Titans RB Derrick Henry Aims to "Take It To The Next Level" in Second Half of Season


NASHVILLE – At the season's halfway point, Derrick Henry and the Titans running game hasn't been half bad.

Henry has 581 yards and five touchdowns on the season, which has him on pace for 1,162 yards on the year. If he gets to that total, it would be a career high.

But Henry sees room for improvements as he prepares for Sunday's game at the Carolina Panthers.

A year ago, Henry propelled the Titans to a strong finish in the second half of the season.

"I feel like I can take it to the next level to help this team," Henry said on Thursday. "I always feel like I can do that, to make this run we want to make because it is hard to win in this league.

"We just have to keep working on the things we need to get better at and let it carry on to the game. I think we have to build off the good things we are doing and improve on the things we need to work on."

The Titans are ranked 12th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (98.3), and as a team the Titans are ninth overall in rushing average per carry (3.74). Henry is averaging 3.8 yards per carry, however, which is currently the lowest average of his four-year career. Henry averaged 4.5 yards in 2016, 4.2 ypc in 2017 and 4.9 ypc in 2018, when he ran for a career-high 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Since 2018, Henry is one of only three players (Christian McCaffrey and Todd Gurley) with 1,500-plus rush yards (1,640) and 15 rushing touchdowns (17).

Based off stats, the Titans should have an opportunity to have success on the ground this Sunday. The Panthers are ranked 27th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (135.1), and the team allowed 232 rushing yards this past weekend in a loss to the 49ers. San Francisco running back Tevin Coleman had 105 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries vs. the Panthers.

Henry is more worried about what the Titans need to do, considering the fact the team has so many negative rushes this season. The Panthers are paced by linebacker Luke Kuechly, who has 72 tackles in seven games.

"(Kuechly) has been a great player in this league for a while – he is good at everything and is very instinctive and he is going to be around the ball all the time," Henry said.

"We just have to execute. We have to execute better to avoid the negative plays, and just play better. We just have to focus and if everybody does their job, we'll be fine."

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