The Kansas City Chiefs have yet another challenging opportunity ahead of them on Sunday as they aim to stop one of the best running backs in the NFL in the Tennessee Titans' Derrick Henry.
"He's a great player and you are not going to stop him on every play," said Head Coach Andy Reid. "He's a good one. I know our guys will be fired up for it, and they're going to work their tails off this week."
Henry has a total of 7,552 rushing yards since 2016, which ranks second in the NFL in that time. He has a career average of 4.8 rushing yards per carry – the highest mark among active players with at least 1,500 attempts – and this season alone, Henry has racked up a total of 755 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
There is no doubt that stopping Henry is going to be a challenge for the Chiefs' defense. Henry is one of the best – if not the best – running backs in the league, and he's certainly capable of taking control of games and punishing defenses.
"He's the king of the run game," said Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. "He's a big challenge for us because he's a big back. You can't simulate that in practice. You just have to hope that your foundation of what you've done up until this point allows you to tackle him."
As Spagnuolo indicated, one trait that makes Henry so difficult to stop is his physical stature. Most running backs in the NFL are under six-feet-tall and weigh around 210 pounds, but Henry checks in at six-foot-three and 247 pounds.
With that in mind, the key to stopping a big back like Henry is getting to him with as many defenders as you can. That's because, more often than not, Henry manages to win one-on-one situations. It's why "rally tackling" is more important this week than ever.
"Tackle his legs – he's a big back," said defensive end Carlos Dunlap. "He can't run without his legs, but he's not going to let you just have his legs. [You need] two to three guys or one big guy to welcome the challenge and get it done."
Henry is a skilled back and the Chiefs are in for a big task of stopping him this Sunday. However, this defense has proven time and time again that they are capable of rising to the challenge and getting the job done.
Limiting Henry's impact on this game is also just one step toward beating the Titans this Sunday, but when facing a team as run-heavy as Tennessee, it would go a long way in slowing down the Titans' offense. The Chiefs appear to be looking forward to this challenge, and they're clearly excited to prove that they are a defense capable of stopping anyone or any team – even "the King."