Ravens will tailor offense to Derrick Henry, not vice versa

OWINGS MILLS — With Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens have relied heavily on the run-pass option. With the addition of running back Derrick Henry, offensive coordinator Todd Monken can be more creative, and that could include running out of the pistol formation, shotgun, or having Jacksom play more under center.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team will play to Henry’s strengths.

“I think you always try to build the offense around the players that you have,” Harbaugh said. “What Derrick [Henry] does really exceptionally well is going to be where we’re going to move towards, but we’re versatile. We can go in a lot of different directions.

“That’s what Lamar makes us, is versatile, and I also think what we’ve been doing along those lines fit this guy [Henry] really well. It’s not just his specific talents, because he can run out of any kind of backfield.”

Henry is a versatile player who is ready to embrace the playbook and adapt to Monken’s game plan. Because of his size — 6 feet 3,  247 pounds –Henry has been most effective in getting momentum out of the backfield, taking the ball from a quarterback who is under center and running at defenders at full speed.

Teams could pay the price if they focus solely on stopping Henry because it would open lanes for Jackson, who is one of the best running quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. It’s not a stretch that Henry and Jackson could be among the top 10 or 15 rushers in the league next season.

We have a lot of great guys in the offense, and I just want to be an added piece to this offense to help them do better than they did last year,” Henry said. “And right now, [I’m] just trying to focus on coming and earning respect from my teammates.” 

Henry is a four-time Pro Bowler and the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year. While there are questions about Henry’s durability at age 30, he spends a lot of time in the offseason getting his body in shape and sticks to a strict diet.

When asked about those naysayers, Henry said: “Tell them to keep watching. People are always going to have something to say. They’re always going to have opinions. I’m just here ready to work, ready to get things started, [and] do my best to help this organization.”

Harbaugh is confident that Henry will fit into the culture of the Ravens, which involves practicing hard and being a team player. Harbaugh had a huge smile throughout Henry’s introductory press conference on Thursday.

Both the coach and the player can’t wait to get started.

“I just think the person [and] the guy that loves football – that fits us really well, too,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a tough, physical guy. You play at the high school he played at. You play at the college he played at, [and] where he’s been with Tennessee and the kind of leader he’s been. Everybody you talk to talks about him in terms of a guy who just loves football, is about football and wants to compete, wants to do his best, wants to do everything he can to help the team win.

“That’s what it’s all about here, and I’m most excited probably about that.” 

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