Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans are 4-0 after the beatdown of the Buffalo Bills 42-16 on Tuesday Night Football.

Henry, the NFL’s reigning rushing champ, looks to be off to a good start with 376 rushing yards, four touchdowns, and a 94 yards per game average. But, the efficiency in which Henry and the Titans offensive line ran for in 2019 hasn’t show up yet in 2020. Last season, Henry averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Through the four games this year… he’s only at 3.7 yards per carry.

Obviously, every defense the Titans face is keying on Henry and making life difficult on the Titans rushing attack. Ryan Tannehill is benefitting (9 TD passes to 1 INT) from the extra focus on Henry and the Titans offense is soaring with 106 points in the last three games.

BUT… there’s one aspect of the Titans offense that is really confusing me: offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s infatuation with the toss play to Derrick Henry.

There’s not much to criticize when it comes to the Titans second year play caller. His on the fast track to becoming an NFL head coach. The toss play, however, needs to be tossed into the trash.

If you follow me on Twitter you’ve had to have seen me complaining about the ineffectiveness about the toss play. It’s not working, and all my tweets about the toss play were tweeted in real time, without the research of the outcome of each and every toss to Derrick Henry so far this season.

Well, after the research…

It’s worse than I expected.

The Titans have run 16 toss plays to Derrick Henry through four games this season. 12 of the play calls have come on 1st and 10. Oddly enough, it’s a 50/50 split to the left and the right.

These 16 toss plays to Derrick Henry have netted a whopping 19 total yards. That’s 1.18 yards per carry. Below, I’ve broken down every one of them in GIF form. As you’ll see, some are not Henry’s fault. Several times he uses his big body and strength to fall down BACK to the line of scrimmage avoiding a loss. The full statistical breakdown of the 16 tosses is below the GIFs.

Derrick Henry tosses vs the Bills

Derrick Henry Toss Tennessee Titans
1st and 10, BUF 16 yard line, toss right, no gain
Derrick Henry Toss Tennessee Titans
1st and 10, own 27 yard line, toss left, gain of 5
Derrick Henry Toss Tennessee Titans
1st and 10, 50 yard line, toss left, no gain.
Derrick Henry Toss Tennessee Titans
2nd and 6, BUF 8 yard line, toss right, loss of 2.
Derrick Henry Toss Tennessee Titans
2nd and 5, BUF 27 yard line, toss right, loss of 3.

Derrick Henry tosses vs the Vikings

Derrick Henry Toss Tennessee Titans
1st and 10, own 42 yard line, toss right, no gain.
2nd and 1, own 34 yard line, toss left, gain of 1.
Derrick Henry Toss Tennessee Titans
1st and 10, own 45 yard line, toss right, gain of 16.
1st and 10, MIN 16 yard line, toss right, gain of 2
Derrick Henry Toss Tennessee Titans
1st and 10, MIN 41 yard line, toss right, no gain.
1st and 10, own 25 yard line, toss right, gain of 5.

Derrick Henry tosses vs the Jaguars

1st and 10, JAX 30 yard line, toss left, gain of 4
1st and 10, JAX 33 yard line, toss left, loss of 7.
Derrick Henry Toss Tennessee Titans
1st and 10, own 30 yard line, toss left, gain of 2
3rd and 1, own 33 yard line, toss left, loss of 3

The one “Titans toss” vs the Broncos

Derrick Henry Toss Tennessee Titans
1st and 10, own 49 yard line, toss left-cutback, loss of 1.

In total, nine of the 16 tosses have resulted in plays of no-gain or a loss (there was a loss of seven yards vs Jacksonville). Three of the 16 gained one or two yards. Three gained four or five yards. The super-irony here is Henry’s longest run of the season (16 yards) came on a toss to the right against the Vikings.

Arthur Smith has proven to be a really damn good offensive coordinator. Derrick Henry is one of the best running backs in the NFL…

Henry is effective in getting to the outside via bouncing an inside run to the edge, but when he gets a direct toss to the outside the defense is ready.

But this isn’t working.

Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


https://atozsportsnashville.com/tennessee-titans-derrick-henry-toss-plays/
Facebook Comments