The Tennessee Titans offense needed an upgrade at the wide receiver position, and they got it with the signing of DeAndre Hopkins. Not only will new offensive coordinator Tim Kelly have an All-Pro receiver in the mix, but the addition of Hopkins should also benefit running back Derrick Henry.
While a healthy Ryan Tannenhill will help bring some consistency to the Titans’ offense, Henry remains the engine of the offense and Hopkins serving as the primary playmaker in the passing game should make his life easier.
Coming off a fantastic 2022 NFL season, the 29-year-old running back looks to mimic a season in which he rushed for 1,538 yards on 349 attempts. With 13 rushing touchdowns, Henry was once again a force on the ground. With the value of running backs trending downward throughout the NFL, Henry is one running back showing the ground game can be the focus of an offense.
Derrick Henry will have the Tennessee Titans offense rolling again in 2023
As NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks highlights in his naming of the 10 NFL running backs who are the engine for their team’s offense going into the 2023 NFL season, Henry’s overpowering size will continue to win games in Tennessee:
"“The two-time NFL rushing champion is a rare find as a feature runner in a “3 yards and a cloud of dust” offense. Measuring 6-foot-4, 247 pounds, Henry overwhelms defenders with his size, strength and power. With head coach Mike Vrabel committed to a throwback approach that tests the courage of linebackers and defensive backs, Henry’s running style has allowed the Titans to win games without having superior talent around their No. 1 playmaker.”"
But as dominant as Henry still is, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel will not want to wear his star running back out in 2023. Henry is approaching 30 so Tennessee will want to bring down the rushing attempts a bit to keep him fresh. That’s where the addition of Hopkins will really benefit Henry and the offense overall.
With second-year wide receiver Treylon Burks primed to break out in 2023, Tannenhill will have a duo of playmakers to keep opposing defenses from really stacking the box to stop Derrick Henry. This is where Kelly can be creative in both the rushing attack and in the air. The Titans offensive coordinator is very familiar with Hopkins as the two were together with the Houston Texans back in 2019, which was an All-Pro season for DHOP.
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Will the veteran star receiver find rejuvenation in Tennessee?
Well, Hopkins has something to prove and so do the Titans who are a team not getting a lot of buzz going into the 2023 NFL season.
"“I feel like I’ve always had something to prove, and that’s how I play my game,” Hopkins said, via Titans.com. “The decision to come to Nashville, obviously, made a lot of people mad. But I kind of felt at home being here from the get-go, from early on.“Tennessee is a team not many people put on their list, and I think I am not just speaking for myself, but the team as well, people are writing us off.”"
That could be a mistake with the force Derrick Henry is. Adding Hopkins will make the offense less one-dimensional as the Titans will have a 1,000 yard running back and receiver in 2023 will have the Titans’ offense singing a different tune and making some beautiful noise throughout the AFC.