Titans RB Derrick Henry Ready to Run -- and Throw? -- Out of the Wildcat


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As a high school phenom growing up just outside Jacksonville, Titans running back Derrick Henry did it all at Yulee High School.

His expertise was running over defenders, something he did plenty of -- Henry broke a 51-year national high school rushing record with 12,124 yards at Yulee.

Some of that came working out of the Wildcat, which made this past Sunday's twist even more fun. Henry took five direct snaps from center out of the Wildcat against the Texans, and he's prepared to do it again when he travels back home to face the Jaguars.

"It brought back some memories from high school," Henry said on Thursday. "I am glad that we executed it well, and it's a good asset to have. … (On Sunday), people were texting me, calling me, DM'ing me on Instagram. We haven't done that here, so it was something different."

Titans coach Mike Vrabel's won't tip his hand on whether the Titans will use Henry out of the Wildcat again this week.

He mentioned Henry's name, along with a few others, after practice on Wednesday when asked about the team's emergency QB situation.

"I think each week is different," Vrabel said this week. "I think we look at who we have, and how we feel we'll have a chance to win the game and do certain things each week. Some things may show up one week and some things may not. That was something we felt like could help us win the game."

Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur on Thursday credited Vrabel for implementing the Wildcat into the offense.

"Honestly, that's a credit to coach Vrabel," LaFleur said. "He came in and said: 'Hey, I want to try something to help us out, just to keep them off-balance a little bit. It certainly was very effective. … It's a credit to really everybody, to Vrabes, to our staff and players because we installed that on a Saturday and typically you don't do that. We installed it before the walk-through and they picked it up fast. I just can't say enough about Vrabes' insight and our players' abilities to go out and execute it."

Henry, who has 82 rushing yards in two games, kept four of the five direct snaps from the Wildcat, running for a total of 17 yards. On another snap, he flipped the ball to receiver Taywan Taylor, who ran it for an 8-yard gain.

Henry said he's looking forward to returning home and playing.

"It is always fun," he said. "I have to get like a 1,000 tickets for family and friends. It's a division opponent, and they have a great defense. … It is a good challenge for us."

He also said he's not pleased with his overall performance yet. Henry ran for 56 yards on 18 carries against the Texans, one week after being critical of his own play after a loss to the Dolphins.

"I am still not there," Henry said. "I have to get better, better at runs, being more physical, having more explosive runs. I have to hit the hole harder. I am still not there, and this is going to be a physical matchup against these guys, and a bigger test for me."

Henry said he welcomes more Wildcat snaps.

As for whether he's capable of throwing a longer pass out of the Wildcat, Henry smiled.

"Yeah," Henry said with a smile. "I have a little Peyton Manning in me."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Houston Texans in Week 2 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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