Tennessee Titans fans probably won’t see Derrick Henry until the regular season opener on Sept. 8 in Cleveland, but the fourth-year running back promises he will be ready to go when the games begin to count.
Henry has missed the entire preseason to this point, suffering a calf injury on the first day of training camp. He has returned to practice, doing limited work through last week, and with the preseason finale at Chicago on Thursday usually not a game where starters see much action, Henry likely will see his first work in the regular season opener.
That said, Coach Mike Vrabel didn’t completely rule out a couple of carries for Henry on Thursday night.
“We’ll see where Derrick’s at. We’ll practice here in a little bit and we’ll see kind of what he’s looked like after a few days of just conditioning and doing individual drills,” Vrabel said. “Again, I thought we made a step in the right direction last week to get him through the majority of practice. He looked good in executing the things that we’re asking him to do. When we played, he just worked out and did pretty much just individual drills and conditioning. So, we’ll see where he’s at today with practice.”
As for what it will take for Henry to get back to speed with no preseason action, he is counting on practice reps to get him going.
“Just getting reps and getting back into the rhythm of things, it just takes practice. With this week and next week I should be fine,” Henry said.
Henry turned into a star last December, rushing for 585 of his 1,059 yards in the final four games of the season for the Titans. This year, Henry is being counted upon to be a focal point of the offense at the outset of the season and for 16 games.
“It comes down to I’ve got to play at a high level. I can’t have that inconsistency that I did last season,” Henry said. “I’ve got to focus on being consistent and being a great player for this team.”
Henry said that sitting out and rehabbing the calf injury was tough on him.
“I was definitely impatient, because I love football and I love practicing. It felt good getting a sweat on and being on the field with my teammates and being with my team instead of not being out there and watching out the window. It was fun being back out there,” Henry said.
David Fluellen was back and able to go through the open portion of practice on Tuesday after suffering a knee injury on Aug. 6.
Harold Landry did work on a side field. He has missed the entire preseason with an undisclosed issue.
Right guard on roster?
Vrabel said Tuesday that with the right guard situation still unsettled that the Titans might be open to the possibility of exploring trade or waiver options to find a starter there. Currently, Kevin Pamphile has been the starter there, but the Titans seem to prefer he be the backup at guard and tackle.
Nate Davis, a rookie third-round pick, has missed time with an undisclosed injury that has taken him out of the competition temporarily.
“Sure. I mean absolutely,” Vrabel said. “That could go on at any position. Jon (Robinson) could say, ‘Hey, we’re going to claim this guy, we’re going to sign this guy,’ there’s a lot of those things that go on Sunday and Monday. We’re a long way off from there, but I think we all realize that that’s part of this business every year is kind of the fluidity of the roster whenever we get down. We haven’t even cut the roster down yet.”