A running back that runs for 2,000 yards in a single season? Legendary. A running back that runs for 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons? Unprecedented. That’s exactly what Titans RB Derrick Henry will look to do this season. His accomplishments so far and bright future ahead are constantly sparking special conversations.
“You can’t describe this era of football without Derrick Henry. That’s the mark of a Hall of Famer.” — @nateburleson
— GMFB (@gmfb) August 10, 2021
In a league that is now so pass-heavy, Henry continues to dominate year in and year out for Tennessee. He’s eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in three straight seasons with double-digit touchdowns in each. He is absolutely on a Hall of Fame trajectory, and he’s only 27 years old. Some may even say he’s entering his peak as a pro right now.
His 2,027 rushing yards last season was 5th-most in a season in league history. The names above Henry? Eric Dickerson, Adrian Peterson, Barry Sanders, and Jamal Lewis. That’s some ridiculously impressive company.
Can’t forget about the guy a couple of spots behind him at #7, either. Chris Johnson had 2,006 in 2009, but you probably already knew that. He’s not “CJ2K” for no reason.
— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) January 5, 2021
Interestingly enough, no player in the top ten for rushing yards in a season came close to that year’s total the following season. The closest was Barry Sanders, who followed his 2,053-yard season with 1,491 in the next season.
There’s a difference with Derrick Henry, though.
He’s quite literally just built different. No, I’m not referencing a Ford commercial or a cringe-worthy workout apparel brand. It’s just the truth with Henry. He is just physically on a separate level than basically every other dominant running back to come through the NFL.
Derrick Henry is the only player with a 70+ yard run in every season since 2017 👑
The fact that they were against the Jags & Texans makes it even better 😈
— Wes on Broadway (@TitansDraftTape) August 10, 2021
At 6’3″ and 235 pounds, there have been very few running backs near his size to ever do what he is currently doing on a consistent basis. He’d be the first to tell you that he wants to be the first to accomplish the back-to-back 2K feat as well.
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) August 9, 2021
That’s not the only intriguing goal he can shoot for this season. Henry will attempt to be the first player to lead the league in rushing for three straight seasons since Emmitt Smith. There’s another legendary name to add to Henry’s legacy discussion.
The task may get a little bit more difficult with the off-season changes that the Titans made on offense. As you all know, they lost Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith to the Falcons, but they also acquired Wide Receiver Julio Jones from that same Atlanta team.
There’s no doubt Henry will continue to be extremely productive in Todd Downing’s offense, but could the workload change? That is possible. The addition of Jones also gives the passing offense a new sector of explosiveness, so he could see fewer opportunities to rack up yards.
On the other hand, adding one of the best outside options at receiver in league history may open up the field for Henry even more. Defenses will now have to worry about Jones and A.J. Brown on almost every single play. Meanwhile, the bulldozer remains in the backfield for the Titans.
Nonetheless, he’ll be chasing some more historic numbers for this season and many more to come, so there will be no lack of determination in Henry’s game.
Featured Image via USA TODAY-Sports