Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Ravens Have Major Goal For $16 Million Free Agent Signing

The Baltimore Ravens signed Derrick Henry to be their featured back, and offensive coordinator Todd Monken has high expectations.
Derrick Henry Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens lost several key players in free agency, but they added a major name in star running back Derrick Henry. A second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Alabama product began his career behind DeMarco Murray before breaking out late in the 2018 season. Since then, Henry has established himself as one of the best workhorse backs in the league, recording four Pro Bowl seasons in the past five seasons while leading the league with a staggering 1,529 carries for 7,209 yards and 68 touchdowns over that timeframe.

Henry has produced despite being the clear focal point of the offense. Now, the running back could be even more unstoppable when paired with the electric Lamar Jackson. These two have the potential to form the most unstoppable backfield in decades, and offensive coordinator Todd Monken believes Derrick Henry can power the Ravens to their long-awaited Super Bowl.

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

Ravens Offensive Coordinator Wants Derrick Henry to Get 300 Carries

Recording 300 carries is no easy feat, but if anyone is up for the task, it’s Henry. The running back led the league with 280 carries last year, and that workload came on a 6-11 Titans team that couldn’t sustain drives and often had to throw late in games. The 2024 Ravens should be substantially better than the 2023 Titans, so assuming age doesn’t finally catch up with Derrick Henry, he should have a decent shot of reaching that milestone.

The good news about Monken’s quote is that he seems to understand the difference between correlation and causation. Some coaches and analysts believe in a magical formula that if you give a running back “X” amount of touches, you’re almost guaranteed to win the game. In reality, teams run out the clock at the end of games when they already have the lead, which leads to more carries for the starting running back. For example, teams win 100% of the games where their starting quarterback kneels three or more times, but that is a symptom of winning, not the cause.

Despite all their free agent losses, the Ravens remain one of the NFL’s elite teams. Lamar Jackson is one of the best quarterbacks in the game, the defense is loaded with talent, and John Harbaugh is one of the better head coaches out there. The biggest question is on the offensive line, as Baltimore lost three starters over the past few months. Fortunately, Derrick Henry spent 2023 behind the worst offensive line in football, so he should be able to work his magic with the Ravens.

From a fantasy football standpoint, Derrick Henry will almost certainly be the RB1 if the Ravens give him 300 carries. Last year, he was the RB8 in half-point scoring despite subpar blocking and limited touchdown opportunities. Even though he won’t do too much in the receiving game, he has a great shot of eclipsing that mark and producing another top-five season.

Main Photo: Denny Simmons – USA Today Sports


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