He has worn a Gold Jacket since 2009 after 17 years playing in the NFL. He only played two years for the Oakland Raiders, but he’s always been a Raider at heart.
Rod Woodson is back.
The 11-time Pro Bowler returns to the Silver and Black as the assistant defensive backs coach. “Knowing Jack – we were in Baltimore together, I was in Denver this past offseason in training camp – and had an opportunity come back. I wouldn’t turn that opportunity down,” said Coach Woodson. “I think it’s a good, young team with a lot of good, young talent that we’ve got some pretty good pieces in place. We’ve got quite a few seats filled on the bus. We have to get a couple more and probably shuffle some around, but I think once the bus starts moving, it’s going to be pretty good.”
This will be Coach Woodson’s first season with defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson, but the two are familiar with each other. “I’ve known him for awhile, played against him, and now I’m enjoying being on the same team,” said Coach Woodson. “I think we’re both old school guys. We’re teaching football. He played safety for 12 years; I played corner and safety for a total of 17 so I think we have a pretty good understanding of what we like in a secondary person. We get together and we brainstorm how we want the characteristics of our corners and our safeties and then we mesh them together.”
Both Coach Woodson and Coach Robertson have similar coaching styles in that they prefer not to yell. “I’m laid back. I’m not a screamer, I don’t holler. I wasn’t coached that way,” explained Coach Woodson. “I had Tony Dungy and Chuck Noll and then a guy named Rod Rust and then those guys left and I had Dick LeBeau and Dom Capers and Bill Cowher, and none of those guys ever screamed. For me, I don’t really scream at them. I don’t want to have to scream at them. If I have to be a coach that I need to scream and tell them to sic ‘em, I don’t know if I want that guy being on my field. I want a self-motivated guy that wants to be a champion on the field, off the field, every day of his life. If you can find those, you can win some Super Bowls.”
Coach Woodson learned a lot from his first stint as a coach with the Raiders in 2011 and knows he can be a better coach this time around. “Probably the biggest thing is that I assumed that they knew different things, and I’m not going to assume they know anything at this point,” said the six-time All-Pro. “It’s going to be the ABC’s of football. We’re going to eat and feed the fundamentals daily, and then once we get on the field, just apply that to the game.”
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Raiders Coaches As NFL Players
Besides veteran safety Charles Woodson, who Coach Woodson played with in 2002 and 2003 (talk about full circle), he will mostly be working with young cornerbacks. “If you look at the three young guys, when you look at DJ [Hayden], TJ [Carrie] and Keith [McGill], they’re some players,” said Coach Woodson. “DJ and TJ are very similar in skill sets, very smooth transitions, really quick to close on a receiver and then you get a big monster like Keith McGill, this guy, he’s big. I thought I was a big corner when I played, and he’s bigger than me, he’s longer than me, extremely fast top-end speed. I’m excited about what those guys can do on the football field.”
Having that veteran guy like Charles in the meeting room, on the field and in the locker room will only benefit what Coach Woodson is trying to do. “I think veteran players are a really good asset to a team. A lot of times you want to look at the birth certificate and say, ‘well he’s old, he can’t play.’ But if you look at his numbers from last year, Charles is a playmaker and he’s still a playmaker,” said Coach Woodson. “I think that’s really healthy for the young players to see a guy like that because he’s done it at a high level and I’m pretty sure when he retires, he’ll be wearing a Gold Jacket, so they’re going to be learning from a guy who’s going to be a future Hall of Famer.”
Both Woodsons understand what it takes to be successful in the NFL and also find success in the Silver and Black. They both want to be a part of the Raiders return to greatness. “First of all, it’s my childhood team so wearing the Silver and Black was always a goal of mine when I was a kid,” said Coach Woodson. “Doing that and being back in an organization that I want to see Commitment to Excellence come back is meaningful. It’s really the only team in the National Football League where you say, ‘you coach or you play for the Silver and Black’ and everybody in the football world knows that you’re talking about the Oakland Raiders.”
Coach Woodson was here for playoff runs. He was here under Al Davis. He plans to bring that knowledge and passion to his players. “I think the history of the game is so indwelled here and I want to uphold that commitment to what Al Davis had.”