The Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is the last American muscle car. He is huge, fast, powerful, slightly intimidating and undeniably retro-cool. But he is not very practical, and despite appearances, he probably hasn’t made it to the last.
Henry ran for 2,027 yards this season, the fifth-largest in NFL history. He became the second running back in over 2,000 rushing yards after Chris Johnson of the Titans in 2009 and Adrian Peterson in 2012, and is just the eighth player in league history to reach that milestone. Henry led or tied for the lead in rushing, yards and rushing touchdowns for the second consecutive season in 2020.
Henry’s accomplishments become even more remarkable upon closer examination. He rushed for 1,268 yards on first downs alone; That production by himself allowed him to finish third in the NFL. Henry ran for 710 yards in his final four games, including 250 yards as the Titans led the AFC South to a 41–38 win over the Houston Texans, strengthening their reputation as the season progressed. Credit goes to Henry for Pro Football Focus From a league-high 77 ELD tack on running plays; Henry throws them to deal with the most Out of the salon like the protagonist of a Wild West serial, but he still matters.
Henry ran 446 yards in last year’s playoffs, leading the Titans to victory On the Baltimore Ravens And new England Patriots Before the Kansas City chiefs returned to defeat him for the AFC Championship. There were four other running backs in a postseason with only four yards more than Henry, and three of them – Terrell Davis in 1997 and 1998, Marcus Allen in 1983, John Riggins in 1982 – are now Hall of Famers, his elder Playoff and Super Bowl heroes due in part. (Titans great Eddie George was the second, in 1999).
A similar performance this year could turn the Titans into a shortlist of all-time legends in the Super Bowl and Henry.
Unfortunately, strategic trends, analytics, and history are not geared toward Henry himself.
Henry’s success flew in the face of modern NFL knowledge. He is a workhorse in a pass-happy league that has determined that sharing among a committee is more efficient, durable and inexpensive than the most formidable rushing force-feeding. Henry raced 378 times during the regular season, with DeMarco Murray running 392 times for the 2014 Dallas Cowboys. Each season, two or three running backs typically carried 350-plus carries in the 1980s to the early 2000s. Only three rushers (Henry, Murray, and Arian Foster in 2012) have crossed that threshold in the last decade.
Henry’s heavy workload makes him a potential victim of the dreaded Curse of 370, An analytics theory popularized by Football Outsiders in the Mid-Augs. Research suggests that 370 or more carries in a season are usually due to injuries or a fall in a subsequent season. For example, Murray fell to just 702 yards after his high mileage 2014 season in 2015. History is replete with other examples of congestion (and skewed antagonisms), whose careers were sealed with overuse, many of which were believed to be free from “curses”, their greatness, fortune, dedication, Looking at the beginning.
(The fact that there was a decline in use at the time that exposed the 370’s curse is hardly a coincidence. NFL decision makers have acted like the tough guys in high school, when it came to analytics Arrives, whispering “For Math News!” Asks for answers to all the tests.)
Henry’s rugged style only worries about his workload. Most modern running doubles as receivers, allowing them to work the sideline and absorb fewer hits against smaller defenders. Henry runs in the middle of the field like the 1970s, turning into a demolition derby every Sunday. This is a refreshing change of pace in a league that has gone far beyond its sloppy roots, and Henry certainly catches some defenders off guard by choosing to run straight through them instead of around. But between the bear and the collision, Henry has revoked the terms of his service warranty and is beginning to woo fate.
Each generation produces one or two running backs, which increase every statistical trend, reduce the workload and remain effective after their odometer flip: Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Ladinian Tomlinson, Curtis Martin, Eric Dickerson, Allen, Riggins and a few others. Henry may well be one of those backs. Then, Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell and many others recently appeared crowded one year indestructible and their production fell from the following season, in many cases soon they signed lucrative long-term contracts.
Titans signed henry For four years and reported $ 50 million in July. Despite their current excellence, there is a high risk that they will pay Henry to scrap in a year or two.
For now, however, the Titans are counting on Henry to once again pull them through the playoffs. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s crisp passing reduces Henry’s burden to an extent, but the Titans’ defense finished 24th in the league and 28th in points.
Tennessee will face the Baltimore Ravens team on Sunday, scoring 186 points in their last five games. Henry would need tough-arm tired defenders and hammer home touchdowns to win that potential shootout, but would also have to pray against Kansas City chiefs and / or Buffalo Bills in the later rounds.
Henry will have to do whatever he wants to get in the way of the Titans in the Super Bowl this year, as history has warned that he won’t get many more chances.