NASHVILE, Tenn. – Since DeMarco Murray tweaked a hamstring Wednesday, Derrick Henry has worked as the Titans’ lead running back.

And boy does he look like a guy ready, willing and able to handle the load.

Mike Mularkey wasn’t happy with the offense and the line out of Saturday night’s practice at Nissan Stadium. But after a day off, the group returned with a vengeance Monday evening.

Henry got a lot of reps and ran hard, and some of the time he really didn’t need to do a lot because of the holes that were carved out for him.

 

“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m impressed by the way he came in, the way he worked, the way he came in in shape and how he’s running the ball,” tight end Delanie Walker said. “The opportunities he’s getting, he’s taking advantage of them. That’s good to see. We have two running backs who, at any moment, can hurt a defense.”

“DeMarco is a stud. Derrick is a stud. At this point, DeMarco earned that ability to be the starter. But I’m pretty sure DeMarco knows that Derrick is right behind him.”

The Titans expect no drop-off from Murray when his backup plays.

“The offensive line did a great job,” Henry said of Monday night's success. “I told them just do your job and everything will take care of itself. I do my job and read the holes, burst through them and be physical as well.”

Henry is imposingly big.

Last season the 6-foot-3 Heisman Trophy winner was listed at 247. He told me he’s up six pounds and that his body fat is down slightly from a bit over six percent.

“I want fat, you don’t want to be all muscle or you cramp a lot,” he said. “I definitely don’t want to get above eight.”

Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams signed with the Titans as a free agent from Denver. He has now worked in six padded practices against Henry.

“He’s a load.” Williams said. “It’s amazing seeing a guy his size move like that and make the cuts that he makes. It’s unbelievable. Having to hit a guy his size, you’ve got to think eventually it’ll take a toll on you. He’s going to wear you down. Talking about a four-quarter game, you’re talking about a lot of pounding.”

Murray said he’s fine. He warmed up Monday night but didn’t practice. He could return to action Tuesday, but said he’s OK with it if the Titans choose not to play him Saturday evening in the preseason opener against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Whoever is first, we’ll end up seeing more of David Fluellen and Khalfani Muhammad.

The big days for Murray and Henry need to come starting in September.

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