With DeMarco Murray officially out, Derrick Henry will get the start and have a chance to prove he’s ready to eat.
The announcement was officially made, but the writing had been on the wall all week. DeMarco Murray did not practice throughout the week and is officially out for the Tennessee Titans’ regular season home finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Derrick Henry, despite not starting all season, leads the team in rushing yards with 693 on 148 carries. He will have a chance to impose his will against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense he has historically performed well against.
Henry has 34 career carries when facing the Jaguars. He has racked up 165 rush yards and is averaging roughly 5 yards per carry on those totes. Of Henry’s 10 touchdowns, two have come against Jacksonville. Henry was instrumental in Tennessee’s Week 2 victory over the Jaguars this season, nearly eclipsing 100 yards for the first time as a professional.
It took a major injury to Murray for Henry to get the start, but many fans have been wanting the Titans to feature Henry more. On Sunday, he’ll have an opportunity to showcase what he can do when afforded more opportunities.
Murray, although plagued by injuries throughout the season, remained in the starting role. Over the past few weeks, he flashed some of his 2016 form. Murray edged out Henry due to being better in pass protection and on passing downs.
Henry will have a chance to show that he’s improved in those areas and is ready to be an every down back.
Murray being out meant another roster move was on the horizon. The Titans promoted 7th round selection Khalfani Muhammad to the active roster. David Fluellen will assume the backup role for Henry, with Muhammad potentially seeing some snaps.
Jacksonville is known primarily for their defense. However, their run defense currently ranks 21st in the league. The Jaguars have allowed 1,744 rushing yards this season. The Jags also rank 29th in longest rush allowed, having given up a 75-yard run. Jacksonville has allowed nine rushing touchdowns, ranking 12th overall.
The Jaguars allow roughly 116.3 rush yards per game, ranking 21st in the league.
Although the records are different, the matchup favors the Titans. If Henry gets rolling early, it could be a long day for the Jacksonville defenders. Production on the ground could lead to more opportunities in the passing game.
Tennessee has the opportunity to beat the division champions en route to the postseason. Depending on how the remainder of the games turn out, the Titans could find themselves in Jacksonville next week with a chance to sweep the Jags and eliminate them from the playoffs.
Nissan Stadium will be a playoffs-esque atmosphere. Henry and his teammates will feed of the energy, which could spell trouble for Jacksonville.