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Ravens OC Todd Monken: If Derrick Henry gets 300 carries in 2024, 'we're having a helluva year'

No NFL running back has more carries than Derrick Henry since 2018, and Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken hopes that trend continues in the running back's first season with Baltimore.

"I know this: If [Henry] carries it 300 times, we're having a helluva year," Monken said Thursday, via 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."

It's a conceivable feat in 2024 as Henry joins a Baltimore club that's boasted the NFL's best rushing attack in three of the past five seasons, including a 2023 campaign where the Ravens topped the NFL in carries (541) while earning the AFC's No. 1 seed.

Remarkably, the Ravens' recent rushing prowess has been accomplished without a bell-cow like Henry. Lamar Jackson's dual-threat capabilities has been a major quality to an effort that's been strategized with a RB-by-committee approach. You'd have to go back to 2010 to find a Ravens RB that's eclipsed over 300 carries in a season.

"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."

Henry, who's led the league in rushing yards (8,268), carries (1,744) and touchdowns (80) since 2018, figures to be up for the workload if Baltimore can successfully establish a fruitful rushing attack early in games and allow it's new bruiser to close the show with a lead, as Monken indicated.

It's what the Ravens seemingly missed at the end of last year's playoff run. They're 17-0 defeat against the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs saw an inconsistent rushing attack that was ditched early on and produced just six attempts by RBs. Even in a close, one-score affair, the lack of confidence rushing the ball forced the issue on Jackson to make plays in any which he could.

Of course, injuries played a role in that last-ditch effort in the AFC title game. J.K. Dobbins' season was over after one game, and Keaton Mitchell's blossoming ended abruptly in Week 15.

The Ravens hope to rectify that by bringing in Henry, which would also take some of the pressure of Jackson. The only question that remains is if the 30-year-old can handle the workload in what will be his ninth NFL season.

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

Henry is the clear-cut RB1 for a Ravens team that won't return Gus Edwards and Dobbins in 2024. Justice Hill figures to be second in line with fifth-round rookie Rasheen Ali behind him on the depth chart to start the season. Mitchell has already been ruled out for a Week 1 return by head coach John Harbaugh, but is on schedule in his recovery from an ACL tear and is expected to return at some point during the season.

Opportunity will be there for Henry to make history in 2024. He's just 498 rushing yards shy of becoming the 32nd player in NFL history to reach the 10,000-yard mark. Should he eclipse that mark along with 10 rushing touchdowns this season, Henry would become the ninth player in NFL history with 10,000-plus career rushing yards and 100-plus career rushing TDs, and join Hall of Famers LaDainian Tomlinson, Emmitt Smith and Jim Brown as the only ones to do so before age 31, according to NFL Research.

When free agency began, Henry to Baltimore was seemingly a match made in heaven and it was no shock when Baltimore officially landed the league's leading active rusher. For a Ravens team looking to get over the hump, Henry could potentially be the one to get them there.

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