Titans coach Mike Vrabel believes Tennessee's running back duo will be a problem for opponents.
The former linebacker refused to tip his hand when asked how he would defend Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis himself.
"I would have rather not tackled Derrick Charles Clay Jersey , and I would have rather not covered Dion" in the open field, said Vrabel, who played 14 years in the NFL.
Vrabel made it clear that how the Titans divvy up the workload between the running backs will depend on how coaches want to attack each opponent. The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner , Henry brings a bruising style while displaying speed in the open field. The 5-foot-8 Lewis is much smaller next to the 6-3 Henry but flits around in open space making defenders miss.
"Man, I thought he was gone that one that he caught, like he was skating," Henry said of his new teammate. "But that's Dion. That's what he does: make people miss. He has quick feet and get him out in space he can be dangerous."
As a first-year head coach, Vrabel and his new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur have a pair of running backs that together could be the franchise's best duo since Chris Johnson and LenDale White combined for 2,001 yards in 2008. That season the Titans started 10-0 and finished with a league-best 13-3 record. The Titans' top two backs in 2009 combined for 2,287 yards with Johnson getting 2,006 himself.
Henry backed up DeMarco Murray the past two seasons, though he led the Titans with 744 yards rushing last year despite starting only two games. He showed off his speed with a 75-yard touchdown run while also taking a pass 66 yards for another TD.
Coming from Alabama where he left as the school's all-time leading rusher K.J. Wright Jersey , Henry also has been very much a team player. Looking at Lewis, Henry said he thinks they can be very good together.
"We're two different styles of back like he's quick, he has good wiggle," Henry said. "He's good out of the backfield catching the ball and I'm downhill physical so I think we complement each other well."
The Titans signed Lewis to a four-year deal in March after seeing the running back up close in their divisional playoff loss to the Patriots. Lewis ran 15 times for 62 yards and caught nine passes for 79 yards helping New England rout the Titans. For his career, Lewis averages 4.8 yards per carry with 10 TDs rushing, and he has five more TDs averaging 8.1 yards per reception.
Lewis showed off just how elusive he can be in last weekend's 30-14 exhibition loss to Tampa Bay. He caught both passes thrown to him, taking one 16 yards. Marcus Mariota said Lewis makes it easy on quarterbacks with his body language and how the running back executes his routes.
"It causes a lot of problems for the defense," Mariota said. "Anytime you can have an advantage, you got to try exploit that as much as you can. Dion provides that for us, and you see once that guy gets the ball in his hands he's tough to tackle. Any which way that we can find to get him the ball is going to be beneficial for us."
The Titans hope this running back tandem provides a boost in both the run and pass game. Tennessee slumped to 15th last season with 109.7 yards rushing and ranked just 23rd averaging 224.4 yards passing per game.
Lewis knows exactly what he can do once he gets the ball in the open field.
"They brought me here to make plays in space and be the player I am, so whenever I get the opportunity to (do) that I just got to show my ability and be dependable," Lewis said.
NOTES: The Titans made some roster moves Javorius Allen Jersey , agreeing to terms with a trio of linebackers in Jeff Knox, Nyles Morgan and Deontae Skinner. They waived LB Brandon Chubb, LB Davond Dale and OL Matt Diaz.
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Eric Thames has a penchant for game-changing home runs this season.
Thames hit a two-run homer that accounted for the game’s only runs as the Milwaukee Brewers slipped past the Minnesota Twins 2-0 on Tuesday. Thames has three home runs in the past six games.
”I’d say that’s a hot streak,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Eight of Thames’ 12 homers have put the Brewers on the board and seven have given his team a lead.
Milwaukee broke through in the fifth against Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi (3-6) when pinch-hitter Nate Orf walked and stole second before Thames lined a homer that just cleared the right-field fence.
”It was a cutter that didn’t get in far enough,” Odorizzi said. ”I just didn’t execute it, plain and simple. I just didn’t get enough break on it. Right pitch, just bad execution and it turns out to be the deciding factor.”
Thames reached base three times in four at-bats. After the game, he credited Milwaukee’s pitching, which held Minnesota to two hits.
”Our bullpen has been the hammer for us,” Thames said. ”They have been the ones to pick us up, but we need to start scoring more, getting guys on base and driving them in and give them breathing room.”
It wasn’t just the bullpen on this day.
Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra (5-5) pitched five shutout innings. He gave up two hits while walking three and striking out eight and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first after giving up a double and two walks.
”Being able to put up a zero up there and not let them score was very big Michael Pierce Jersey ,” Guerra said through team translator Carlos Brizuela. ”Walks are very lethal, especially for a starter.”
Josh Hader pitched a season-high three innings in relief for the Brewers and didn’t allow a hit. Closer Corey Knebel notched his ninth save in 11 attempts by striking out the side in the ninth.
Both starting pitchers held their opponents in check but struggled with high pitch counts. Guerra threw 89 pitches. Odorizzi gave up two runs and four hits in five innings. He walked four and struck out nine but threw 109 pitches.
The Twins fell to 1-7 on their current nine-game road trip.
The Twins became the first team whose first baseman, Joe Mauer, played an entire game and had no putouts or assists since Edwin Encarnacion did it with Toronto against Baltimore on Aug. 25, 2012. This has happened just six other times in the past 20 years and never to the Twins.
”There wasn’t a ground ball today, which is a baseball oddity,” Molitor said. ”I can’t really explain it other than Odorizzi, we know, is a fly ball guy.”
In the ninth, home plate umpire Marty Foster called Jake Cave out on strikes but didn’t raise his arm right away with the signal, prompting an argument from Molitor.
”It looked like, as simply as I can state it Bobby Hebert Jersey , that he wasn’t going to make the call,” Molitor said. ”Jake made the mistake of walking away, and it looked like (Foster) put his arm up after the fact. He said that he had called it right away but that he was choking on his Nicorette mints.”
Twins: Recalled LHP Gabriel Moya from Triple-A Rochester and optioned RHP Zack Littell to Rochester. Littell was the losing pitcher in Monday’s 10-inning game. …2B Brian Dozier didn’t start so he could rest but entered the game in the seventh. ”It’s always tough to sit (Dozier),” Molitor said. ”I think if he had his druthers, he would play 162 games and start them all.”
Brewers: OF Christian Yelich didn’t start for the fifth consecutive game due to lower back tightness but entered in the ninth as a defensive replacement. ..OF Lorenzo Cain (left groin strain) is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday, but Brewers manager Craig Counsell said he likely won’t be in the lineup right away. ”There’s enough caution there that we’ve got to get over the last hurdle,” Counsell said. ”We’re not to 100 percent yet.” … RHP Zach Davies (right shoulder tightness) is dealing with back soreness and stiffness. ”He won’t throw until that’s gone,” Counsell said. ”That’s going to set him back.”
Twins: Jose Berrios (8-6, 3.52 ERA) gets the start in the three-game series finale. Berrios will face the Brewers for the first time in his career.
Brewers: Chase Anderson (6-6, 4.18) has held opponents to a .208 batting average this season.
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