Colts defense faces daunting task of taking down Henry

INDIANAPOLIS, -- Darius Leonard, a two-time All-Pro linebacker understands the challenges he faces Sunday.

Colts defense faces daunting task of taking down Henry

INDIANAPOLIS, -- Darius Leonard, a two-time All-Pro linebacker understands the challenges he faces Sunday.

Derrick Henry's strong runs and stiff arm often leave defenders in the dust make it even more difficult for him to deal with. Add to that a new passing threat, and it becomes more challenging to stop a two-time NFL rushing champion.

This is the life Leonard and his Indianapolis Colts defense teammates live twice a year in AFC South.

Leonard stated Thursday that he doesn't feel tired. You can see his offseason work. He is a hard worker, and you admire guys like him because they are prepared for the tough battles when the game arrives. You can see him sometimes banging his head against the goalpost in the fourth quarter. He's still going.

Henry's punishing style of three hours for 6'3" and 247 lbs makes it difficult to run defensively. Indy learned this the hard way.

Although Tennessee's workhorse has allowed the second-fewest 100 yard runners in the league (five) since 2018, the Tennessee team has made it four times in this series.

The Colts aren't changing their methods or goals for taking down Henry, they're just reinforcing that message.

DeForest Buckner, 2020 All-Pro defensive tackle, stated that "we've got to band tackle him. We've got to knock him sideways and backwards." "Obviously, he is a different type guy, different type back, and he is a big back, so we must put emphasis on tackling low."

There are risks associated with making the right choice.

Bobby Okereke, Indy's linebacker, tried to grab Henry's legs during the first meeting of this season. He ended up with a faceful of grass thanks to Henry's stiff arm.

He does more than embarrass his opponents.

Since entering the league in 2018, Leonard has been a prolific turnover machine. This year, he has forced a field goal, recovered a field goal or intercepted a pass in six out of seven Indy games. However, Leonard tried to punch Henry with the ball last month but Henry lowered his shoulders and knocked Leonard in the back.

Buckner stated, "It was a 50-50 decision made by him -- it was whether he wanted to punch the ball out for his team and make a big plays or get embarrassed and run over." Buckner stated that he made the decision to do all he could to make a team play. It didn't work out his way.

Okereke tried a different approach to Henry's stiff arms. Both the results were mixed.

Denico Autry is grateful that he doesn't have to make these decisions anymore. After three years spent with the Colts, he signed in free agency with Tennessee during the offseason. He now watches the Henry show while he waits.

Autry stated, "I'm glad that I don't have anymore to deal with him," but added that he never got me with stiff arms. "If you want to go, you must go. He is your only hope.

He can even turn one missed into a scoring run, which is a great thing.

Henry's greatest asset is his ability to handle a lot of work.

He's now averaging 27.3 yards per game, surpassing 300 carries in each of his previous two seasons. This year, he is on pace to break Larry Johnson's single season record (416 carries). Henry needs 131 yards to complete his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season after just 17 games.

He could surpass Eric Dickerson's single season record of 2,105 yards running and become the league's first player to post consecutive 2,000 yard seasons.

Jonathan Taylor, Colts running back, said that Taylor has been doing this for years. Taylor is a friend and his 579 yards rank second in the NFL. He's built for it. Some men are exceptional, he was built for it."

He has become a master of the most important games and enjoys this biannual contest.

He had 178 yards and three TDs when Tennessee needed to beat Indy at home to win the division title chase. To help the Titans defend their home field against Indy last month, he ran for 113 yards and caught three passes to gain another 31 yards.

He said, "I just go out and play." "Just go out there and finish runs. Take advantage of my opportunities.

Leonard will be ready to take another dose of Henry this week, since the Colts need to win in order for them to stay within one game of the division-leading Titans.

He said, "Just seven-plus to ball, hamstring tackles, squeeze, wrap and roll." It would be easy for everyone in the room to play football if it were that simple. (Cornerback: Kenny Moore II is 160 pounds and 170 pounds. He's got the heart of a lion and will do whatever it takes to get you down.

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