Which Tennessee Titans running backs deserve the most attention during OTAs.
The Tennessee Titans seem to finally have the running backs in the right order of the depth chart and all eyes are squarely focused on Derrick Henry.
After starting his first two NFL seasons as the backup/tandem to DeMarco Murray, Henry finally looked poised to start in 2018 only to see the team bring in Dion Lewis in the offseason in a somewhat misguided attempt to help add some explosion.
It isn’t that Lewis is bad, but he muddied the rotation as rookie play caller Matt LaFleur seemed unable to figure out how to use him correctly.
So, finally in the last season of his rookie contract we should get to see Derrick Henry as the featured back in Tennessee.
I have focused on Henry before and will likely do a deeper dive on him at some point this offseason, but let’s look at the other big story lines involving the running backs.
Where does Dion Lewis fit in this offense?
I actually do like Dion Lewis and when he is going north/south he is really explosive and fun to watch. However, too often the Titans couldn’t get everything blocked up correctly which led to Lewis trying to cut back for what generally amounted to a loss of a yard.
Something I would suggest is that maybe Matt LaFleur stood on the table for Lewis and tried to give him volume even in situations where it doesn’t benefit Lewis. He did this because he was trying to justify the signing and all it did was hurt the offense as a whole and Lewis.
With LaFleur gone, can Tennessee Titans OC Arthur Smith find a way to maximize his potential? (Something I wrote about in depth here.) If so it could do wonders for this offense even if it doesn’t leap off of the page.
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Who is the RB3?
David Fluellen is one of those players that just sticks around. He has been a special teams player and a depth piece for the Titans for a few years now, but for the first time in his career he seemingly has some competition for the RB3 job.
Alex Barnes is the freak athlete from Kansas State who has a little bit of DeMarco Murray in him. He is a powerful runner who has some deceptively soft hands despite not seeing many targets in college.
Unless the Titans completely hide him in the preseason this year, I think that he is going to end up on an active roster either with Tennessee or after being claimed.
I think they may have a little wiggle room in the roster this year to keep both, just because GM Jon Robinson has done such a good job finding versatile players who can play multiple spots. However, I don’t think it is very likely and we are probably going to see one of these two force the other one off the roster.