The running back situation for the Tennessee Titans certainly appears to be different than it has been in a number of years.
This season, there appears that there will be a fairly defined split of roles in the backfield between Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis.
When DeMarco Murray was released, the presumption was that Henry would likely receive the lion’s share of the carries, considering that he had already assumed that role late last year and in the postseason when Murray was injured.
But the arrival of Lewis from New England gives the Titans the type of pass-catching weapon in the backfield that they have not had in a long time. And it means that there will likely be game-day packages for each back, and that both will get their fair share of touches.
For fantasy purposes, it is not out of the question that Henry would lead the team in rushing attempts and rushing yards, but that Lewis would probably have more all-purpose yards, between rushing and receiving combined.
The one thing the Titans will have to guard against with this type of attack is not to become too predictable depending upon which back is in the game.
Interestingly, too, after jettisoning Jalston Fowler last year, the Titans remain without a true fullback on the roster, meaning that they will operate mostly in single back sets, but could have Lewis and Henry on the field together in some packages.
Behind Henry and Lewis, the Titans will once again have a battle for the third running back. Incumbent David Fluellen is a favorite of coaches because of his hard work and ability to play special teams. Another candidate for the third running back spot is undrafted rookie Akrum Wadley from Iowa, who has some of the same build and skills as Lewis, a smaller back with some ability to make people miss. The only other running back in camp is another undrafted rookie – Dalvin Dawkins of Colorado State.
With only five running backs on the roster for camp, it is certainly conceivable that four of them would stick around – three on the active roster and a fourth on the practice squad.
With that set up, it is clear that the Titans are moving away from exotic smashmouth and will be expecting whoever lines up at running back to do more than just pound away into the interior of the line on early downs.