Raiders safety Charles Woodson says Oakland would be devastated if franchise left town for a second time


Having covered Charles Woodson since he was drafted in 1998 until his career resurrection in Green Bay in 2006 and his return last year, I’ve come to a couple of realizations:

1) Woodson is the most charismatic athlete I’ve ever covered, not only because of his supreme confidence but because of the way he stands and delivers when things don’t go his way.

2) As a card-carrying skeptic, I’m looking for B.S. in any response. Woodson of course would never completely tell you everything what he thinks – you don’t violate the locker room in that way _ but neither will he follow the company line if it’s beyond the bounds of common sense.

In his 17th season, Woodson doesn’t talk to the media every day, nor should he. But Woodson did talk today, and here were some of the highlights:

On the possibility of the Raiders leaving Oakland

“I think it would be devastating. It’s happened once before and a lot of people are still bitter about that. I think this would be doubling down on that bitterness if they were to leave again. I think it’d be tough for the city of Oakland.”

On the Raiders shaky first-team pass defense vs. Matt Cassel and Matt Stafford:

“We’ve started those games slow and allowed teams to go down the field and put up points. As a defense, there’s something to read into it because we’ve got to be ready to play and not allow big plays or let teams march down the field. There’s a tiny bit of concern as far as that goes. But we feel confident about who we are as a team and what we’re going to be this season. We’re not circling the wagons or anything like that. We’re going to be all right.”

On coach Dennis Allen’s contention that you don’t read too much into a few early poor series by the defense in the preseason:

“You’ve got to read into it a little bit. We started those games slow and allowed teams to go down the field and put up points. As a defense, there’s something to read into it as far as that’s concerned because when we come, we’ve got to be ready to play and not allow big plays or allow a team to march down the field. There’s a tiny bit of concern as far as that goes. But we feel confident about who we are as a team and what we’re going to be during the season. We’re not circling the wagons or anything like that. We’re going to be all right.

“We’ve had some early drives when teams have sored, but it’s not like teams are just knocking us around. We’ve made a couple of mistakes that have allowed teams to score points, but we fe

Were still working. We’re still in training camp. When know we have a long way to go, but when we watch film, you know aht they say, its never as bad as yo think it is or never as good as you thini it s. We ve had some drivesd early in games where people have scored, but it’s not like teams are just knocking us around.”

The return of Tyvon Branch to the secondary:

“It’s been good. It’s great to have him back, just from the standpoint of a guy that missed a large part of last year and him being able to get out and play the game that he loves to play. It’s great to have him out there.”

The transition from being a corner to a true safety and the influence of secondary coach Marcus Robertson:

“I’m playing it different just because the position has been coached a great deal differently to me with guys that have come in, with M-Rob coming in. He’s got me to see the game in a whole different perspective. It’s been great for me to see it from a guy that played his position at a high level. It’s helped my game out tremendously. When I make the statement of playing like a corner … Playing on the outside, when the quarterback looks your way and he loads up to throw the ball, you’re breaking. But when you’re playing in the deep middle and the quarterback loads up to throw, he may not throw. That’s not my play to make anyway. I’ve got to wait for him to either look down field, or if he does throw it, I break and I help out whoever is in coverage. I am seeing the game a lot differently.”

Q: As a high draft pick, people see Khalil Mack go a couple of preseason games without doing much and wonder what’s going on. You were the fourth pick of the draft. Do you talk to him about being in that spotlight?

Not yet. I’ll have chances to talk to him, but it’s still early. As I said before, this is still training camp and he has a lot on his plate, not just from the standpoint of him being a high pick and everybody expecting that ‘wow’ factor out of him, but as far as the plays, knowing the positions and different things they have him doing, there is a lot expected of him in that sense too. You just allow him to grow as a player, as far as coming into camp and getting ready for his first pro season and let him go through a few of the growing pains. This guy is going to be OK, and I think the sky is the limit for him. We’ll have chances to talk throughout the season.”

On what Antonio Smith brings to the defense

I love having that guy around. Not only can he play, but just in the locker room, he is a bright spot. He keeps everybody light. He is a funny dude if you’ve ever been around him. I’m sure you guys have talked to him. He is just a great guy to have around. Watching him on film, he is as quick as anybody coming off that ball. He is a tough player. I can’t wait to see his celebration after a sack once the season comes around.”

Looking forward to playing Green Bay

“I don’t know if I am looking forward to playing against ‘A-Rod’ [Packers QB Aaron Rodgers], but it’ll be fun to go back in that stadium. It’s been awhile since I’ve been on the visitor side going back there. There are still a lot of great friends of mine back in that area. So, it’ll be great to go in and line up out there in front of the Green Bay fans.”

The test the defense will face vs. Aaron Rodgers

“It’s the ultimate test. ‘A-Rod’ is the best quarterback in the league, in my eyes. Their offense has been explosive. I’ve seen it first hand for many years. It’ll be as tough as it gets, so it will be a great test for us going in there.

Thoughts on rookie cornerback TJ Carrie

“I like him. He’s a tough kid. He’s a smart kid. He’s going through the same learning curve as Mack is going through, but he’s a guy that we look at on film and he always seems to be in the right positions. He still has a lot to learn about the game, but as far as where he’s at right now, in my eyes and I’m assuming the coaches’ as well, he’s come along really good.”


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Howard Benner

    The press in general lauded the Raiders selections but I had a different course set. . .won’t go into it here but one thing I can say; Blake Bortles will be the best QB of this draft. . .the kid has it all; a toughness & charisma that his teammates will follow into battle. . .he’s an actual football player playing QB. . .many times in his college career he had to be harnessed back from seeking contact; he is like Big Ben in his physicality but a guy that is 6’5′, weighing 235 who wants to put the hurt on the defense is a rare commodity. . .he also has that Dan Marino pocket awareness & the ability to feint the on rushing defenders out to buy a precious nano second in order to get the ball off. . .

    Yes, I liked the addition of Justin Tuck. . .he should prove a versatile defender (kicks inside on rushing downs) who has been there. . .i wanted the Raiders to draft him out of ND. . .

    I did want to draft Billy Turner from North Dakota State instead of Jackson. . .you’ll see why following his career with the ‘Fins. . ironically that is the player they drafted when then they obtained the Raiders third round pick. . .mean, nasty, physical & great movement skills. . .can pull, go to the second level & take on Dlinemen on one on one. . .Think with a trade down the Raiders could have selected Marvais Bryant of Clemson with the fourth round selection & still drafted Jelly. . .we’ll see about him; been out 11 days with post concussion syndrome. ..back today. . .

  • Leonel Varela

    Bortles has looked very good this preseason but there’s something in the Jaguars that doesn’t make me believe in them, it’s like always when they are about to be good they self destruct some how, must be the ugly uniforms… for me it´s hard to follow every team except for the Raiders (over here only a few games are broadcasted on cable tv), I watch all Raiders games on the internet except the few that are on sunday night or monday night on espn, so it’s hard to keep track of guys that aren’t playing on teams that are constantly on prime time… but I should try to keep track of the guys you mentioned… I like Jelly, hope he gets better soon, we need a guy like him since the good old days of Sam Adams… someone the other team can’t move…

  • Howard Benner

    Yes, seems like during the season there is a game, whether it’s college or pro on every night. . .

    So I do have the advantage of watching a lot of games, plenty of accounts of games, players, et al via the internet. . .

    i do hate the jags unis. . .wish they would cut a deal with Jaguar motocars to use their logo. . .get rid of the teal & go with all gold pants & helmets. . .but Bortles is the real deal. . .he leads by example & isn’t a loud mouth. . .ice water in his veins. . .inspires his teammates to play above their heads. . .has Namath like charisma without the Paparrazi following. . .Johnny football has his entourage without doing anything in the pro game. . .Bortles will put the jags back on the map. . .their HC (Gus Bradley)used to be the Seahawks DC. . .mainly responsible for designing their defensive scheme. . .

  • Leonel Varela

    yeah, I know and like the HC, he has the kind of attitude and approach that DA should have and Bortles looks good but I don’t believe in the Jaguars, they might by cursed, hehehe… but I guess we should wait to see how things unfold… I do like Carr, think he needs to work a lot in his footwork, he trust to much in his arm strength and lose focus of the foot work affecting his accuracy and he need to speed up his decision making in order to avoid getting injured like in the last game, but that’s why he have coaches right…

  • Howard Benner

    every team in the league has a nucleus of players that if added to can contribute to a positive product. . .the Jags do have that collection of young linemen on both sides of the ball. . .they also have good DB’s & some fine LB’s. . .in the image of Gus Bradley. . .Denard Robinson, the young RB who played QB @ Michigan is displaying signs of evolution as an NFL caliber RB. . .Blackmon’s continued controlled substance problems continue to haunt them but they drafted Marquise Lee & Allen Robinson to add to Cecil shorts as developing WR’s. . .they already have Mercedes Lewis, one of the best two way TE’s (maybe one of the only ) in the game. . .

    Carr just gets a bit amped up; like his first throw, missing Leonhards on the seem route against the Lions. . .he just has to calm down a bit (one of Bortles strongest attributes) I keep his poise; keep his form regardless who is beading down on him or he is in a clean pocket. . .part of the evolution process, helped by his coaches. . .