Ray Lewis says the Baltimore Ravens need to get ready. Right now.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer says that Derrick Henry’s performance in last year’s divisional playoff round should serve as motivation for the Baltimore Ravens’ front seven as they prepare for the 2020 season, which includes a Week 11 matchup with Henry and the Tennessee Titans.
“If I’m anybody that’s playing linebacker [for Baltimore] right now, I’m saying, ‘Listen here man, Derrick Henry got to deal with 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,’” Lewis said on The Lounge Podcast. “… It's the process of it. It’s the process of never getting comfortable with losing. So, if you’re never comfortable with losing then always compete at everything.”
Henry rushed for 195 yards on 30 carries in the Titans’ 28-12 victory at Baltimore. The Ravens had the NFL’s fifth-ranked rushing defense during the regular season and had not allowed that many yards to an entire team never mind an individual.
It was the best individual performance in an AFC playoff game since Miami’s Lamar Smith rushed for 209 as a member of the Miami Dolphins in a 2000 playoff game against Indianapolis.
As far as Lewis was concerned, it also created a situation reminiscent of the one he faced when Eddie George was Tennessee’s featured back.
Lewis was the Ravens’ first-round pick in 1996 and was part of a defense that allowed George to rush for 129 and 121 yards, respectively, in consecutive meetings in 1997 and 1998. After that, George never managed more than 71 yards in the regular season (or 91 in the postseason) against the Ravens despite the fact that the franchises were division rivals at the time.
“I paid attention to Eddie George so much,” Lewis said, “that I realized that my physical side of life and my mental side of life needed to change. I had to physically become stronger, I had to mentally become way smarter than I would have ever imagined [in order] 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.”