The Baltimore Ravens entered their playoff game against the Tennessee Titans last year as a huge favorite, but Derrick Henry clearly was not intimidated. The star running back’s dominant performance was the primary reason the Titans pulled off an upset, and Ray Lewis is urging his former team to keep that in mind heading into 2020.
Lewis said on “The Lounge Podcast” recently that he would be dedicating his offseason to stopping Henry if he were still a linebacker with the Ravens.
“If I’m anybody that’s playing linebacker right now, I’m saying, ‘Listen here man, Derrick Henry got to deal with me,’” Lewis said, as transcribed by Mark Inabinett of AL.com. “That’s a personal thing for me. I don’t like the way it went down, and I got to see him, so I’m going to dedicate this whole offseason to the person that ended my dreams.”
Henry gutted Baltimore’s defense in the divisional round last year, rushing for 195 yards on 30 carries in the Titans’ 28-12 win. The Ravens had Super Bowl aspirations after Lamar Jackson’s MVP season, but their inability to stop the run killed them. Lewis said his Ravens teams dedicated some of their offseasons to stopping Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. He was also motivated by wanting to stop former Titans running back Eddie George.
“I paid attention to Eddie George so much that I realized that my physical side of life and my mental side of life needed to change,” Lewis said. “I had to physically become stronger, I had to mentally become way smarter than I would have ever imagined to deal with an animal like that. That man’s 6-4, 245 pounds.
“I’m telling you, I lived it. I know what’s going on, so somebody’s going to have to get in that weight room because Derrick Henry’s coming downhill again.”
Toughness was certainly an issue for the Ravens in the loss to Tennessee. Their players seemed to have no interest in trying to tackle Henry at certain points, and the running back subtly trolled them over it after the game.
Lewis is right that the Ravens need to physically prepare for a possible rematch against Henry, but changes to their mindset wouldn’t hurt, either.