Updated: Oct 20, 2020
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Titans' running back Derrick Henry was the rushing leader last year with 1,540 yards and he also led the league in rushing touchdowns with 16. Henry continues to be on a tear in 2020, as he leads the league in rushing with 588 yards and is second in rushing touchdowns with six. The Titans have a throwback type of offense and like to pound the ball with Henry, who they are not afraid to give 20-plus carries every game.
"Not only do you have to stop the run initially, but this is a guy who averages about 25 carries a game," Tomlin said today in his weekly press conference. "Regardless of how the game is going, you better be prepared to answer that element of the challenge over the course of the game. He wears you down. He's capable, and they're capable of winning by attrition. As you saw last week, he's also big-play capable. It's really astounding that a back his size is capable of going to the house just about every time he touches it. Over the course of the last 10 or 12 games, dating back to last year, this guy has a highlight reel of big runs unlike which I have never seen over that type of a time span.
"A lot is written and said about his size, his stiff arm, his power and those things, and all of those things are true. The damage that he does when he gets in open space that he's able to couple those attributes with sprinter's speed is just ridiculous.
Henry is coming off a 212-yard rushing performance on 22 carries and two touchdowns against the Texans on Sunday, a hearty average of 9.6 yards per carry. Henry broke off a 94-yard rushing touchdown against Houston. He's a big back, but he has incredible speed for his size. Henry's 94-yard touchdown run made him the second player in NFL history with two touchdown runs of at least 94 yards. Henry already was one of two players in NFL history with a 99-yard touchdown run from scrimmage. He had that run against the Jaguars on Dec. 6, 2018.
"He's just got sprinter speed to go with some of the other unique attributes that we discussed," Tomlin said. "You see it. You see everybody's secondary over the course of the last couple of years chasing this guy and very few people closing the distance. Despite his size, when he gets in open space, you've got real home run hitter issues when he gets in your secondary."
Henry stands at 6-foot-3, 247 pounds and he ran a 4.54 in the 40-yard dash at the 2016 NFL Combine. He is the complete package; height, weight and speed. A running back this big and with this kind of speed is a rarity in the league.
"There are people that are intimidated by him," Tomlin said. "There are tangible things to be intimidated by. This is like Bud Dupree running the football. This guy gets into your secondary. It's like trying to tackle a guy like Bud, except he is faster, obviously, than Bud. You can see DBs having issues with that. Hopefully, we minimize the amount of time our guys are in those circumstances, and hopefully, when our guys are in those circumstances, they do what they have to do. They do what the job requires them to do."