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Which Derrick Henry are we going to get in 2019?
When they leaned on Henry in the last four games in December, he was a beast; those four games accounted for 55% of his rushing yards, 40% of his rushing attempts, and 58% of his rushing TD total. He went over 17 carries in two of those four games.
He also went over 17 carries in two games earlier in the year against the Texans and Jaguars – 18 carries each for 56 and 57 yards, respectively. The opportunity was welcomed, but the tough defenses of those two teams won while Marcus Mariota was banged up.
The questions going into 2018 involve whether the Titans will continue featuring Henry while Dion Lewis takes more of a backseat and primarily handles the obvious pass-catching downs. The downside of that is having a less-versatile back on the field on early downs, which is why Lewis saw so much time last year. The new OC of the Titans was someone in house – former TE assistant Arthur Smith, who was someone who obviously saw Henry’s late season tear in person.
We would love to see the Titans run more 3 WR sets, which would leave the defense with little choice but to put more focus on defending the pass. The Titans ran 3 WR sets at one of the lowest rates in the league, and when you combine that with Henry’s lack of versatility with respect to the pass game, teams were stacking the box against him at one of the top rates in the league.
If Henry is given the opportunity, there are some reasons to think he’ll succeed. Out of all RBs with at least 175 attempts, Henry is 2nd in yards after contact per attempt. Even more impressive, he was 2nd in TOTAL rushing yards after contact – only behind Zeke, and Zeke had almost 100 more carries then Henry. In fact, 90% of Henry’s total rushing yards were created after contact.
Not only that, but amongst RBs with at least 175 carries, he was the 2nd most elusive according to PFF, and tied for most avoided tackles while running the ball. He also received their 2nd best grade at the position.
If you want him, you have to nag him at the 3-4 turn… is he on your radar at that point, or are you looking for a RB more involved in the passing game? Let me know 👇👇