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

  • NYCRaider

    If Mark didnt step in Saffold and his 16 mil contract would be in training camp right now. RM didnt rethink his decision on his own. he was instructed to rethink his decision. big difference. Glad you support his FA CB pickups because they are on track to be one of the worst units in the NFL

  • RaiderCDE

    Usama Young back practicing – has missed a ton of time and coming off IR from last season.. I hope he’s healthy cuz Ross sux

  • Duct tape

    We need play makers on offense. I can see DC being a stud for us in the years to come but he needs some real targets. AND a LT that we can build with for the future as well. Im geting tired of this patchwork line every damn year.

  • Blackholepriest

    What’s necessary due diligence??……lol

  • Steve

    Our O line is put together with duct tape.

  • Mike_Trail

    I did watch it several times on Sunday. What did you see, cause I saw a bang bang play that alot of rec. make in this league. It aint high school..This is the NFL, you want to make the team, you make that catch pure and simple.
    Ill look at it again tonight.

  • Steve

    It’s amazing what those scooters can do these days.

  • Howard Benner

    If the corners are as woeful as they have thus far demonstrated it will force the LB’s to compensate & the same for the safeties.

    if the CB’s can cover the LB’s are freed up to concentrate on their natural drops & play the run; the safeties are allowed to fill for the run & play the back two zones. . .

    This, in my assessment the CB’s are key. . .the CB cannot compensate for the safeties as their prime assignment is pass coverage & defending the perimeter of the defense in the running game. . .. .I think the CB’s are key in allowing the remainder of the back end to play assignment football. . .

  • DutchRaid

    He might actually play this week for the Rams…been injured all offseason/sat out Rams first two preseason games

  • Howard Benner

    My target is seven wins. . .but I think six is a more realistic number. . .

  • R8erEduc8er

    I think if Saffold was completely healthy, Mark doesn’t step in…is my point. But I’d still think it was a bad contract. So before the preseason started, you didn’t like T Brown and Rogers? I liked T Brown on the outside and Rogers in the slot. I’m not using hindsight when I said I like his FA signings. Hayden got hurt and threw it all out of whack. With that said, outside of the blown coverage against Tate, Brown has been decent. Rogers played better week 2.

  • NYCRaider

    RM needs to win 8+ games to get my support in returning. Thats far from a Super Bowl

  • FourMoreYears

    Covering the Niners now.

  • FourMoreYears

    The good news is, I’m with you. The bad news is, nobody else is with us.

  • Myopinion

    Well I think that line of thinking is flawed. Their players are unprepared or just playing like sht. It means nothing. Because last year.
    Ours are and you can already tell we’re doomed.
    Last year is worthless if you’re being fair.
    I agree its easier to have confidence they turn it around. But if you’re really just evaluating on two games there’s no difference.

  • PlunkforHOF

    What’s up Raider fans and others? Sounds like injuries are starting to pile up. Hope things aren’t serious.
    In other news, our film won Best Feature at SF FilmFest.

  • J Hill

    Absolutely expect us to AT LEAST do that.

    We need to beat Alex plugging sorry arsse Smith twice and AT LEAST split with the other 2.

    Geno Smith??? We better come back home 1-0!

  • NYCRaider

    No I have been consistent that the CBs are not good. Rogers is 33 and not good. Brown lost his job in SF and was injured. This smells like Spencer and Bartels all over again. There were alot of good corners out there in FA. In fact last years cbs were a better option and cheaper. But with 60 mil in your pocket , getting an upgrade at the CB position in the pass happy NFL should have been a priority

  • Duct tape

    Congrats man. Forgive my ignace, but what was it about? You produce, direct, act?

  • R8erEduc8er

    Yea, I like Jenkins and Porter better. That continuity would have been good for us also.

  • NYCRaider


  • J Hill

    So it looks like better than 40% that Carr plays this week.

    And I’d say Hayden being out for 6 weeks isn’t in the cards with him running around laterally.

    What on earth are you guys going to complain about now?

  • DutchRaid

    Corners and TEs?

  • BigBenRexor

    We’ve got playmakers on Offense, we just need to prioritize getting them in position to make plays and get the ball in there hands

  • Duct tape

    You kidding? This is a Raiders blog, we need a reason to complain?

  • plunkhead

    Dee Millner is out with a high ankle sprain.
    Shob is gonna destroy the jets

  • J Hill

    DJ Hayden and Leonhardt to the rescue!

  • NYCRaider

    36-11 with 1 tie is a coaching record that builds confidence from a fan base. 8-24 is a record that bleeds concern

  • DutchRaid

    New Post?

  • scooboy

    He is there best corner

  • PlunkforHOF

    Actor. Its a crazy flick filmed entirely here in Northern Nevada, with all local bands on the soundtrack, all local talent and crew. They’re shopping it for a distributor now. Had another movie win an award at Sundance last year, and another coming out for release soon.

  • NYCRaider

    LOL, if only Carr and Hayden where the only issues RM has created. RM may be bad for winning but he’s great for blog material

  • Duct tape

    Keep it coming! That industry runs on momentum, you get it going and good things start happening. Congrats man!

  • Duct tape

    C’mon dogs, with have a decent, nearing over the hill, backfield, a young TE that is showing he can catch, and ZERO WR’s that are capable of being elite. Reece is great and all but he’s hurt or under utilized. The whole board could stand an upgrade. OR a new coach that can prove me wrong and that this staff underachieved

  • Leonel Varela

    mr Davis believed the same as you, always trying to get the best shutdown corners… well, the green bay game is going to tell us which unit it’s the worst, I guess he he he… Rodgers is going to taste every angle of our defense…

  • Howard Benner

    There’s no their there. . .

  • Howard Benner

    Remember the Super Bowl team of 1983? That is where I derived my axiom. . .corners that can dominate the opposing WR’s allow the safeties to roam & the LB’s to concentrate on their assignments. . .

    Then they would need the DE’s to pressure the QB & the DT’s to contain the run. . .

    I think I just had a flashback. . .almost as good as the first time. . .

  • Leonel Varela

    hahaha… well seatle basically used that approach last year, funny how almost everyone used to mock mister Davis saying he was outdated, but many of the things that he believed are now the trend on the league, like big and fast corners…

  • Howard Benner

    I’m as guilty of admonishing Al in his golden years as anyone. . .

    Still, his specialty were DE’s & CB’s. . .proved it when he drafted Nnamdi. . .like Lester Hayes Nnamdi was a college safety. . .

    Remember that Super Bowl team? Within two seasons of further drafting he had Howie Long, Sean Jones & Greg Townsend as DE’s. . .

    back in the day he sure could pick ’em. . .

    Can’t think of another team with a legacy of former CB’s like the Raiders. . .dating all the way back to Kent McCloughan in the AFL days. . .he’s 70! Wow. . .

    Kent Auburn McCloughan (born February 12, 1940) is a former football defensive back. He played cornerback for the American Football League’s Oakland Raiders from 1965 through 1969, and for the National Football League’s Raiders in 1970, but his career ended early because of a devastating knee injury. He had a son named Dave McCloughan who played in the NFL from 1991 to 1994.

    With Willie Brown, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he is considered to be the originator or one of the earliest proficient exponents of Bump and run coverage,
    by which a defensive back impedes progress of the wide receiver by body
    contact, a style that was followed by later Oakland cornerbacks, such
    as Lester Hayes.[1]
    The strategy appeared so successful in the eyes of NFL rule-makers
    that, to help the offense, the rules were changed in 1978, see Penalty (American football),
    so that bump and run coverage is currently allowed only for the first 5
    yards and no farther upfield. Otherwise, a 5-yard penalty and an
    automatic first down for illegal contact are given in favor of the
    A native of Broken Bow, Nebraska, McCloughan established a Nebraska state record (21.4 sec) in the 220 yard dash in 1961, which stood until Kenzo Cotton broke it in 2012.[

  • Leonel Varela

    I think he still had the eye for talent in his last years, specially in the lower rounds, the problem were his 1st rd picks and the coaches that just weren’t very good implementing his ideas… the other problem was he missed so much with the free agents, not like in his best years… guys like seymour, sapp, javon, hall, lots of money wasted on guys that didn’t bring nothing back…

  • Leonel Varela

    by the way nice resume, I think that huff is one of those guys that should had been developed as a corner, he never had the intensity to be a safety…

  • Howard Benner

    I think Al had a burning desire to do things his way & it cluttered up the entire process. . .Al was in a lot of pain in the late years & it probably deteriorated his thought process. . .

    Then there was his stubborness/hubris. . .

    I don’t really think it was a case of the coaches failing to implement his ideas. . .he hired them. . .kinda like Charles Barkley contending he was misquoted; in his own book (ghost writers gone bad?!). . .

  • Ès fantastico día ès be a Raderios fan. ¿No? Ès so.

  • Leonel Varela

    well, he haven’t had the best coaches at least head coaches, there’s a lot of former raiders coaches that now are head coaches or coordinators, anyway I’m not making an excuse for mr Davis, he obviously had a lot to do with how bad he have been for a lot of years now, it’s a shame that we appear to be turning things around he died… that´s one of the reasons I’m not giving Reggie or DA a free pass… we know of better and we should demand better…

  • kuhlest

    this is the last year of “wait and see” with this group of wideouts TEs and DMAC…..
    Latavious Murray might be our answer to a young RB, we have MJD for the next 3, but we will use this year to find out if DMAC or LM will be the younger guy, other wise we can fin RB in FA or later rounds of draft.

    we will need to use a pick in the top 3 rounds next yr on a WR, and LT/RT depending on if Watson can hold down RT or maybe even progress enough to be our next LT (he has the physical abilities)

    Rivera is our TE of the future, need to develop his blocking.

    2 WRs out of the following need to step up and show they are consistent players…..Streeter, Holmes, Moore

  • kuhlest

    against seattle, in seattle…..yuck

  • Howard Benner

    yes, but who was in charge after the last super bowl? After the plunge into the Mariana Trench abyss of doom that accompanied all the bad draft picks, failed free agents & the abysmal seasons? the best were two 8-8 seasons, followed by a 5-11/ With a 2-12 last in the league season, in which the #1 pick in the draft was arguably the worst draft bust in the history of the game?

    I expected much more of the previous regime. . .I’ve been a Raider fan since 1967. . .loyal in every way, shape & form. . .I’m tired of people who can only remember the good. . .that’s revisionist history @ it’s finest. . .

    In my world one is accountable for one’s actions. . .can’t dredge away the past magically & expect the culture to manifest winning just because. . .it is increment steps that will lead to success. . .a few more wins this season. . .attracting better, younger FA’s. . .a nucleus of successful draft picks. . .
    Nobody’s giving anyone a “free pass;” just trying to make sense of what is going on through the “reconstruction” phase while the better NFL teams are interjecting their new pieces into their solid nuclei. . .can’t change the culture by wishing it so. . .

  • Leonel Varela

    as I said I do give mr Davis his due, on the bad and on the good, to me was very obvious that he needed help… everyone was suggesting that he needed a GM, me included… Reggie needed to clean house, and clear the cap space but that shouldn’t be an excuse for not finding some foundation pieces along the way… for example every year he as signed new starters at CB, then he said that you should construct the team through the draft and reward your own and then he let Veldheer and Huston go, the Matt Flyn fiasco… I must confess I’m sort if a new Raider fan, I live in Chile in South America, and I follow the team since the 90’s through the internet so is very good to chat with someone who has follow the team up close for so long… it’s been a pleasure talking Raiders with you…

  • Howard Benner

    Yes, I was upset with the uncermonious way he let Houston & hulk walk. . .his insistence in exacting his so called “pay for play” contracts, bereft of signing bonuses surely raised the ire of the aforementioned former Raiders. . .I would have offered them signing bonuses. . .

    His first “batch” of CB’s had to be replaced; his second? Well, I thought Porter would stick but allegedly Jenkins played himself out of affordability. . .has not been performing well for Tampa bay. . .

    Sims returned & i expect more from him this season. . .hated to see the Saffold fiasco in the wake of the Veldheer mess. . .never wanted Flynn to become a Raider. . .i live in Seattle & his elbow (throwing arm) tendinitis issues were well documented in his brief stay in Seattle. . .never saw why they offered him a contract in the first place. . .the weather in Seattle come late October is not conducive to throwing the ball & Flynn has limited arm strength anyway. . .

    Glad to have been of service. . .I have enjoyed communicating with you as well. . .hopefully a good season awaits, but I pragmatically hold my breath. . .

  • Leonel Varela

    yeah I’m not so sure if I´ll put my faith in DA and company but for once I believe that this last draft was really deep and Reggie had the chance to select some guys that are the kind of guys that we have needed for years like Gabe and Jelly, power guys in both lines, the selection of Carr for me was the best move, for me the kid has the potential to be the best QB of his class, hope this coaching staff don’t ruin him before he is ready… other move that he made that is the first step in the right direction was the signing of Tuck that seems to be the kind of player that’s interested in make us better and be a true leader unlike others like Seymur and Sapp that never really wanted to be Raiders… hope this are the right moves and we can finally start to climb our way back to the top…