Josh Woodrum caught just about everyone by surprise with his performances in Baltimore's first two preseason games.
He had a perfect passer rating in the preseason opener and followed that up by rushing for two touchdowns last week. Woodrum had Baltimore buzzing, and he did enough that the coaching staff wanted to see what he could do with the starters.
The Ravens decided early this week that they would give Woodrum some time with the first-team offense, and he entered Saturday's game against the Buffalo Bills after three series for Ryan Mallett.
"It was nice to get in there with the ones a little bit, and kind of get in [a] groove with them," Woodrum said.
Woodrum didn't move the offense as well as he had in his first two outings, but he was also up against stiffer competition. He led the second-string offense against Buffalo's starting defense for much of the night, so it was a tough assignment.
Woodrum completed 8-of-13 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. The score was a 16-yard pass to running back Taquan Mizzell, which came after an interception by cornerback Jaylen Hill gave Baltimore the football at the Buffalo 15-yard line in the third quarter.
"Today he did OK," Head Coach John Harbaugh said about Woodrum. "He made a few plays, scrambled and made a few throws. He had a ball or two dropped, so he's progressing well."
In addition to facing a starting defense for the first time, Woodrum also adjusted to working with the first-team offense. The group wasn't totally in sync, which was evident when center Ryan Jensen snapped a ball past Woodrum's shoulder before he was ready and led to a turnover on downs.
"Being a different person, a different voice, a different cadence, whatever it is, there's always going to be some kind of barrier you're going to have to break through," Woodrum said. "I thought once we were able to get through that, we were able to put together a couple of little drives."
Woodrum was in the game for seven series, and the Ravens came up with 10 points with him at the helm. He just missed a touchdown on his opening drive by throwing a pass a step beyond the reach of wide-open speedster Mike Wallace.
The Ravens also dealt with a heavy dose of penalties, which forced drives to stall out or took away some positive plays.
"Our offense played well, except for the penalties in the first half – especially at the end of the first half when Woodrum went in there," Harbaugh said.
Woodrum will get one more chance to show the Ravens coaches, and the rest of the NFL, what he can do. The starters won't play in Thursday's preseason finale against the New Orleans Saints, but Woodrum will be out to show he's deserving of a roster spot.
He likely hasn't done enough to pass Mallett on the depth chart, but the Ravens may consider keeping three quarterbacks on the 53-man squad considering Joe Flacco's back injury. If Woodrum continues to make plays and show sound decision-making like he has this preseason, he could find himself on the roster for the regular season.
"You always want to grow as you go on, whether it's with a practice or with a game or whatever it is – you want to build on it," Woodrum said. "It's kind of what I'm about and always will be. It's putting together good days, whether it's consecutive good games, or consecutive good practices, just stacking* *good days on to each other."