The Oakland Raiders spent the majority of the offseason trying to upgrade their team. On the defensive side of the ball, Oakland adds a plethora of quality, experienced players. That has brought more optimism and expectations for the Raiders defense in 2014 and safety Charles Woodson sees the benefits.
“I feel good about it. I really do,” Woodson said of the defense. “For me, I like to have a veteran presence. Bringing in guys like [Justin] Tuck, bringing in guys like [LaMarr] Woodley, those are guys that know how to win and know how to play the game of football. As I was just saying, that’s the difference you see out there, especially defensively. They’ve won. They’ve won in this league and they’ve won the big one. Having guys out there like that, you have leaders on the team that guys can follow, and that’s going to be important for us, so I feel really good about it.”
The experience and winning pedigree of the players brought in by general manager Reggie McKenzie seemed to be an overwhelming theme of the offseason. On the defensive side of the ball, McKenzie added Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Tarell Brown, and Carlos Rogers, who have all played in a Super Bowl. Woodson would know how difficult that is having won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers. Being in the league for 16 seasons, Woodson understands what the veteran presence brings to a team.
“I think it is undervalued,” Woodson said of experience. “I think if you look at the NFL, every team wants to get younger. They push a lot of the older guys out; guys that can still play the game. I don’t think there’s any question that it’s undervalued, so it’s going to be our job, especially guys like myself, Woodley and Tuck, to show that our best days are not behind us just because other people say our best days are behind us. We’re going out there to play good football and win games, and that’s what we intend to do.”
Woodson also spoke about his future. He has nothing more to prove in the game of football, but that is not stopping him from continuing his career. Because he has been in the league for so long, people want to know when he will retire. For Woodson, he is open to playing beyond 2014.
“I’m not looking at this being the last year,” Woodson said. “Of course, I’m going to enjoy every moment of it at the same time, because like I said, you never know how it’s going to turn out. I’m looking at what they’ve done here this offseason and the guys they’ve brought in, the draft that we had- we’re going to be a good team. If that means playing this year and beyond, then of course I’d be open to it.”
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