Ravens OC reveals plan for Derrick Henry ahead of season

Tony Nguyen | Baltimore Ravens
May 26, 2024

When it comes to the Baltimore Ravens this upcoming season, they are looking to bounce back after a relatively disappointing finish in the conference title game as they acquired star running back Derrick Henry. There’s no doubt that in an already explosive offense, adding a player like Henry will be intimidating for any defense, but in terms of the usage, Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken spoke to the media on how much they want to use the 30-year old running back.

“I know this: If [Henry] carries it 300 times, we’re having a helluva year,” Monken said Thursday according to the team’s website. “It means we’re running it a lot. It means we’re up in games. We want him to finish, we want him to be the closer.”

The math seems pretty simple with Henry and Monken’s goal of 300 carries as every time the running back reached that many in a season, it has usually resulted in a stellar year. He has had three seasons with over 300 where the most recent was in 2022 where he had 349 that resulted in 1,538 yards to go along with 13 touchdowns.

Is Henry’s durability an issue for the Ravens?

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) heads off the field after possibly his last game as a Titans player after their game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024.
© Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

In arguably his best season with the Tennessee Titans in 2020, he carried the ball 378 times where he rushed for 2,027 yards and racked in 17 touchdown scores. When Henry gets going, he is easily one of the best players at his position, but with his age, there could be concern of how much he plays as Monken expresses.

“First and foremost, like every player, we want him to make it through the season. It’s a long season – 17 games,” Monken said. “So, we’ll see how that goes. I mean, he’s been so durable.”

While Henry is clearly the No. 1 running back on the team, he does share a room with other productive running backs like Justice Hill and the standout rookie Keaton Mitchell who is still recovering from a ACL tear. While 300 carries for the new Raven can happen, Monken discusses the rotation that will still be in effect for this upcoming season.

“I thought we did a good job last year of rotating the backs. I mean, Gus was powerful, but we split the reps,” Monken said. “Now, we had Keaton, who came on, and we had Justice and those guys, but I still anticipate the same – of using all of our backs [and] trying to put them in the best position to be successful.”

John Harbaugh‘s expectation for Henry with Baltimore

The Ravens have been known to not give a massive workload to one running back as even with last season, the carries were split between Hill, Mitchell, and especially Gus Edwards who is now with the Los Angeles Chargers. However, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh expects Henry to run “for a lot of yards” according to On3.com.

“I think what it’s going to look like is what it looked like in Tennessee: him running for a lot of yards,” Harbaugh said. “Maybe even in some ways we’ll create some opportunities because we’re going to possibly spread the defense out just a little bit more. There won’t be as many eyes on him, maybe not as many helmets directed towards him when he gets the ball, and we’ll be able to create just a little more space for him.”

Lamar Jackson‘s excitement level with new teammate in Henry

Last season with the Titans, which was his eighth season with the franchise, he rushed for 1,167 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 4.2 yards per carry. If there is one player that should be the most excited to play with Henry, it is star quarterback Lamar Jackson who no doubt could be an even be more of an effective runner now that defenses have to worry about someone else.

“I just get the ball and [say], ‘Go, big guy, go.’ I’m cheering like the fans,” Jackson said according to NBC Sports. “I never had to go up against Derrick [Henry] ever, so that’s a plus for me, but it’s great to have him in our backfield,” Jackson said. “[We] have a great line to block for him, and we know what type of player he is, we know the type of defense we have, [we] know what type of skill players we have here. I feel like we’re getting there.”

Henry talks about how move to Baltimore “made sense”

The Ravens are in win-now mode and the signing of Henry further proved it as they were very close last season as arguably being the best team in the league with the No. 1 seed in the AFC. However, they were knocked off by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the conference championship game as Henry said in his introductory press conference that “it made sense” to come to Baltimore.

“I felt like it made sense for me as well. I love their style of play, their culture, and the physicality they can play with as well,” Henry said. “I’ve been going against them for the last couple of years and I’m excited to be in the building to meet everybody, can’t wait to be a part of the team and my new teammates and get adapted to how they do things and help in any way, lead in any way and be the best team I can be.”

Henry explains “no-brainer” decision

He would go into detail why the fit with the Ravens attracted him, but being at his age, there is no doubt he wants to win a championship and there was no better team to go to. Henry would even say that it was a “no-brainer” decision as he was aiming a team that “had a solid foundation.”

“A no-brainer for me. This is where I knew I wanted to be,” Henry said. “I love the style, the physicality they play with on all three phases. I feel like it fits my style of play, as well. It was really a no-brainer. Just trying to figure out the business side of things, glad we were able to get it figured out.”

“I definitely wanted to be somewhere that had a solid foundation,” Henry continued. “This foundation has been set for a very long time. They compete every year and always in the conversation. I wanted to be somewhere where I’m surrounded by great talent, have a great quarterback and great players around him as well.”

In any sense, the Ravens should be feared by any team as they are looking to come back stronger and more hungrier than ever after tasting defeat amidst a 13-4 record and an NFC North division banner.