Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/Editor, TitansOnline.com
Titans running backs coach Sylvester Croom talked about the return of Derrick Henry and the addition of running back Khalfani Muhammad during the team’s caravan stop Tuesday in Spring Hill.
SPRING HILL, Tenn. — Derrick Henry is back in Nashville, and “he looks great,’’ according to Titans running backs coach Sylvester Croom.
It’s a positive development. Croom is also excited about the team’s newest addition at the position – Cal’s Khalfani Muhammad, taken in the seventh round of the NFL Draft over the weekend.
Croom discussed the running backs during a Titans Caravan stop here today at Kroger. A year ago, DeMarco Murrayled the way with 1,287 yards and nine touchdowns during a Pro Bowl season. Henry added 490 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season with the team.
“It is going to be a good group,’’ Croom said. “They all do different things well.
“We all know what DeMarco can do, and Derrick had a really good rookie year. And the addition of (Muhammad) gives us a change-of-pace kind of guy. He is smaller and quicker and more elusive than any of the other guys that we have, which is nice, because it makes the defense have to do different things. You get used to those big guys, and then you have another guy in there who is quick, and has tremendous speed.”
Croom also praised running back David Fluellen, who has worked on the team’s practice squad last year.
Henry was back at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Monday. During the first two weeks of the team’s voluntary offseason program, the running back was taking classes at the University of Alabama.
“He looks great, is moving well and seems to be in very good shape for this time of the year,” Croom said of Henry. “It’s obvious he’s been doing a whole lot of work in the time he’s been away.
“There is no problem with Derrick. The guy was in school, he is here now, and he is working. So we are moving forward from there.”
Croom said Henry, a Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama, had a solid rookie season while playing behind Murray.
In addition to his 110 carries, Henry also had 13 catches for 137 yards.
“Derrick did what I expected him to do, and more,” Croom said. “I was really surprised and impressed with his ability to catch the football, and run routes. He was very good on protections, and I think from his rookie minicamp to his entire season I don’t think Derrick dropped two balls, in practices or in games, and that is phenomenal for a guy who didn’t catch the football a whole lot in college. And, of course, his running spoke for itself.”
Croom said he’ll continue to encourage Henry, like he’s done since he entered the NFL.
“He just has to be patient,’’ Croom said of Henry. “A lot of times young backs don’t realize … in an offense like ours, we expect to run the ball 30-, 40-plus times a game. And it is extremey difficult for one guy to handle all of that for 16 games. We need two guys the style of running game we do.
“Derrick is very valuable to us, and the two of those guys together make a very good combination.”