One of the biggest storylines surrounding the Tennessee Titans this off-season, aside from the coaching change, is who the team’s lead running back will be.
The Titans released veteran running back DeMarco Murray in March. Not long after, they signed former New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis to pair to with former Alabama standout Derrick Henry.
Lewis is considered a pass catching specialist, but he showed in New England last season that he’s also capable of being a dynamic lead running back. In 16 games last year, Lewis rushed for 896 yards on 180 carries.
It reasonable to expect that Lewis will receive a significant amount of carries, but according to Titans Online reporter Jim Wyatt, he won’t be the “lead running back”.
Wyatt, on Thursday, reported that Tennessee’s plan is for Henry to be the lead running back, writing “The plan is for him [Henry] to be the lead back. He’s proven to be a strong and durable runner, but he’s also focused on getting better as a pass catcher and in pass protection.
While Henry will technically be the primary running back, I would expect a near 50/50 split in terms of total touches (including receptions).
In order for Lewis to make the biggest impact possible, the defense has to believe he’s a threat to run the ball. The only way to do that is to give him plenty of rushing opportunities.
I also think the flow of the game will mostly dictate how offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur chooses to use his top two running backs. Going with the hot hand will probably happen more often than not.
Either way, it’s a great problem for the Titans to have heading into the 2018 season.
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