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Pat Ricard Is Relishing the Opportunity to Block for Derrick Henry

FB Pat Ricard
FB Pat Ricard

As the offseason rumors swirled that Derrick Henry could become a Raven, fullback Pat Ricard tempered his expectations.

One of the premier running backs since he entered the league, Henry was a free agent for the first time, and Ricard knew there would be a ton of suitors.

So when he found out on X that Henry was coming to Baltimore, it was pure euphoria for Ricard.

"It's a dream come true for anyone that has to block in the run game," Ricard, a four-time Pro Bowler, said. "I've been admiring him ever since he's been in the league. ... Just the things he can do, it's so unique, so special. He's just a freak of a person.

"He's one of those guys that you never think that you can obtain because everyone is going to want him. It's Derrick Henry. Eric [DeCosta] did his magic and got him here."

Right when Henry signed, Ravens fans everywhere dreamt of the possibilities with two giants in the backfield. We got a few glimpses of 'I' formations during Organized Team Activities, where the 305-pound Ricard was blocking for the 247-pound Henry, but with no contact, the full effects are still to be seen.

Of course, defenses must also worry about Lamar Jackson, the most dynamic player in the league and a two-time MVP.

"I can't wait until [training] camp where we can actually hit guys and see how the defense can run through me or around me and then have to wrap [Henry]," Ricard said. "Then once we get into games, I think it's going to be a big problem. And then you add frickin' Lamar into the equation and all of our receivers and other backs, it's going to be very hard to defend."

Ricard and fans aren't the only ones thinking about the possibilities. At Henry's introductory press conference, Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked about the Henry-Ricard pairing.

"I do allow myself to think about all those things, and I do it with a smile on my face. It will be great," Harbaugh said. "Game planning-wise, it's going to give us a lot of options. We have a lot of playmakers, and our offensive line is going to be big and physical and tough and good. We're looking forward to it."

Having overlapped for seven seasons in the NFL, Ricard and Henry have crossed paths over the years. In addition to playing against each other, the two have met at the Pro Bowl a few times where they had some conversations but never got to know each other too well.

Now, Ricard has gotten an extended look.

"He's almost like the create a player in Madden, you make No. 99 overall in all stats. That's who he is in person," Ricard said. "Seeing him out here doing his thing in the weight room, in the meeting room, in the locker room, just being a good teammate.

"On the field, it's just like everything is exactly what everyone always says about him. We're just grateful to have him here. He's just really going to improve our running game and overall offense and team. Very excited to have him."

Last offseason, there were questions about how much playing time Ricard would get in Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken's new scheme. Ricard ended up seeing 39% of the offensive snaps, down from 64% the year before but still a healthy amount.

This year, there are questions about how much the Ravens will use Ricard as a lead blocker now that they have a big, punishing running back in Henry, who has long operated out of single-back formations.

Ricard was often used as an extra in-line blocker on the offensive line last year. He could see a significant amount of that again, and Harbaugh even mentioned his abilities as a receiver.

"It'll evolve kind of the direction it goes, in terms of where the offense goes and what we need, but there's always going to be a requirement for a guy like Pat, if you have a guy like Pat," Harbaugh said.

"The questions last year were pretty much kind of debunked. He played a lot, and I think it's going to be the same thing this year. You've got a good football player; you have to put him out there. He'll be out there playing, and we'll find a lot of great roles for him to do."

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