We finally have a window into why a rookie running back averaging nearly five yards per carry has only been handed the ball more than 10 times in a game once this season
Derrick Henry, the Titans' battering ram, tied a career high with 60 yards against the Bears on Sunday. Mike Mularkey said he's breaking the rookie in by using him in specific circumstances -- a luxury provided by DeMarco Murray and his comeback season in Nashville.
"We get into a four-minute (situation), and we run Derrick," Mularkey said, via ESPN.com. "A little fresher. Some of the things we were running, he runs well."
Per ESPN, Mularkey basically means a portion of time where the Titans are leading with four minutes to go in either half. At that point, the sole focus is burning clock and holding on to the football. Heading into the half, it also gives Murray an extended breather.
"There's been some that we haven't been able to get to that segment like we would like to," Mularkey said. "Obviously, you'd like to be in that every game, but we haven't had that ability. Again, I'm thinking back recently, we've had to come back from games instead of keep a lead."
While it's hard to criticize a coach that has helped transform the typically moribund Titans anyway, the situational usage makes a lot of sense. There's nothing wrong with saving Henry for the future, either.
Heading into the bye, the Titans (6-6) are just a game out of first place heading into a Dec. 11 matchup with the Broncos. Henry has just 70 carries for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Should they win that game, no one will have a problem with that.