One of the Ravens' biggest reasons for hope that their offense will turn things around in the second half is back on the field and feeling good.
Veteran running back Danny Woodhead returned to practice last week. Now, as the team heads into its bye, Woodhead will continue ramping up for his return.
Woodhead is eligible to play in the Ravens' next game on Nov. 19 in Green Bay. He didn't say whether he definitely will, but that's the goal.
"I'm feeling good, but understand there's a process," Woodhead said Wednesday in his first interview since a Week 1 hamstring injury sent him to injured reserve (IR).
Woodhead created a lot of hype around Baltimore this offseason. The veteran free-agent addition was projected to be a big part of the offense and primary chain-mover after the loss of tight end Dennis Pitta.
Then, on the Ravens' first drive of the season, Woodhead flashed that potential with three first-down catches for 33 yards, including a one-hander. The fun didn't last long, as Woodhead went down on the final play of that drive.
"It was a fun first drive. It's just not as long or lengthy as I would have liked," Woodhead said with a laugh. "It is what it is. I'm not looking in the past at that."
Woodhead missed 13 games in 2014 because of a broken fibula. He was done after two games last season because of a torn ACL. This year, he's been on the shelf for nearly nine games.
He played in just one preseason game this season, also because of a hamstring injury, then returned three weeks later to reinjure it.
"It sucks, but that could happen to anyone. Freak things happen in this game," Woodhead said. "If you're going to sit and sulk about things, how beneficial is that? … I feel like in the healing process and rehab process, if you're upbeat, it's going to help."
Woodhead said the last thing he was thinking when he suffered the hamstring injury in Cincinnati was that he would be out for an extended period of time.
"During the game, you're like, 'That kind of hurt. I'm probably not playing the rest of the game,'" he said.
The initial reports were that it would knock Woodhead out for four to six weeks, but the Ravens placed him on IR with the intention of giving him plenty of time to heal and bringing him back for a second-half push.
"You do get a lot more time and there's no rushing back [while on IR]," Woodhead said. "You just take the time that you get and do everything you can to be ready."
The Ravens have been eager to get him back. Baltimore's short passing game should be more effective with Woodhead, who can create mismatches, elude tacklers and break tackles to move the chains. He has a knack for finding the needed yardage, which he showed in Cincinnati.
Woodhead said teammates have been frequently asking him when he's coming back. They know he could be a big help.
"I've been watching Woodhead kill for 10 years, since I've been in the league. I used to hate him, honestly, when he was in New England," wide receiver Mike Wallace said. "He's a great player, great guy. He brings a lot of energy every day, so I'm excited about getting him back."
Woodhead isn't one to talk himself up. The Ravens have made due with him out, as Alex Collins, Javorius Allen and others have stepped up.
"I'm not going to be concerned with what I'm in there for or how much I'm in there," Woodhead said. "My thought process has always been to do whatever I can to help the team. I know it's not a fun answer, but that's how I've been raised."