During the off-season, we pondered how the Tennessee Titans would use running backs Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis.
All signs pointed to a 50/50 split, with Henry and Lewis operating as 1a and 1b on the depth chart.
Through four games this season, the touches have been nearly even. Henry has touched the ball 57 times to Lewis’ 61 times (Henry has nine more rushing attempts).
But it’s clear that Lewis has been the more effective offensive player, out-gaining Henry 259 yards to 175 yards.
That’s mostly because the Titans are still figuring out how to use Henry in Matt LaFleur’s offense.
.@danorlovsky7 on @Midday180: There are things you look at with @KingHenry_2 where he should be a good fit. Probably going through the process of figuring out where he truly fits in scheme, how to use downhill/power, not horizontal. Marry scheme to him.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) October 1, 2018
Lewis’ skillset is what LaFleur is comfortable with, so it’s not a surprise that he’s having a bit more success through the first quarter of the season.
That’s the reason I wouldn’t be so quick to write off Henry, like some have already tried to do.
Not sure Derrick Henry is any good
— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) September 30, 2018
I’m actually very sure that Henry is good. He has some skills that can’t be taught, which includes elite speed.
#NextGenStats clocks this run by Derrick Henry at a top speed of 21.46mph, the 6th fastest ball carrier speed of the year. He’s bracketed by Julio and DeSean. (called back for holding) pic.twitter.com/zUByHGbzS0
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) September 28, 2018
Henry told reporters last week that his play this season has been “trash”, adding “I have to be more physical, and I have to make more explosive runs”.
I love the attitude from Henry, but he can’t do it by himself.
The Titans have to mold parts of the offense around Henry. He’s too talented not to find a way to get him the ball more often. He’s always one cut away from a big play.
And I think Mike Vrabel and LaFleur know this. That’s another reason this should be an exciting time for Titans fans. Tennessee’s offense hasn’t even come close to reaching its full potential. Once this thing gets rolling, the rest of the NFL better watch out — it won’t be fun playing the Titans.
Featured image via USA Today