When the Tennessee Titans take the field for their first-round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, they'll do so without their starting running back. The team announced on Thursday that DeMarco Murray will miss the game due to injury.
Derrick Henry will start in Murray's place and will presumably handle the majority of the carries.
Murray is dealing with a Grade-3 MCL tear and has not played or practiced since sustaining the injury against the Rams on December 24. He took a big step backward this season, running for 659 yards and averaging just 3.6 yards per carry after running for 1,287 yards at 4.4 yards a pop last season.
Henry was more effective on a per-carry basis than Murray this year, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. The two had a much more even split of the workload this season, with Murray carrying 184 times to Henry's 176 after he out-carried Henry 293 to 110 a year ago. In his lone game as the sole ball-carrier, Henry ran 28 times for just 51 yards against the Jaguars, and he criticized himself for being "soft."
"I didn't feel like a workhorse back. I kind of felt soft," Henry said. "I am not really happy about that game at all. It hasn't left my mind since the clock hit 0:00. I have been working hard this week and trying to get better than I was last week and looking forward to the game on Saturday. I just feel like I didn't run like myself (vs Jacksonville). I wasn't really happy. I could say other words, but I have to play better."
The Chiefs have a considerably weaker run defense than do the Jaguars, so it's certainly possible that he can run with greater effectiveness this weekend.