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VOL. 45 | NO. 44 | Friday, October 29, 2021

Yes, Henry is MVP-worthy, but the NFL is a QB league

By Terry McCormick

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Titans running back Derrick Henry leads the NFL in rushing by nearly 300 yards and has 869 yards seven games into the 17-game season. He had 2,027 rushing yards in 2020.

-- Photo By Matt Patterson | Ap

With Derrick Henry’s work Monday Night Football came the type of attention that rarely finds its way to the Tennessee Titans.

And while Henry didn’t follow it up with spectacular numbers against Kansas City (86 yards on 29 carries), there is still the question of whether a running back – and Henry, in particular – can be a legitimate Most Valuable Player candidate.

The odds would seem to be long – literally. Oddsmakers have Henry’s chances improving from 50:1 before the 143-yard, three-touchdown effort against Buffalo to 22:1. Still not great odds, but the best of any non-quarterback in the NFL.

And that is the barrier that Henry fights. Even though he likely means as much or more to the Titans as Lamar Jackson does to Baltimore or maybe even Tom Brady to Tampa Bay, the NFL Most Valuable Player Award has become the NFL Most Valuable Quarterback Award.

Not since LaDainian Tomlinson won the MVP for the Chargers in 2006 has a running back taken it.

There was a time when running backs had had better chances. Before Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander won in 2005 and Marshall Faulk in 2000.

But in more recent times, the award has become about quarterbacks in an increasingly pass-happy league.

There was some joking going around that Henry had boosted MVP credentials by passing to MyCole Pruett for a 5-yard touchdown during the win against Kansas City.

Joking or not, his teammates have his back in that regard.

“I’m always going to say Derrick for MVP,” receiver A.J. Brown says. “He got a throwing touchdown under his belt, a passing touchdown. Yeah, for sure, for sure. You’ve got to account for that.”

“He’s always MVP in our book. We love Derrick to death. He’s the heart and soul of our offense, and everybody knows that in this league,” center Ben Jones adds.

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