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How to use Danny Woodhead when he returns

The veteran running back returns after missing eight games.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Woodhead, when healthy, is one of the more dangerous pass-catching backs in the NFL. The problem is that he has been banged up for a good chunk of his career. He will return within the coming weeks and Baltimore could get really creative with his usage.

Before getting injured, Woodhead averaged 11.0 yards per catch. He caught three passes for 33 yards in his first game. Baltimore hasn’t seen that type of receiving production out of a running back since Ray Rice, but they do have another receiving back on the team that they could use in tandem with Woodhead.

Currently, running back Javorius Allen is the leading receiver for the Ravens with 39 receptions. Allen has been targeted 50 times this season, showing that quarterback Joe Flacco will use his running backs in the pass game.

In the Slot

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg should be creative with the two backs. One specific thing that he could do is use a singleback set with Allen and Woodhead in the slots. Alex Collins or Terrance West could remain in the backfield.

In this formation, Woodhead and Allen could use their abilities as playmakers in the open field. This formation kind of looks like a flexbone, seen just 30 minutes away in Annapolis. In the slot, Baltimore could use the two in jet sweeps, motions, tosses, et cetera. They obviously won’t run the triple option like the Naval Academy, but the formation with better spacing could work.

In the Backfield

Woodhead could also be used in the backfield as a runner or receiver. Since he is a very quick back and can use his agility as a runner, he could be used in stretch running plays. This way he could maximize his ability as an east-west runner. What he isn’t is a power runner, so no, he shouldn’t run isos or dives.

Although he is diminutive in stature, Woodhead can chip would-be pass rushers and sprint out into a route. He has the ability make a difference as a pass-catching back.

We’ve seen him excel. Just back in 2015, he caught 80 passes for 755 yards and six touchdowns. Any help is a great help for Baltimore’s passing offense is ranked 31st (165.7 yards per game). Woodhead can help aid this immediately.