Chiefs preparing for Titans RB Derrick Henry, play-action passing game

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The Kansas City Chiefs will have the tough task of slowing down Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry in Week 7.

The reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week is fresh of a 20 carry, 143-yard and 3 touchdown performance against the Buffalo Bills. He’s on quite the hot streak too, with five consecutive games of over 100 rushing yards. Through six weeks, he leads the NFL in rushing with 783 yards. That’s over 250 yards more than the next closest player.

Chiefs HC Andy Reid is well aware of the challenge that Henry poses, and he took a realistic approach when talking about how his defense will work to contain him.

“He’s a great kid. He’s a good football player,” Reid told reporters. “To think that he’s carrying the ball as much as he is and year after year he’s putting up these numbers, it’s crazy. But he’s a great player. So, are you going to hold him to no yards? No, that’s not what’s going to happen. He’s going to get his yards and then you just have to limit it the best you can. You’ve got to tackle him. He’s a big man, but you’ve got to tackle him, and our guys know that.”

The last time Kansas City faced the Titans and Henry was during the 2019 AFC Championship Game. During that match, the Chiefs held the talented halfback to just 69 yards and one touchdown on 19 attempts. The problem is, he’s not the only member of that offense capable of doing damage, though.

“They’ve got a good offense,” Reid continued. “They base it around 22 (personnel), so they’ve got a great play-action game and it comes off of action to him. So, we’ve got to be ready for all of that.”

With the addition of Julio Jones to a receiver corp that already featured A.J. Brown, the Chiefs need to be extra wary of the Titans’ play-action passing game. When the linebackers hone in on stopping the run, it really opens up the middle of the field for those quick play-action passes. Reid says the only way to counter this is for the defense to really do their homework and stay disciplined.

“You’ve got to study the tape and see if you can’t come up with some kind of indicator,” Reid said. “They do a great job with that, but you’ve got to be able to pure read it and then get yourself back and in position where they’re not attacking the middle of the field because you’re not there since you’re stuck on the line of scrimmage. You’ve got to be disciplined with that. You’ve got to study.”

It’ll certainly be a challenge as the Chiefs will likely be without signal-caller and defensive leader Anthony Hitchens, who is dealing with a nerve injury to his elbow. Kansas City will rely on rookie LB Nick Bolton, second-year LB Willie Gay Jr. and fourth-year LB Ben Niemann to pick up the slack.

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