The Decline and Fall of Derrick Henry

NFL Offseason – Derrick Henry is toast.

Do not act such as you weren’t already considering it. Do not act such as you’re stunned to listen to it from Soccer Outsiders, the pioneers of the Curse of 370, both.

Henry is 2 years faraway from a 378-carry, 2,027-yard season for the Tennessee Titans that was magnificent to observe however which voided his manufacturing unit guarantee. Henry seemed to be cruising alongside and not using a care about his mileage within the first half of 2021, with 5 100-yard dashing afternoons in his first six video games, earlier than struggling a foot fracture towards the Colts in Week 8. He returned for 20 carries for 62 yards within the playoff loss to the Bengals, which was a far cry from the 195-yard playoff performances of years previous which made Henry rather more than a fantasy soccer legend.

An overused energy runner coming off a serious foot damage? Positive, we’ll take him as a fantasy RB1 (extra on that later), if solely as a result of there aren’t many higher choices. However we’ll cross on Henry as the focus of an offense with Tremendous Bowl aspirations.

Walkthrough is definite that Henry is toast, not due to the damage or a “curse” (and the analysis behind that curse), however due to a Sports activities Information Options metric referred to as Damaged Tackles plus Missed Tackles divided by Makes an attempt. Walkthrough abbreviates that as BMT%, and it is precisely what the label says it’s.

Denver Broncos rookie Javonte Williams led the NFL with a BMT% of 21.7 in 2021. Buffalo Payments working again Devin Singletary was a shocking second at 21.3%. A lot of the working backs who matter hovered within the 15.0% vary: Aaron Jones (17.5%), Alvan Kamara (16.3%), Jonathan Taylor (16.3%), Nick Chubb (15.4%.)

So the place’s Henry? Effectively, listed here are the NFL’s worst damaged/missed sort out charges for 2021 amongst backs with over 150 carries:

Lowest BMT%, 2021
Identify Group BMT%
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 6.8%
Cordarelle Patterson ATL 7.8%
Jamaal Williams DET 8.5%
Chuba Hubbard CAR 8.7%
Myles Gaskin MIA 8.7%
Derrick Henry TEN 9.6%
Saquon Barkley NYG 9.9%
Austin Ekeler KAC 10.7%
Joe Mixon CIN 11.3%
James Robinson JAX 12.2%

Elliott is the albatross Jerry Jones chained across the Cowboys’ neck. (Tony Pollard’s BMT% was a not-so-hot 10.8%, if you’re curious.) Patterson was a enjoyable story for a not-so-fun workforce, however he was not more than an satisfactory rusher. Williams is a veteran RB2 identified extra for humorous quips and locker-room management than truck-stick highlights. Hubbard was a bland rookie pressed into service for a foul workforce. Gaskin is a committee again who performed behind one of many league’s worst strains in 2021; he not often had room to run and did nothing with what he had. Barkley is the muscle automobile the Giants wrecked the second they drove him off the lot.

We see higher working backs on the backside (high, actually) of the listing above, however we additionally see BMT charges climbing properly into the double digits. And it is value noting right here that BMT% is a dashing stat, so Ekeler, Patterson, and others do not get any credit score for juking defenders after receptions. (A scan of the receiving BMT charges for working backs revealed nothing noteworthy concerning the backs that we’re discussing.)

It is not an encouraging signal to see Henry on the identical listing as guys like Elliott and Barkley, plus a bunch of committee backs and randos. However maybe we’re taking a look at some kind of statistical anomaly. Henry is extra prone to break a sort out than make a defender miss, so possibly there’s some counting aberration at work. Maybe Henry at all times posts low BMT charges, and it is no massive deal.

Nope. Listed here are Henry’s profession damaged/missed sort out percentages:

Derrick Henry, Profession BMT%
2017 23.3%
2018 23.7%
2019 21.5%
2020 15.1%
2021 9.6%

Oh expensive. It seems to be like BMT charges may get dragged downward by central tendency when a again’s workload will get extraordinarily excessive. That is sensible for somebody like Henry, who will get loads of carries close to the purpose line (not many alternatives to make defenders miss) and within the fourth quarters of victories (holding each fingers on the ball is the next precedence than breaking a protracted achieve.) Excessive utilization could clarify Henry’s drop in 2020, however he posted the worst fee by far of his profession in 2021, and his charges are in a four-year decline. Moreover his foot damage had little or nothing to do together with his 2021 plummet, as a result of he solely carried a handful of occasions after getting harm within the Colts sport, and his playoff efficiency shouldn’t be counted within the figures above.

To supply a raw-number sense of what these BMT charges imply: Henry broke or eluded 29 tackles in 182 carries in his first eight video games of 2020 and 34 tackles on 151 carries in his first eight video games of 2019. Final 12 months, he broke or eluded simply 21 tackles on 219 makes an attempt earlier than getting harm on the finish of his eighth sport. So we’re speaking about 8-13 misplaced vans and jukes in a half-season, or about one to 1.5 per sport, maybe extra when a rise in carries is factored in. One or two fewer highlights per sport is the distinction between an Offensive Participant of the Yr candidate and a high-volume plodder.

Simply to verify we weren’t chasing down some high-volatility statistic that has little to do with future efficiency, we combed the Sports activities Information Options knowledge looking for rushers from 2015 to 2021 with 200-plus makes an attempt in a season however a BMT% in Henry’s 2021 neighborhood. Right here is who we discovered:

Lowest BMT%, 200+ Carries, 2015-2021
Identify Group Yr BMT%
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 2021 6.8%
Kenyan Drake ARI 2020 9.2%
Derrick Henry TEN 2021 9.6%
Jordan Howard CHI 2018 9.6%
Frank Gore IND 2016 9.9%
Darren McFadden DAL 2015 10.0%
Lamar Miller HOU 2016 10.1%
Alfred Morris WAS 2015 10.4%
Austin Ekeler LAC 2021 10.7%
Isaiah Crowell CLE 2017 10.7%
Sony Michel NE 2018 10.9%

We usually add columns to charts just like the one above itemizing what occurred to every participant the subsequent season. However c’mon, simply have a look at that listing: it is all rushers on their final legs as featured backs or one-year semi-wonders. It is a scary listing for Henry (and Zeke; Ekeler can safely soften again right into a committee function) to be on.

So what is going to Henry’s first season with a blown piston rod seem like? Todd Gurley’s 2019 season (857 yards, 12 touchdowns) or Zeke final 12 months (1,002 yards, 10 touchdowns) most likely signify the low finish of the projection. Henry goes to get force-fed 20-plus carries per sport, in spite of everything, as a result of the Titans all of a sudden have little else on offense.

Walkthrough snuck a peak on the early KUBIAK projections, and so they’re very encouraging for fantasy avid gamers, partially as a result of we mission properly over 300 carries for Henry. However there is a distinction between a working again who can rack up a dozen touchdowns in your fantasy workforce and one who can reliably produce chunk yardage towards stacked bins for a workforce that was pressured to commerce away its high large receiver on draft day.

The largest yellow flag for Henry and the Titans will not be a damaged sort out share or the Curse of 370 however a receiver corps now spearheaded by rookie Treylon Burks and veteran Robert Woods, a 30-year-old who’s new to the workforce/system and coming off an ACL tear. We rightfully roast the Cowboys for overpaying Zeke and dropping Amari Cooper consequently, however Henry is costing the Titans $15 million in cap area this 12 months, cash that might have been used to maintain A.J. Brown. The Titans could now have caught themselves in a finger lure: Henry’s wage contributed to the lack of Brown, whose absence will make issues tougher for Henry, whose previous mileage could stop him from breaking the tackles he used to interrupt to maintain the Titans offense buzzing.

The Titans did draft an insurance coverage coverage of kinds for Henry: fourth-round choose Hassan Haskins, who was a 270-1,327-20 workhorse for Michigan. Sadly, Haskins’ BMT% of 13.0% ranked twenty ninth amongst rushers with 200-plus carries in 2021 and was properly beneath the charges posted by high prospects Kenneth Walker (29.9%) and Breece Corridor (28.5%.)

So sure, Derrick Henry is toast, although it might take one other 12 months or two for him to crumble into crumbs. And there is a troubling likelihood that the Titans could slowly crumble together with him.

Fast Hitters

Information ‘n’ notes from across the NFL.

Tom Brady to earn $357 million over 10 years as a FOX shade commentator if he ever retires, per stories.
It is your likelihood to spend 4 hours per week with a person who will do something to not spend time together with his spouse.

FOX disputes stories about Brady’s contract.
“Oh please, please cease speaking about how costly and glamorous our future broadcasts can be. We hate the publicity that is producing!”

Giants launch cornerback James Bradbury as a result of they can’t afford to maintain him.
Arctic expedition throws blankets overboard to chop weight to allow them to keep afloat.

Nelson Agholor on who’s coordinating the Patriots offense: “Ask Coach Belichick.”
Ask Coach Belichick is definitely a brand new search engine which solely takes you to lacrosse boxscores, used hoodie dealerships, the College of Tennessee-Chattanooga athletics homepage, a mysterious Twitter burner account referred to as @FckBrdy89867757578, and plenty of self-help web sites about reclaiming previous glory.

Broncos at Rams scheduled for Christmas Day on Nickelodeon.
Christmas in L.A.? Will probably be like watching Russell Wilson attempt to save Nakatomi Tower.

Jim Irsay made a $2-million bid for Kurt Cobain’s guitar at a charity public sale.
That guitar is presently the Colts’ WR3. (However severely: Take a look at the Kicking the Stigma marketing campaign.)

Kayvon Thibodeaux donates $50,000 to Puppies Behind Bars, a service canine charity for first responders, in trade for Graham Gano’s No. 5 jersey.
Headline rewritten for the haters: “Thibodeaux likes puppies and kicker numbers, clearly not manly sufficient to generate sacks, falls 10 extra spots on draft boards.”

Dolphins social media account posts video of Tua Tagovailoa apparently underthrowing Tyreek Hill.
Take it away, weirdos!

Going to the Mattresses: A Walkthrough Bonus Essay

Mushy or agency? Coiled or foam? Cooling, heating, or air frying? Facet-sleeper, belly-sleeper, back-sleeper, or toss-and-turner (to not be confused with New Orleans Saints legend Toussaint Tyler)?

Mattress purchasing is difficult, and a bit private.

As a baby, I slept on a coil mattress atop a slab of plywood on a captain’s mattress, and I favored it, got-dangit. Once I was a newlywed, mattresses got here in gentle or agency, simply as beer got here in “common” and “lite,” espresso in “common” and “decaf.” These weren’t the nice ol’ days, thoughts you, as a result of most beer tasted prefer it got here from a specimen jar and occasional tasted like sizzling water combined with topsoil, however the two styles of mattresses felt satisfactory to most individuals’s wants.

When when my spouse and I started mattress-shopping as a part of our transition from parents-of-children to parents-of-young-adults, nonetheless, we found a dizzying (actually, for this vertigo sufferer) number of decisions to climb onto and off of, in a value vary from “gosh, that is relatively steep,” to “what number of cylinders and horsepower has it received?”

And oh, the questions. Do you snore? (Buzzsaws get jealous of my quantity and treble.) Have again issues? (I am an chubby middle-aged sportswriter, so duh.) Sleep with a 70-pound pitbull wedged between you and your partner? (What rational particular person would not?) Most well-liked sexual place? (Agency.) Awake with a sense of impending dread? (It is America within the 2020s, so duh.) The native Mattress Consortium has a method good in your wants. It solely prices 4 thousand {dollars}.

4 thousand {dollars}? For that value, it higher Inception Mary Tyler Moore circa 1962 into my goals, stimulate erogenous zones I do not know I’ve, and liposuction my waistline whereas I snooze.

However wait, there’s extra! The mattress salesman—this fellow was certainly informative and useful, and he by no means took his upsale efforts past second gear—demonstrated an adjustable mattress for us.

The primary particular person in my life to personal an adjustable mattress was my Nice Aunt Millie, who bought a kind of as-seen-on-TV fashions within the mid-’70s. Millie was a inventory character for a coming-of-age memoir. She stole ketchup and butter packets from each diner she set foot in and spent her life sure that professional wrestling was actual. She believed that fish needs to be given away without cost in supermarkets as a result of the fishermen did not pay something to catch them. That mattress was most likely value greater than the Fairview rowhouse she lived in. She let me take it for a spin as soon as once I was a tyke, and I believed I had gone straight to Disney World.

So the salesperson pushed a button, my head tilted upward, and all of a sudden I used to be 7 years previous, ingesting chocolate milk and watching Hollywood Squares on my aunt’s black-and-white tv. One other faucet and my knees have been suspended above my torso, easing the pressure on my poor cholesterol-saturated coronary heart. Consolation sorcery! I virtually begged him to maintain going till I used to be nothing greater than the sliced lamb in a pita pocket, however there have been insurance coverage points involving probably snapping the backbone of a buyer.

All of a sudden, I used to be Trent Baalke on the primary day of free company. I’d pay any sum of money to attain, with the assistance of an expensive motorized mattress body, contortions which might solely be completed in my previous with three pillows and 30 seconds of changes.

Ultimately, I shrewdly haggled my means down from the $4,000 mattress to one thing a household of opossums had been dwelling atop beneath a railroad trestle the day earlier than. My spouse intervened, and we haggled our means again as much as one thing comfy which neither price an excessive amount of nor smelled like Sterno. Nonetheless, my bank card was pleading to not harm it an excessive amount of. Then I noticed that mattresses may very well be financed. Two-digits per thirty days! Till the funds turn out to be my sons’ downside! Why, it is virtually Netflix you possibly can sleep upon!

A two-digit month-to-month fee simply suits my household price range. However then I started including up all of the two-digit funds that creep out of our checking account every month—streaming providers, news-outlet accounts, Stathead, some charities, the exterminator, little cellphone prices I do not perceive and by no means take into consideration, and so forth—all of which “simply match my household price range.” I additionally considered what that price range might seem like by the 2030s.

Any NFL basic supervisor or head of family will inform you that long-range budgeting is brutal. There are issues you possibly can plan for, like a younger quarterback approaching his first extension or kids reaching faculty age. There are stuff you can’t, like a pandemic and its lengthy, incalculable aftermath. There are home windows when you’ve a margin for error: the prime of a Corridor of Fame quarterback, the Bengals-like first flush of competition, the carefree youthful months after you get your first “actual” job. And there are occasions to be frugal: the closing of a Tremendous Bowl window, the second when each kids are approaching faculty, the graying days when retirement begins to really feel actual and the vitality for a do-it-yourself dwelling restore (or the freelance facet hustle to pay for that dwelling restore) can not be mustered. And at last there are the issues that matter greater than the rest, like successful a Tremendous Bowl or a superb evening’s sleep.

It is like freakin’ Ecclesiastes-meets-Richie Havens, however with footballs, or mattresses.

Too many false strikes, an excessive amount of wishful considering, too many {dollars} shrugged off till tomorrow and any family might find yourself just like the Atlanta Falcons, whose fancy-shmancy suspended animation chamber of a mattress was simply shipped off to Indianapolis with 30 funds left. Or we may very well be the Saints, working too lengthy and arduous to repay yesterday’s thrills, dancing with monetary catastrophe as a result of we refused to chunk a monetary bullet once we coulda/shoulda. And even when we do not find yourself consuming kitty kibble in a crumbling home whose gutters are used as enjoyable slides for racoons, why commit now to spending $50 per thirty days in 2030 that might sometime be used on a hyperlink to the Marvel Digital Actuality Universe, or Indica of the Month Membership deliveries, or ice cream for grandkids? Who desires to be the workforce that will get outbid for a midtier linebacker or loses a longtime starter as a result of they’re paying off voidable years for forgettable veterans?

Some psychological math revealed that one modest tax return, a small dip into financial savings, and two or three fewer journeys to the tavern might repay that fancy mattress in a few month. My future self will thank me. Aunt Millie lived to be 99 in 2020, spending many years watching sport reveals and daytime tales along with her head elevated.

I now sleep every evening in Win Now mode, with out mortgaging my future. Some issues are simply value splurging on. That is why it pays for soccer groups—and on a regular basis residents, at any time when life and the world make it potential—to maintain themselves in place to splurge.


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