After first two-sack performance, Ravens' Willie Henry seeking first three-sack display

Willie Henry’s first sack of his career was not even a full sack. The Ravens defensive tackle had to share it with outside linebacker Terrell Suggs when they took down Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in overtime of an eventual loss on Oct. 15.

So one might imagine how happy the 6-foot-2, 308-pound Henry must’ve been when he sacked the Green Bay Packers’ Brett Hundley twice in last Sunday’s Ravens win without splitting either sack. But the 2016 fourth-round draft pick said his satisfaction was fleeting.


Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon sometimes bristles at the questions he's always faced about his NFL potential. But he's leaned on his powerful self-belief to become a versatile young standout on one of the league's best defenses.

“You want to go out there and do it again because you know how good it feels,” he said Friday. “You now know the feeling of having two sacks. It’s kind of like now I want three sacks in a game. I just want to keep getting better. I’m pretty sure that if I get that third sack in a game, it’s going to feel good, but then I’m going to want to have four sacks in a game. I just want to be better than I was the last week.”

After taking what amounted to a redshirt year in 2016, Henry has emerged as a dependable option along the defensive line. He has had three or more tackles in five games and already ranks third on the team in sacks with 2½. Henry is developing as defensive coordinator Dean Pees anticipated.

“We’ve always thought he was a pretty good player,” Pees said. “We thought all those guys in a rotation with Carl [Davis] and [Chris] Wormley and [Bronson] Kaufusi and all those guys – we’ve been happy with all of them. They all have a certain role, they all have a certain strength, and they all have a certain weakness. Willie has played very, very well. It’s so hard when you talk about expectations because we expect all these guys to be good every time we draft them. I think he’s lived up to his expectations, I’ll say that.”

The return of Mosley and Smith suggests both starters will play against the Houston Texans on Monday night.

It might be difficult to expect the 23-year-old Henry to break into the starting lineup with defensive tackle Brandon Williams, nose tackle Michael Pierce and Davis at defensive end in the unit’s 3-4 alignment. But Henry said that’s not his first priority.

“I want to win. It’s not so much about me playing,” he said. “Right now, the coaches have a great system with keeping guys fresh and knowing when to sub guys in and out, and I give them credit for that. But I would rather see the team win. I’m not a big stats guy. Everybody looks good when you’re winning.”

Recommended on Baltimore Sun