Derrick Henry’s hidden value
Removing the six-game early-season stretch with Marcus Mariota running the Tennessee offense, the Titans put together one of the NFL’s most efficient and effective passing offenses in the entire league. That offense, led by Ryan Tannehill, was helped tremendously with the high volume of stacked boxes they faced from the defense and the heavy lean they had towards play action– all due to Henry’s brilliance in the running game over the past two seasons.
With the odds tipped towards Tannehill’s favor, the veteran quarterback was able to put together a career-renaissance. The highest completion percentage of his career, the highest passer rating of his career, all on the most yards per attempt of his career.
Not to say that Tannehill’s success was due entirely to Henry, but rather, their partnership was a mutually beneficial one– leading to a borderline unstoppable offense that had five 30+ point performances in the final eight weeks of the season and a 7-3 record in the final ten games.
And Henry is coming back for more, along with Tannehill, a partnership responsible for beating the Chiefs, Ravens, Patriots, and Texans. They’re battle-tested and came out the other side with proven success. Henry isn’t just committing to an offense that caters to his skill set for the next four seasons, he’s committing to an offense that allows him to elevate the pieces around him to heights that franchise hasn’t seen in over a decade.
The craziest part of all of this is, Derrick Henry just keeps getting better. Somehow, someway, Henry has been an effective bell-cow with nothing in his individual background to show that he’ll be stopping anytime soon. And if the regression does come during his new extension, rookie running back Darrynton Evans will be waiting in the wings to take the pressure off.
But if nothing else, Henry has earned the benefit of the world not rushing him out the door. A dominant force capable of elevating an entire team should be celebrated. So, here’s to Derrick Henry, the anomaly. Don’t pay running backs, sure. But give Derrick Henry whatever he wants.