Titans Face Increased Pressure With Extensions For Derrick Henry And Ryan Tannehill

The offseason of the Tennessee Titans mainly surrounded two pieces: quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry. Many wondered what the Titans would do.

Who would sign and could there be someone to leave from this duo? They locked up Ryan Tannehill this offseason to a bigtime deal, so was Henry next?

It didn’t seem like Henry was next in line as the Titans placed the franchise tag on him. However, in the eleventh hour, the Titans and Henry struck a deal. The reigning NFL rushing champion agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal that includes $25.5 million guaranteed.

Now with him and Tannehill back, the Titans have their dynamic duo intact. The next question is: can they take their performances to even newer heights?

The bigger question of this pairing is Tannehill. He was great for the Titans last season after replacing Marcus Mariota, leading to Tennessee becoming one of the hottest teams in the NFL entering the playoffs.

While the performances were great, the Titans saw something against the Chiefs they didn’t want to see. With the running game stymied, Tannehill was not able to make things happen consistently through the air. The result was the Chiefs taking over the game and winning convincingly.

Next season, Tannehill has to prove he can win some games with his arm. After all, the team just gave him a very lucrative deal that will give him at least $91 million guaranteed. If he isn’t able to win games for the Titans with Henry not being potent some games, then the Titans will not have gotten better and could get passed up whenever the season starts.

While Tannehill has certainly done well to make people forget about his Miami days, those that pay attention know that he could easily revert back to that. Only time will tell if that happens.

As far as Derrick Henry, he is the engine of the Titans’ offense. He can run as fast as the smaller backs and yet he is still one of the biggest running backs in the NFL. He showed his value in last year’s playoffs, where he accumulated 446 yards and two touchdowns in three playoffs games. His running has been great for the team but here comes the challenge up next for him: being on the field all the time.

Henry was noticeably absent in the passing game outside of his 75 yard screen pass in week one of the 2019 season versus the Cleveland Browns. For the Titans’ offense to be more dynamic, he has to be involved in the passing game more.

Whether it be screen passes or option routes out of the backfield, Henry with the ball in his hands is dangerous and the more he is on the field, the more dangerous the offense is. After all, he is undeniably the best weapon on the offense.

Henry and Tannehill both got paid and the Titans avoided some criticism by getting the deal done for Henry and not leaving him on the franchise tag this season. Now the pressure has been turned up for both. Can both handle those expectations?

Mike Patton

Nashville, Tennessee

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