Life as an NFL rookie can be a tough one, especially if you’re going from the top of the football world to the bottom of the food chain. Derrick Henry had one of the greatest seasons a college running could have with the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2015, but that means very little once you put on an NFL uniform. Plenty of great college players don’t make it in the NFL (see Trent Richardson) and after being called out by his coach early in camp, Henry clearly doesn’t want to be one of them.
Henry has started slow in practice for the Tennessee Titans and his head coach Mike Mularkey let him know it.
“I will say this about Derrick: I don’t think he’s a fast starter,” Mularkey said at his post-practice press conference. “I’ve got to talk to him about that tempo period because we’ve got a bunch of guys up front that are creating things for him, and he’s not hitting it like I’d like to see him hit it. Later in the practice — I hope that’s not the case in games. We need him to be full-strength. As soon as we call his number, he needs to hit things better.”
Henry took his coach’s words to heart and went to work, quickly turning things around.
“I definitely need to play faster,” Henry said. “That’s all about training camp — just improving on everything you need to get better at. … Just think faster and player faster. I mean, that’s all it is. Once you get more experience, then you’ll play faster.”
“He started a little faster today,” Mularkey said. “It was interesting. Actually, in the tempo period, he hit it. I talked to him after practice yesterday. Again, I want to make sure I’m not putting guys in position that they’re not ready to go. He said, ‘No, I just didn’t understand it well enough. I do now.’ So I don’t think that will be an issue anymore.”
“I’m just trying to pick things up, trying to start quicker and be faster in everything I do,” Henry told the Tennessean after Friday’s practice. “That’s the way I’m trying to approach it. I had a better day than I did yesterday.”Advertisement
It’s good to see Henry putting in the work, the backfield of Henry and Demarco Murray should be fun to watch in 2016.