By: Hays Carlyon
The image of Tennessee running back Derrick Henry stiff-arming defenders down the sideline on his 99-yard touchdown drive will forever stay with Jaguars fans.
The physically-imposing Henry carried 17 times for 238 yards and four touchdowns in Tennessee’s 30-9 victory over the visiting Jaguars on Thursday. Prior to the game, Henry had not run for more than 58 yards in a game this season.
Now, the Jaguars (4-9) have to brace for another back that thrives on gaining yards after contact. Washington’s Adrian Peterson is having a career resurgence. The Redskins (6-7) have to get Peterson going on Sunday at TIAA Bank Field as they break in new starting quarterback Josh Johnson and try to snap a four-game losing streak.
The 33-year-old Peterson has carried 202 times for 872 yards and seven touchdowns since signing with the Redskins on Aug. 20. Peterson has run for 106 touchdowns in his career.
“We have to make sure we have a good tackling plan and execute it,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “We’ll spend a little bit more time on Wednesday and Thursday working on tackling drills and fits.”
Stopping Peterson will be the key for the Jaguars. Johnson is making his sixth career start and just signed with Washington on Wednesday. He replaced Mark Sanchez in Sunday’s 40-16 loss to the New York Giants. The 32-year-old Johnson had not thrown a pass in the NFL since 2011 prior to Sunday.
“He can move around, extend plays, run the read-option, throws a quick game well, can really fit the ball in well,” Marrone said. “We’ll probably get more information as the week goes on looking back [at the Giants game].”
Jaguars linebackers Telvin Smith and Myles Jack were atrocious against Tennessee after playing their best game of the season in a 6-0 win over Indianapolis on Dec. 2. What happened in Nashville can’t happen again or the Jaguars will be in danger of losing their home finale to a reeling Redskins squad adding to a season of disappointment.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)