Ravens Coach Makes Concerning Comments About Derrick Henry’s Workload

Derrick Henry, Baltimore Ravens
NFL Analysis Network

The Baltimore Ravens signed running back Derrick Henry in free agency in an attempt to provide quarterback Lamar Jackson with some much-needed offensive assistance.

If one thing was clear in the Ravens’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game last January, it was that Jackson needs more weapons.

Of course, it would have been nice for Baltimore to focus on adding another wide receiver for him, but it did sign Henry to a two-year deal.

The Ravens are known for their fierce rushing attack, and Henry should certainly buttress their ground game even further in 2024.

Baltimore offensive coordinator Todd Monken is thrilled to have Henry in tow and is already prepping the halfback for a big workload next season.

“I know this: If [Henry] carries it 300 times, we’re having a hell of a year,” Monken said, via Ryan Mink of the Ravens’ official team 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 question is, would it be a good idea to hand the ball off to Henry 300 times?

Henry is 30 years old, and it’s pretty clear that he is declining.

He has led the NFL in carries four of the last five years, including last season when he had 280 rushing attempts. He ended up totaling 1,167 yards and 12 touchdowns, good for a rather pedestrian average of 4.2 yards per carry.

Baltimore will have to mix in some of its other backs to keep Henry fresh, and it appears that Monken plans on doing just that.

“I thought we did a good job last year of rotating the backs. I mean, Gus (Edwards) was powerful, but we split the reps,” Monken said. “Now, we had Keaton (Mitchell), who came on, and we had Justice (Hill) 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.”

Edwards is no longer with the Ravens, but Mitchell and Hill are still around and will have to play prominent roles to ensure that Henry is healthy and energized later in the season.

Henry is a four-time Pro Bowler, but it is obvious that he is not the same elite rusher from years past. In 2019 and 2020, he led the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in back-to-back campaigns, topping out at 2,027 yards and 17 scores in the latter season.

Baltimore will have to be careful in how it manages Derrick Henry’s touches in 2024.

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