Every game has different matchups and every season the Tennessee Titans play different opponents in September, but Derrick Henry’s lackluster performances are a constant. In no way does that mean that he isn’t a good running back, but it is a pattern.
Whether it is the heat, the offensive line not having great chemistry, taking preseason games off to make sure he is fresh, or something else, Derrick Henry just isn’t “King” Henry until October at the earliest.
Derrick Henry’s September numbers
Over the course of his NFL career, Henry has played 18 games in September. During that stretch he finished with:
288 attempts, 1,109 yards, 6 TDs
When you break it down, that comes out to 3.85 yards per attempt and a touchdown every three games. That is hardly the player that Tennessee Titans fans clamor for on the goalline.
Even if you assume that the Tennessee Titans offensive line can pull themselves together and get it going, Henry won’t be the primary beneficiary of that change. Instead, the offense will have to flow through players like A.J. Brown and Ryan Tannehill if they are going to put up serious points.
Derrick Henry is fantastic, but you have to take the good with the bad. Tennessee Titans fans need to brace themselves for another year of Henry being taken off the field on 3rd downs because of his pass blocking/catching woes and they will have to weather the storm until his running ability makes up for his lack of utility in the passing game.
That may be discouraging, but on a more positive note, Julio Jones has traditionally done very well in September. Nearly one-third of Julio Jones‘ receiving touchdowns (30%) have come from games in the opening month of the year. If he can bounce back from a…rusty Week 1 then there should be some optimism that he can help lighten the load.
With a team as talented as the Titans are, there are plenty of ways to turn this ship around quickly even if it takes a few weeks to do so. New OC Todd Downing has to admit his many shortcomings and start using play-action much more, but after that happens everything should click into place.
If not, it will be hard for Mike Vrabel to blame the talent on the team again this year instead of holding coaches accountable for mistakes, and some big decisions will need to be made.