As the NFL regular season winds down, one player is on the verge of making a lasting impact in his team’s future. Jeremy McNichols has been exceptional for Boise State this year and will take over as Derrick Henry’s backup next week against Jacksonville. Why should Titans fans be excited about him?
Jeremy McNichols is a running back for the Tennessee Titans. He has been drafted to replace Derrick Henry, who was traded to the New York Jets. However, he will not be able to replicate his success. Read more in detail here: how old is derrick henry.
Following Derrick Henry’s foot injury, Tennessee Titans running back Jeremy McNichols is likely to become one of the most searched names in the NFL.
The Titans beat the Colts 34-31 in overtime to win the game. Despite this, they suffered a big setback after the game when Henry was diagnosed with a catastrophic foot injury. The injury occurred late in the first quarter, but the great running back persevered and finished with just 28 carries for 68 yards.
Henry’s injuries visibly hampered him, and as a consequence, the Titans moved him out of the offense, utilizing him mostly for pass protection or as a decoy. In the triumph, Henry carried for just 2.4 yards per carry.
It was revealed less than 24 hours later that the top running back will need foot surgery and may miss six to 10 weeks.
The Titans have been forced to scramble.
Jeremy McNichols will have to replace Derrick Henry’s enormous shoes in some way.
Tennessee Titans #28 Jeremy McNichols in action against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on October 3, 2021. | Getty Images/Jim McIsaac
The irony of Henry’s injury is that it has far-reaching consequences far beyond Nashville. Fantasy football has swept the globe and is as popular as ever, with many fantasy football managers relying on Henry to win games and tournaments.
The Titans’ reaction to the news will be a significant storyline for the whole NFL.
They’ll almost probably look into a trade before the November 2nd deadline, and there are several free agent alternatives. However, the immediate task of replacing Henry will fall on McNichols, prompting one question in the minds of many NFL fans: Who?
McNichols is a Boise State running back in his fifth season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him in the fifth round of the draft, although he has since moved around the league. Before arriving in Tennessee in 2020, he made stops in San Francisco, Indianapolis, and Jacksonville.
McNichols has 246 yards and a score on 56 carries in two seasons with the Titans. For the Titans in 2021, he’s become more of a pass-catcher, catching 21 receptions for 203 yards and a score while averaging 9.7 yards per reception.
McNichols was a standout player at Boise State University.
In the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Jeremy McNichols #13 of the Boise State Broncos rushes with the ball against the Northern Illinois Huskies | Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
If there’s any optimism for Titans supporters, it’s that McNichols has experience carrying the weight as a running back.
The exception is that he was a terrific running back for Boise State in the Mountain West, not the AFC South. The difference between playing in a non-power five league and being a lead back in the NFL is night and day, but any positive news for Tennessee at this juncture has to be welcomed.
McNichols carried for 3,205 yards and 44 touchdowns in three seasons at Boise State. He was also a terrific pass-catcher for the Broncos, similar to what we’ve seen from him in the NFL. During his time at Boise State, he racked up 1,089 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He entered the NFL with 4,294 all-purpose yards, the majority of which he accumulated during his sophomore and junior seasons.
In 2016, McNichols was a Doak Walker Award semifinalist. The top running back in college football receives this honor.
Anyone attempting to take Henry’s position has already failed before they’ve even begun.
The fact is that even if McNichols reaches deep into his Boise State basket and becomes a lead back in the NFL, he won’t even come close to replacing Henry for the Titans.
Any other rushing back Tennessee attempts to insert into the backfield will face the same fate.
Nobody will be able to take Henry’s position.
Part of this is due to Henry’s importance to the Titans. He’s a dynamic running back with a rare combination of size, speed, and agility. He has the stature of a big, muscular linebacker, but the speed of a wide receiver at 6-foot-3, 247 pounds.
Henry is a one-of-a-kind superstar in a game where top running backs have become more rare.
Because of his exceptional play, Tennessee has made him the centerpiece of their attack. Is it possible to blame the Titans?
So far in 2021, he’s ran 219 times for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns. His running yards make up about 80% of the Titans’ total rushing yards. He has over 100 more rushing attempts than the second most-used running back in the league, Joe Mixon, who has 137.
The Titans’ offense is led by Henry.
While Ryan Tannehill is a strong quarterback and A.J. Brown is a dynamic wide receiver, Henry is the engine that drives Tennessee’s offense. Without him, smart teams will double-team Brown and force Tannehill to beat them, which isn’t a winning combination for the Volunteers.
The Titans are in serious danger because even if McNichols begins running the ball like he’s never ran in the NFL before, he’ll never be able to replace King Henry.
ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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