Looming Large: Travis Henry

Jess Huffman continues his preview of the top players the Indianapolis Colts will face from each of their 13 unique opponents. In Week 4 they host the Denver Broncos and they'll face a familiar running back in a new uniform.

Mike Shanahan is considered the General Patton of the ground attack.

Shanahan could make DeDe Dorsey look like Barry Sanders. He made Maurice Clarett look like a legitimate fourth-rounder and Mike Bell look like a proven starter. He paved Terrell Davis' way into the Hall of Fame.

Give Shanahan a proven bruiser like Travis Henry and opposing defenses will have serious problems this season. On Sept. 30, when the Broncos ride into Indianapolis, look for them to put their full force behind Henry, attempting to exploit the perceived weakness of the Colts.

Granted, we haven't really seen enough to know if the Colts will have problems stopping the run this year. Undrafted rookie defensive tackle Ed Johnson has stepped into a starting role and performed admirably thus far. The Colts might be just fine on defense.

Oh, and the world might be flat. O.J. might be innocent. And Michael Vick might play football this season.

Travis Henry
Tony Gutierrez, AP
From a realist's perspective, the issues will likely still be there this season and the Broncos will be more than capable of taking advantage of them.

Last season, Denver threw Bell into the starting role and he went wild, rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, averaging 9.1 yards per carry. Prior to that game, Bell had rushed for a grand total for 141 yards and one touchdown on the season. He nearly doubled his career totals in one game.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I wasn't about to give Bell credit for his success last season.

A) It was the system. Shanahan is a genius when it comes to rushing the football.

B) The Colts couldn't stop the run last season. And it didn't take the brain power of Albert Einstein, Bill Gates or, uh, even Katie Couric to figure that out. Everyone knew it.

Henry stumbled upon this phenomenon a couple of times last season, and I'm sure he's looking forward to another opportunity again this year.

In two games, Henry averaged 108 rushing yards against Indianapolis. And that was with the offensive line of the Titans.

Current reports out of Denver suggest Henry is nursing a sprained right knee. But if Bell could dominate behind the Broncos offensive line on two legs last season, I'm guessing Henry could do it on one.

Henry is also in some legal trouble for unpaid debt, but compared to the recent charges against Vick, a few unpaid bills looks like a few minor traffic violations.

Chances are, he'll be suiting up against the Colts in the RCA Dome. And chances are that he'll have a big day.


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