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Will Titans Use Derrick Henry More in 2017?

Posted Feb 23, 2017

Will the Titans use running back Derrick Henry more in 2017?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Mularkey probably knew the question was coming. Since the 2016 NFL Draft, he’s heard it plenty.

Do you anticipate getting Derrick Henry involved more in our offense?

The question was one of 15 submitted by fans prior to Wednesday night’s “Tailgate & Tuxedos” event at the Music City Center. It was greeted with cheers from some of the University of Alabama fans in attendance.  

Mularkey’s answer sounded somewhat familiar.

Derrick is an important part of our offense,’’ Mularkey said of Henry, a Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama who was a second-round pick by the Titans in last year’s draft. “Obviously DeMarco Murray is the guy. He has shown he is the guy and he will continue to be that guy.

“But I will say this: Each week we put a different game plan together. We spend a lot of hours preparing to play the opponent. And Derrick, and as you saw, some games he was more involved than others. And a lot is based on how we are going to attack the opponent. We know (Derrick) is very special. He is going to have a long, great career here and he is going to be a big part of our offense next year, as he was this year.

“I like we have a one-two punch to smash it down peoples’ throats to be honest with you.”

Henry carried the ball 110 times for 490 yards and five touchdowns in 2016. He also caught 13 passes for 137 yards in his rookie season.

Murray led the way with 1,287 yards and nine touchdowns on 293 carries, along with 53 catches for 377 yards and three touchdowns. In his sixth NFL season, Murray earned a trip to the Pro Bowl after leading the AFC in rushing.

Mularkey was also asked about the team’s offense on third-and-short situations.

It’s safe to say the presence of Murray and Henry definitely helped in that area, and it should again in 2017.

“We had 31 short-yardage, third down or fourth down-and-one (opportunities in 2016),” Mularkey said, “and we converted 23 of them, which was eighth in the NFL. That’s compared to being 31st in the NFL in 2015. I think we made substantial improvement.

“And nine of those third-and-ones or fourth-and-ones went for 13 yards or more, including a 50-yard bomb to Kendall Wright to lead the league in explosive plays on short-yardage. So yes, we have addressed short yardage.”