures how effective Henry was while running against stacked boxes on Sunday. The Jags had a pretty clear gameplan on defense. They stacked the box with eight or more defenders on 16 of Henry’s 29 carries. That accounts for more than 50% of Henry’s runs. It’s nothing The King hasn’t seen before. Henry dominated against Jacksonville’s stacked box approach, and even scored two of his three touchdowns on those defensive looks. Henry has now scored five TD’s against stacked boxes this season.

Out of towners routinely talk about how “stacking the box” against Henry is an effective strategy when the advanced stats clearly point in the other direction. Most defenses prepare for the Titans with this approach in mind, but it honestly rarely works. The starting offensive linemen and Henry are so used to these looks and have done an excellent job counteracting them over the years. Sunday was more of the same. Approaching this offense with that defensive gameplan in mind is way too simple and one-track minded.

The Titans played a relatively good game on Sunday, but need to be a lot better against the Buffalo Bills in primetime in Week 6.