Derrick Henry talks Titans, Ryan Tannehill and his mentality

Derrick Henry talked about his Tennessee Titans, Ryan Tannehill and his personal approach to football in the lead-up to Super Bowl 54.

Coming off an explosive season for the Tennessee Titans, star running back Derrick Henry is without question one of the best ground options in the NFL.

It’s no surprise, then, that he’s one of three nominees for the FedEx Ground Player of the Year Award. Joining Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns and Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers, Henry is eligible to be recognized for submitting the top running back performance of the season.

FedEx will be making a $20,000 donation to the USO in the name of the winner, in addition to another $20,000 for the winner of the FedEx Air Player of the Year. The nominees in that category are Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson.

“It is ground, so I feel like I did great on the ground,” Henry told FanSided’s Mark Carman in the lead-up to Super Bowl 54 in Miami. “FedEx is doing a great thing, donating $20,000 to USO on behalf of the Air & Ground winners.”

It’s no surprise Henry finds himself among this year’s nominees, as he rushed for 1,540 yards (most in the NFL) and 16 touchdowns (tied for most in the NFL), earning Pro Bowl honors along the way. It’s not common for teams to run the ball as often as Tennessee did during its run to the AFC Championship, but Henry doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.

“There’s a lot of positive things we can build off of and improve, things that we need to work on, but I felt like as far as us running the ball and doing the things that we did, that’s just the will to want to do it,” he said. “I feel like that’s just being physical. That’s beating the man in front of you. That’s just football. Being a grown man, it’s grown man’s football.”

Part of the Titans’ early-season turnaround came from switching to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Though he was more of a system QB, Tannehill helped the Titans find their identity and filled his role well. His star running back vouched for the job he did this season.

“He did a great job this year,” Henry said. “We were 2-4 when he took over and made the NFC Championship, so that speaks volumes of him as a quarterback leading our team.”

The Titans will have more of a target on their backs than in recent years thanks to their newfound success with the ground game, but Derrick Henry seems more than ready for that challenge.

“Great year, time to get better,” he said. “That’s how I look at it. Time to get better.”

Derrick Henry spoke with FanSided on behalf of FedEx. Fans wanting to vote for the FedEx Air & Ground Players of the Year can do so via a poll on the NFL Twitter page and at NFL.com/FedEx. Voting closes at 3 p.m. ET on Jan. 30, and the winners will be announced at NFL Honors on Saturday.