Titans RB Derrick Henry Draws Praise, Punishes Tacklers



NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** Derrick Henry's mindset is simple when he gets the football in his hands.

He wants to score. But if he's going to be tackled, finish forward, and make the defense work to get you down.

"If one guy brings me down," Henry said on Wednesday, "I'll get pissed."

The second-year Titans running back has been a load during his playing career, even before his Heisman Trophy-winning days at the University of Alabama. He's been a force during the preseason as well. Through two preseason games, Henry is averaging a whopping 3.13 yards after contact, according to Pro Football Focus. Henry scored two touchdowns in last Saturday's preseason game against the Panthers, including a 17-yard touchdown run.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey on Wednesday raved about Henry, who ran for 490 yards and five touchdowns during his rookie season in 2016. Henry has 65 yards on 24 carries in two preseason games.

"He has been phenomenal, just phenomenal," Mularkey said of Henry. "How well he's played, how prepared he is (is impressive). There was a play the other night where we faked it to (Derrick) on a screen -- the one to Jonnu (Smith) down the sideline -- and the guy all the way down the field blocking for Jonnu was Derrick Henry.

"If that doesn't say a lot about who he is and what type of player he is – you are faking away from the play and you end up blocking for the guy catching the ball. That is pretty impressive."

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota praised Henry on Wednesday as well.

"Physically, that guy is special," Mariota of Henry. "He comes to practice, puts in the effort, and puts in the hard work that is needed. And he has made plays in the preseason, even dating back to last year.

"To have a guy like that in the backfield is going to be very important to us as the season goes on. I think he is going to be one of those guys who can make plays."

Titans running back DeMarco Murray is expected to return to the field this week against the Bears, and Mularkey indicated he'll return to his role as the No.1 back.

Henry said he'll keep working. Henry said he already feels like he's in good shape for the season, and he's benefited from the extra workload. Henry has started the first two preseason games for the Titans.

"Like I always say, you always have to prepare like you're the starter, even when you are not," Henry said. "And that is what I have been doing, trying to get better every day."

TitansOnline.com looks back at RB Derrick Henry's rookie season with Titans in 2016. (AP Photos)

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