Derrick Henry has the third-most carries in the NFL over the last three seasons and is coming off a year where he was just the third running back to eclipse 300 carries in the past three years. To say Henry had a heavy workload in 2019 (303 carries) would be an understatement.
The Tennessee Titans relied on Henry to carry them throughout the 2019 season. With Henry as the backbone of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith's game plan, will they rely on him to have 300-plus carries again?
Tennessee is taking a "wait-and-see" approach with the franchise-tagged back.
"We'll see how the season evolves for him and see what happens with the other running back spot," Smith said in a conference call with reporters, via the Titans website. "But Derrick has done a great job the last couple of years, especially down the stretch. We'll have to see how it evolves during the season."
Henry led the NFL with 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, averaging 18.9 carries a game last year -- even though he had a whomping 24.7 carries over the final nine games (including postseason). The Titans averaged 30.9 points per game over this stretch, but Henry paid the price having 25-plus carries four times, including three consecutive games recording 30-plus rushing attempts (96 total). Overall, Henry recorded 386 carries in 2020, which ranks amongst the top-25 all-time for rushing attempts in a combined regular and postseason.
The Titans did a good job of limiting Henry in the early portion of the 2019 season, saving his legs for the stretch run. Perhaps they try this strategy again, but Tennessee did provide Henry some insurance with the third-round selection of Darrynton Evans, who rushed for 1,480 yards and 18 touchdowns in his last year at Appalachian State.
"Obviously we are excited about the potential of what Darrynton can bring," Smith said. "He's a very smart player and had a ton of production at App (State). We feel like he can (help us). ... I can give you an answer after we see him practice a few weeks. We'll see what he can handle and how we bring him along. We hope he gives us another element."