Derrick Henry doesn't see the 2021 Tennessee Titans offense as needing to challenge or top what the 2020 offense did.
Instead, he sees the hard work ahead to make the coming season successful in its own way.
The addition of Julio Jones at receiver should help to offset the losses of Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith for last year's potent offense. But Henry said it is up to everyone on the offense to simply have the goal of getting better.
“I don't think we're looking at what's the challenge. I just think it's just us trying to be better in everything we do on offense – individually and collectively and just helping each other grow,” Henry said. “We just need to hold each other accountable and do the things we need to do as a team while we're away, and when we get back here, just try and put it all together. It's just working hard. There's always hard work, because it's a grind. We all know that and it takes time and we'll just try to push each other day by day to be the best we can be.”
The Titans offense will be in the hands of Todd Downing, who takes over as offensive coordinator after Arthur Smith became the Atlanta Falcons head coach after two successful years in Tennessee as OC.
“I've been with Todd since 2019, and it's the same thing like when Art took over as offensive coordinator before. We're eager to see what we can do all together,” Henry said.
For his part, Downing has plenty of pieces to work with in addition to Henry. There is Jones and, of course, A.J. Brown and quarterback Ryan Tannehill as the featured pieces of the puzzle but there are also players such as tight end Anthony Firkser and running back Darrynton Evans who should make sizeable contributions as well.
Downing was asked if the Titans have enough footballs to accommodate everyone on this offense.
“I don't look at it quite like having enough footballs to go around. Each week is going to present its own opportunity and challenge against each defense we face,” Downing said. “Each week's going to require something different to play winning football. It's our job to play complementary football and I believe the addition of Julio and the weapons we have on the outside and in the backfield will help us stay balanced and attack in different ways.”
Downing also downplayed talk of putting his own stamp on the Titans offense, saying that he is for whatever puts W's in the win column.
“This is a Tennessee Titans offense. I want this to be the most effective offense in football and win football games. My vision for this offense is that we are a disciplined, high effort, high energy solid football team that we can go out and help our team win football games. The rest of it's going to fall into place. It's going to turn into a week by week thing. It certainly isn't a Todd Downing offense; it's a Tennessee Titans offense,” he said.
The addition of Jones, coupled with Brown, should certainly loosen things up for Henry, who is coming off a 2,000-yard rushing season a year ago running against a lot of eight-man and even at times nine-man boxes..
“I'm glad to have him as a teammate and I'm excited to get to work with him,” Henry said of the addition of his friend and fellow Alabama alum Jones. “He's one of the best receivers in this league and he's very respected by defenses. I don't want to get into all the boxes and all the scenarios, but I think we just want to put it all together while we're here and try to make each other better each and every day.”