Will Derrick Henry return to Dominance in 2022?

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NASHVILLE — One of the biggest questions for the Tennessee Titans going forward will be what to expect from running back Derrick Henry after he missed more than half of the 2021 regular season with a broken foot.

There was a sample of Henry’s game after the injury in the Titans’ playoff loss to Cincinnati when he carried 20 times for 62 yards (average 3.1 yards) and a touchdown. But this game alone is probably not much of an indicator for moving forward. Henry hadn’t played since October 31 and was functioning at less than 100%.

So what is the belief for 2022?

Should we automatically expect the former All-Pro to return to King Henry’s prime form in 2019 and 2020 when he averaged 341 carries, 1,784 yards (5.2 yard average) and 17 touchdowns and won consecutive titles?

Or is it more likely that the 28-year-old’s numbers won’t be as great in 2022, potentially due to general wear and tear, as well as the lingering impact of the foot injury?

Judging by some early predictions and betting lines, Henry will come roaring back.

In its annual report NFL Throwing Guide, for example, ESPN tipster Mike Clay sees Henry picking up where he left off – in terms of volume and productivity. He predicts Henry will carry the football 349 times in 2022, rushing for 1,488 yards (second only to Indianapolis’ Jonathan Taylor at 1,570) and scoring 11 rushing touchdowns (second only to Taylor’s 13).

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The game site www.BetOnline.ag sees Henry bouncing as well, as he lists Henry as favorite for NFL Comeback Player of the Year at +550, followed by Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (+700), Saints receiver Michael Thomas (+900), Carolina running back Christian McCaffery (+900) and Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (+1200).

Side note: Two other players with Titans ties are on the shortlist for Returning Player of the Year. Atlanta’s Marcus Mariota is 10th (+1,400) and current Tennessee wide receiver Robert Woods is 15th (+2,500).

BetOnline’s odds on Henry reflect the belief that his return will bring him back to elite status, as the website gives him 6-to-1 odds to lead the NFL in rushing into 2022, behind only Taylor (5-to-1 odds). 1) and ahead of Minnesota. Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb of Cleveland (each at 10-1).

A note of caution Among the spotlight at the start of 2022 comes Rich Hribar of Sharp Football Analysis, who points out that Henry’s yards after contact have dropped in each of the last two seasons and that Henry is the oldest of the best running backs in the league.

Still, Hribar ranks Henry fourth among fantasy end running backs. Never mind that Henry doesn’t offer much in terms of receiving yards.

“The questions for Henry,” writes Hribar, “are how long he can continue and whether last season was inevitable given the huge workload he has endured per game over the past three seasons. “

Only Henry will be able to address these concerns this fall.

But it’s easy to imagine him using the questions as fuel and motivation this offseason, as Henry goes from one impossible practice to the next.

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