When you have written a weekly column for more 11 years, you are bound to be wrong a time or two — maybe a little more than that.
In fact, if a columnist bats about 50% on prognostications, that would be considered the norm.
Let’s see then; quick math says I have written plus or minus 600 articles for The Outlook in my time. I am guessing I am hitting a prediction rate of somewhere around 10% … and I am probably being generous.
However, no prediction I have ever made in the past or will make in the future will be as egregiously, terribly, heinously awry as the one I made when I boldly said to a friend years ago that Derrick Henry would eventually be moved to linebacker.
Yep… I emphatically prophesized the guy who is the all-time leading rusher in high school football nationally, who went on to be Alabama’s all-time leading rusher and who is now the NFL’s leading rusher for the 2019-2020 season would eventually be moved to play defense when he was in Tuscaloosa.
Of course, Henry went on to set the SEC record for rushing yards in a season, win a Heisman Trophy and lead ’Bama to a national championship. So, in short, my proclamation is probably the worst I have ever made — and I have made a career of making terrible proclamations.
I mean, all Henry, who is now with the Tennessee Titans, has done the last three games is be the first NFL running back ever to go over 180 yards in three straight games — all of which were on the road and two of which were in the playoffs against stout squads. He also has four of the top-six single-game rushing outputs this season alone. It’s hard to say there is a better running back in the pro ranks right now than Henry.
However, before I judge myself too harshly, Henry would be an incredible linebacker. He is a monster human being with unbelievable strength and ridiculous speed who seems to thrive on contact. Henry could easily be an all-pro on defense had he chosen that position.
That said, by the logic, Shaquille O’Neal would probably be awesome at changing light bulbs in ceiling fans, but his height was much better served playing basketball. Just because you have the ability to be great at a lot of things doesn’t mean you should conform to expectations.
Henry is an unconventional superstar for sure. He defies the typical running back stereotype. But that is what makes him so much fun to watch.
Your eyes say he is too big to outrun defensive backs, but he does that routinely. Current NFL trends tell you all-purpose scat backs are all the rage, but Henry does all smaller guys can do, only better. History tells you big running backs make big targets who take big (debilitating) hits, but he is much more likely to deliver a devastating blow than to succumb to one.
Henry is simply a unique individual who is playing the game like a faster, larger, modern day Earl Campbell. Too bad it took the Tennessee Titans a few years to realize how talented Henry is or that franchise may have been to the AFC Championship prior to this season.
Now the Titans are fully aware of Henry’s abilities, they may be able to ride his back all the way to the Super Bowl.