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Jaguars vs. Titans: Stopping Derrick Henry is Jacksonville's New No. 1 Priority

The Titans are a run-heavy football team, with Henry leading the charge.
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If the Jaguars want to end their eight-year losing streak in Nashville, it starts and ends with the containment of superstar running back Derrick Henry. 

The sixth-year veteran is again receiving substantial volume due to the Titans' run-oriented approach, leading to yet another campaign with over 1,000 yards rushing and double-digit touchdowns.

With the Titans not hiding the fact that they want to run the ball, it is up to the Jaguars' defense to find ways to negate the run and pressure the offensive line in Week 14.

“Well, I think the first thing is you understand that they want to run the football,” Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said. “They pride themselves on that, they do a great job of running the football, so you see more people in and around the box. You’re seeing corners having to tackle, and that’s what I mean by all eleven making plays and supporting the run. The one thing though, that they’ve been able to do a little bit is in the screen game with him. Being able to come off that with play action and screen to him, he’s been able to get some explosive carries that way. They find enough ways to get him the football other than just handing it to him. That’s why I think, from a defensive standpoint, just understanding what they’re trying to do, study the film, have a great week of practice and preparation, and go play.”

At 6-foot-3 and 247 pounds, tackling Derrick Henry is not an easy proposition. The running back’s size-speed combination combined with his freakish athleticism make him a true matchup nightmare every time he touches the field. For the Jaguars' defense, winning the battle of the trenches is a point of emphasis to control the line of scrimmage.

“I would agree,” Pederson said. “I think games like this, in the trenches as they say, controlling the line of scrimmage becomes important. The ability to tackle Derrick (Titans RB Derrick Henry), he’s a big, physical running back. It’s going to take all eleven defensively to do that. It definitely starts with both sides of the ball, our offensive line controlling their D-line, and of course, our defensive line against their offensive line. The trenches are a big part of this game.”

Most importantly for the Jaguars' defense, they need to put last week’s embarrassing performance behind them and come into the Titans contest mentally prepared and with a proper game plan. This will take a combined effort from both players and the coaching staff.

“I hope so,” Pederson said. “It’s going to be my job this week to make sure everybody’s on point. That’s not who we are last week. I know that’s not who Tennessee is in the game they had last week. Two teams that are probably a little upset coming together. It should be a good football game.”