The Raiders have had a lot of storylines this season, but there is one that has gone virtually unnoticed by everyone: the resurgence of Charles Woodson. Signed as a free agent this year, Woodson was a low-risk, high-reward signing by Reggie McKenzie, and it was arguably his best of the offseason. NFL Network’s Rich Eisen had an offseason interview with Woodson in an episode of his podcast and claimed that the team that took a chance on him would be greatly rewarded, noting that Woodson seemed to be overlooked in this year’s free agency. It is time that the Raiders get credit for a wonderful signing, and Woodson gets the respect he deserves for a potential Pro Bowl year.
Charles Woodson’s return to the Raiders made sense in virtually every aspect. The Raiders let former first-round pick Michael Huff walk (a good decision, as he was cut by the Ravens for poor plays) and had a hole at free safety. Woodson was looking for a decent payday and was expected to go to a competitor. Instead, he interviewed with the Raiders and was treated to a surprising greeting by Raider Nation. With the fans and team behind him, Woodson opted to sign with the Raiders over the Broncos…and was promptly ignored by the media for the rest of the offseason. Still, it was a coup for Raiders fans, who had their voices heard by the front office and a hero while having a surprising effect on their team. Fans still felt that Woodson was a force to be reckoned with, but two injury-plagued years in Green Bay had made Woodson something of an afterthought when thinking of some of the best players in the league. It wouldn’t be until the regular season that the NFL would see just how much Woodson could still do.
#24 has been a wonderful force at free safety for the Raiders with 59 tackles, a sack, three forced fumbles, an interception, and zero TD’s allowed. He has signature plays in multiple weeks, with a flying tackle to stop Maurice Jones-Drew on the goal line in the 19-13 win over the Jaguars and a critical forced fumble on the goal-line in last week’s narrow win over the Texans (gif courtesy of infiniteraiders via reddit). Most importantly, he has been having an effect on the players around him, as the secondary has been incredibly solid for most of the season with Woodson’s help. Woodson can be seen communicating and teaching the young defensive backs, and it is truly an honor to have him on the Raiders once again.
His leadership skills were not fully developed the last time Woodson donned the Silver and Black. After a Super Bowl win in Green Bay, Woodson returned home to the Raiders in time to lead a defensive resurgence. Woodson deserves to make the Pro Bowl this year, and I expect him to make his case loud and clear over the next few weeks.