Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Jul 2005

Start the Music: Bills Finally Send RB Henry to Titans

Travis Henry to Tennessee for a third round pick. Henry should enter training camp as the Titans' #1 running back with Chris Brown injured yet again. Adjust your cheat sheets accordingly.

Posted by: Al Bogdan on 18 Jul 2005

24 comments, Last at 20 Jul 2005, 11:00am by Sophandros


by Adam H. (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2005 - 8:17pm

Profootballtalk purports that the Bills were able to save face and get a 3 banger for Henry only because the Titans were intentionally bid up by the Jags.

by Adam (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2005 - 8:44pm

I just traded for Chris Brown in my keeper league a few weeks ago, basically, RMoss for Holt, Brown and Mewelde Moore. Not feeling as good about it today, but I still don't trust Kerry Collins.

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2005 - 9:02pm

I know this is a little out, but my fantasy team has a very sizeable roster including a practice squad and I've been pondering taking a flyer on Shaud Williams. Magahee has a history of knee injuries and from looking at the Buffalo backs, Williams would get the carries if Willis went down. His DPAR isn't awful, and the Bills did give him some carries at the goal line last year. Anybody got any other thoughts on this newly appointed second stringer?

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2005 - 9:31pm

I think the Titans got an excellent deal...any other year (i.e. one without an unprecedented glut of running backs) would have seen him go for a second rounder. I don't think Henry's great, but the Fins gave up a third for Lamar Gordon a year ago, didn't they?

by andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2005 - 11:31pm

McGahee had better not get hurt...

by DNL (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2005 - 11:46pm

I can't see the Titans using Henry over Brown. But I can't see them using Henry as a backup, either.

Why a team that is rebuilding gave up a pick to go backfield-by-committee is troubling.

by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 3:30am

RE #6 -
Though I'm not ruling it out, why are you jumping to the conclusion that they'll run an RB situation like Philly? Brown gets hurt quite often and wears down easily.

And I don't see how it is "troubling" even if they did go RB-by committee (regardless of their rebuilding mode).

by Jersey (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 9:04am

I have a feeling Henry will be used in almost all short yardage and goaline work, while Brown, if healthy, will see the other work. Chance to be very productive, if you ask me.

I have a feeling Rashard Lee will get spot duty in Buffalo if MaGahee goes down for short periods of time. He is a strong runner with some blocking issues that knocked him out of favor in Dallas, but the Bills should get some production out of him if MaGahee goes down.

by Aaron (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 10:07am

Hello from vacation. If anyone is wondering why my email response time is slow, that's the explanation.

Shaud Williams! I love that guy. Anyone who leads the SEC in rushing has to be good.

Holt is just as good as Moss, Adam, so I wouldn't feel bad about your deal. Wait until you see the numbers in the book comparing Moss on grass and Moss on turf. Our numbers have Holt as the top fantasy receiver this year, Moss I think is fourth or fifth.

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 10:34am

I'm a big Rashard Lee fan. He looks to me like the kind of guy who could be really good if he finds the right situation.

by Soulless Merchant of Fear (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 12:01pm

The talking heads have long agreed that asking for a third-round pick for Henry was a lot. That they got their asking price is remarkable. He's a very good back, but in a buyer's market for backs, a third-rounder is a big payoff.

Henry will probably start for the Titans. Just wait and see. Didn't Chris Brown already get hurt?

by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 12:47pm

Well, if the Miami front office is your Oracle of Delphi when it comes to running back acquisitions...

Henry can't catch the ball. He's recovering from very serious injuries incurred over the last two years (ankle, feet, ribs, broken leg, chest and, most important, knee).

At worst, he's a convicted pedophile (/espn.go.com/nfl/news/2001/1026/1269328.html), or, at best, a man with "questionable judgement."

His stellar play at a highly fungible position made him a second stringer last year for a non-playoff team.

The stat I always loved the most about Henry was that his best runs came when his team was losing by at least 8 points.

Under that? He averages 2.9 ypc! Go get 'em, Champ!

He also doesn't run particularly well on grass or in high temperatures.

Don't worry, I'm sure Tennessee will soon convert to turf and it never gets hot in Dixie anyway, right?

But he's from the SEC, so that's worth at least a third rounder!

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 1:21pm

Carl, Travis Henry was 22 years old and tried to score with a girl he thought was 17 but turned out to be 15. He was convicted of a misdemeanor. He did something stupid and deserved to get in trouble for it, but he's certainly not a "convicted pedophile".

by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 1:57pm

Why a team that is rebuilding gave up a pick to go backfield-by-committee is troubling.

You can consider me one person who is convinced that there is really no good reason to only use one RB on your team. Sucks for fantasy football players.

But why should a team only hand the ball off to one player all game. RBBC seems like a smarter method, especially when you factor in Carl's "James Wilder" theory.

by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 2:07pm


I concede your points about Henry's plea agreement, but there's still enough gray there to warrant a link. She was, ahem, 15 years old; whether she passed as "almost 18," which the probable cause affidavit said she admitted, is another question.

The important point was that Henry knew she was underaged (just not how much underaged), and still sought to have sex with her, which is why charges were brought and why he admitted to them.

It, also, apparently wasn't the first accusation of the sort. Not to say he's R.Kelly, but, well, we need to nip the "character" or "leadership" posts in the bud, now not later.

Therefore, my "at worst/at best" framing.

by KL (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 4:28pm

What % of third rounders work out into solid players? Maybe 1 in 3?

Seems like a low risk move for the Titans, especially given Henry's contract is minimal this year.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 4:39pm

Re 6
The Titans are sure to get compensation picks as they do every year seeing that they never sign free agents and always let their own go. Not sure how many they lost this year, as the ones who were cap casualties do not count and they blur with the rest of the losses.

The Titans have been getting ready to rebuild the last 2 seasons anyway with 13 draft picks in 2004 and 11 picks in 2005.

and also, I go to the University of Alabama so I had the joy of seeing Shaud Williams play. I think he will make a good 3rd down back, but as an everydown back in the NFL I am not sure.

by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 5:03pm

Speaking of former Volunteers, who knew Heath Shuler was a Democrat? NFL locker rooms might be the most conservative institution in America, the one uniting feature of coaches, owners and players.

Click on name for scoop.

by Jim A (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 5:19pm

The stat I always loved the most about Henry was that his best runs came when his team was losing by at least 8 points.

This is pretty much true league-wide. Yards/carry are highest when the offense is far behind and lowest when they have a large lead. Henry is certainly not unique in this regard.

by Brandon (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 5:20pm

I made almost the exact same post about Henry in a trade topic a couple months ago and people jumped all over me, saying the Henry is a "warrior" and a top ten back. I guess a few months and some site cred make a big difference.

Seriously, as a Buffalo fan I couldn't be more elated to have this guy gone. He whined to the media about McGahee, didn't produce a bit when starting last year and is an injury waiting to happen (again). Nice job by Donahoe to hold out for the third rounder.

by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 5:22pm

I know that, Jim. But on my database, Henry's figures really skew, compared to the league median, no matter the year.

He's a classic case of the guy who gets a lot of yards when his team is far behind, but struggles to maintain 2.9 ypc when they aren't getting killed.

I know very well about the junk yards guys get, but Henry is way up there.

by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2005 - 5:59pm

Now you're saying, 'OK, Carl, what is the difference?' To which I say, 'Wait until my season story on RBs publishes and you can see for yourself.'

Since Brandon has mentioned McGahee, I should like to bring in a comparison.

McGahee is one of those rare sorts of rushers who picks up ypc the deeper he goes in the game, regardless of whether his team is ahead or behind.

He runs well in all weather conditions, except brutally cold days (and still runs better than Henry did).

He averages +.5 ypc when his team is ahead or tied compared to when the Bills are down, which is still nearly 1.0 yards higher than TH managed in similar circumstances.

In 4Q play, when his team is down by 4 points or less, Henry runs so well and is such an outlier, it's probably not fair to mention he performs better than any other TB in the NFL (albeit on a very limited number of carries).

On fourth downs, he's great, too (same caveat).

By the way, on First and 10 last year, he averaged 4.7 ypc. Wow!

What happens when teams box six or more players on the DL? He averages 4.8 ypc.

To be fair to Henry, McGahee fumble ratio is higher and he doesn't run particularly well, yet, on third and medium short yardage (say, 3+ yards), but that might have had something to do with his QB, too.

He operates well out of PF, shotgun and I-F sets, but isn't so great rushing out of lone setbacks. He does, however, have much better hands when it comes to catching the ball (averages 10.4 ypr on third downs) and his rushing totals zoom when the OC spreads the field.

Personally, I think the Bills should throw to him more or slot him for more tries down the middle. But that's just me.

by Stiller Fan in Cle (not verified) :: Wed, 07/20/2005 - 2:29am

Just a random comment about McGahee. He's 11th in DPAR, but a rather paltry 1.6% DVOA (24th). Also, while his DVOA & DPAR are higher than their non-adjusted counterparts, I would argue that this is mostly because of Buffalo's 6 games in the AFC east. The back half of their schedule consisted of:

St. Louis
San Fran
The Pittsburgh JV (which also probably skews defense-adjusted stats)

Buffalo trashed most of these teams (2004 schedule). I would argue that McGahee benefitted from running the ball often against these poor defenses. Finally, if you look at his game log from last season, it looks like he was shut down by the better defenses.

Anyway, I guess the point of all this is that McGahee is one of the seemingly infinite backs that can run for 1200-1400 yards against a softer schedule with a fairly quality line.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 07/20/2005 - 11:00am


Re: Shuler. Democrat does not necessarily equal liberal in the South. Ever heard of Yellow Dog Democrats or Dixiecrats?

Shuler probably chose his party affiliation to appease a certain segment of the population.