The best of Titans running back Derrick Henry is yet to come.
No Sophomore Slump
Henry has been more than just an instrumental piece on the offensive side of the ball. His late game, hulk-like heroics have played a major role in the Titans finishing games and earning wins.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 3, 2017
Someone that size shouldn’t be able to move that fast. Just how fast did he move?
Fastest Ball Carriers of Week 13 so far:
1. Derrick Henry: 21.64 MPH
2. Mike Wallace: 21.42 MPH
3. Tyreek Hill: 20.78 MPH
4. Justin Simmons: 20.48 MPH
5. Cordarrelle Patterson: 20.45 MPH
— Ethan Young (@NFLDrafter) December 4, 2017
What differentiates Henry from the other names featured above is the fact that he’s built like a defensive end. His 75 yard tear was his fastest run as a member of the Titans. It looked as if someone removed the governor and unleashed a freight train.
Nobody is going to make the tackle to stop Henry if he can replicate that run.
It’s no secret many fans expected Henry to have a breakout season. He had a hard time earning snaps last season due to DeMarco Murray having a solid season.
What a difference a year makes. Murray hasn’t been the running back he was in 2016, and Henry has been afforded more opportunities to show how much of an asset he is to this football team. Murray still edges out Henry in passing downs due to having a superior pass block skill set. If Henry can improve that aspect of his game, he could emerge as one of the most well-rounded running backs in the league.
13 weeks into the season, Henry has produced 629 yards on 125 attempts in 12 games. Two of the carries went for over 72 yards, both against division opponents. Henry is averaging five yards a carry, 10 carries a game and 52 yards per game. His averages suggest Henry should at least have 40 more carries, 210 more yards. He could finish the regular season with close to 900 yards.
However, numbers can be deceiving.
Henry’s numbers are affected by games this season in which he did not record double-digit touches. When Henry did touch the ball more than 10 times, he exploded late in games and punished defenses. The Titans also have not lost a game when Henry has double-digit reps.
Once Henry passes the threshold of nine touches, the potential for ripping a long-range touchdowns is higher. Should Henry’s offensive touches increase, and if he has a few more of those 70+ yard touchdowns in his back pocket, he could be closer to eclipsing 1,000 yards than most may assume.
Whether or not the Titans begin to feature their bruising back early in games remains to be seen. For now, it appears Tennessee feels comfortable with Henry having fresh legs in the fourth quarter.
One thing that is certain, there is not reason Henry should not touch the football less than 10 times. Not only do his numbers highlight the reason why, but the unblemished record does too.
Stats referenced at NFL.com and Titansonline.com
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