<
>

A healthy Danny Woodhead ready to jumpstart Chargers' offense

SAN DIEGO – Asked about a broken right ankle that forced him to miss the majority of the 2014 season, San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead said he’s healthy, and that’s the least of his concerns.

“My main concern, I would say, is the same as it’s always been -- working on routes and the mental aspect of the game,” Woodhead said. “I’m worried about football things. I’m not worried about the leg. I’m worried about what I can do to get better each day.

“I’m excited. It’s nice to be back out here. It’s nice to not be sitting on a couch.”

That’s good news for the Chargers. San Diego’s offense was much more efficient in 2013 with a healthy Woodhead was on the field. That season, Woodhead accounted for 1,034 yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns.

Woodhead was most effective in key situations on offense for the Chargers, creating mismatches in the passing game on third down and in the red zone. Seven of Woodhead’s eight total touchdowns occurred in the red zone in 2013.

Woodhead, 30, suffered the season-ending injury in a Week 3 contest against Buffalo last season. He could lean on similar situation in his past in terms of a long rehabilitation process, as Woodhead suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in 2008 with the New York Jets, spending his rookie season on the injured reserve list.

“Any time you have a season-ending injury, it’s not going to be very much fun to watch the guys playing that you were training with, and that you went through camp with,” Woodhead said. “That’s tough. But that’s what we signed up for. Stuff like that can happen. And I think it was more than anything, how was I going to respond to it. And I’ve tried to respond well.”

While hard to watch from the sideline last season, Woodhead was committed to putting the work in and returning to the field.

“I had a peace about it,” Woodhead said. “And I don’t know why. Maybe it was God saying, ‘Hey, you’re going to be good. Let’s not worry about it.’ So I don’t know if it was necessarily myself telling me, but I knew things were going to be okay. I knew I was going to bounce back. It’s just that you have to go through the journey, the months of just rehabbing and getting back.

“Let’s put it this way: It’s nice to be where I’m at now, and not where I was at in October and November. I’m very happy with where I’m at.”

While several draft analysts project the Chargers taking a running back in the first round with the departure of Ryan Mathews to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, Woodhead believes the trio of Branden Oliver, Donald Brown and himself can get the job done.

“We’re confident in what we can do -- let’s put it that way,” Woodhead said, smiling. “But if that’s something that were going to do is draft a running back, that’s what the decision is, and they think it’s best for the team. Do we have confidence in what we can do? Yes we do.”