December 1, 2023

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is one of the best in the league and opposing defenses know going against him will not be easy. As New York Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is helping his team prepare to face Henry this week, he shared his thoughts on the running back’s career.

Martindale had one of the highest compliments you can give a running back, comparing Henry to an all-time great.

“He’s like our modern-day Jim Brown, I think. He’s just that much different when he has the ball in his hands, so it’s a challenge every time he touches it,” Martindale said, via the Giants’ website.

Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams agrees, calling Henry, “One of the best backs of all time,” adding, “he’s always the guy people circle and try to prepare for, and he still happens to have 100-plus (yard) rushing games all the time.”

Henry’s consistent performances over the years earned him $2 million raise and the title of highest-paid running back. Martindale still believes the 28-year-old is underpaid.

“There’s a reason why they call Derrick Henry ‘The King’ because he’s on the iron throne, for all you Game of Thrones fans,” Martindale said. “They just gave him a raise; I think he’s the highest-paid running back. And I still don’t think they gave him enough.”

Last season, Henry played just eight games due to a foot injury, but still managed to finish the season as one of the top running backs.

In 2021, he recorded 937 rushing yards, an NFL-best 117.1 rushing yards per game and 10 touchdowns. His resume includes three All-Pro honors (two second team), two Pro Bowl selections, Offensive Player of the Year, NFL rushing yards leader (twice) and NFL rushing touchdowns leader (twice).

He is a serious challenge for defenses and Martindale has experienced that firsthand. When Martindale was with the Baltimore Ravens, he witnessed Henry put up over 100 yards on his defense on multiple occasions.

“Thanks for reminding me,” Martindale joked when asked about his previous meetings against Henry.

Martindale’s approach as he prepares for Henry this time around is simple: stop him from making plays.

“Our No. 1 goal on defense is to stop the run every week – every week. It’s a passing league. Well, you better make them pass. Don’t let them have both,” he said. “So, we’re going to take away the run game and make them throw the ball. Playing a game like this is just going to challenge all the fundamentals and techniques you’ve been working all training camp on stopping this guy.”

The Titans and Giants will kick off the 2022 season at Nissan Stadium on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.

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