LaMarr Woodley raised some eyebrows during free agency when the former Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers came out and threw down the gauntlet right away, claiming that his new team should have their sights on the biggest prize possible despite a decade plus of missing out on the playoffs.
Woodley said that the Raiders should consider themselves as contenders, and he isn’t ready to back down from his claims.
Woodley once again told the media that the Raiders were a playoff team during OTA’s according to CSN Bay Area’s Scott Bair. Even going as far as breaking down the team’s 2013 season where the Raiders were competitive despite having the most dead cap space of any team in the league as evidence that a more experienced and deep Raiders outfit could content right away.
“People definitely reacted when I said this was a playoff-caliber team,” Woodley said. “That should always be the main objective. If your goal is to go 8-8, I don’t want you on my team. We’re aiming for the top. Anything less is unacceptable.”
“After going back and looking at Raiders games from last year, they were in a lot of close games and couldn’t seal the deal,” Woodley said. “During the offseason, they brought in guys who know how to win. You need that attitude to get to the next level.”
Woodley’s comments definitely opens himself up for ridicule from those who are fond of making cheap jokes about the Raiders struggles, a crowd that is still large in the mainstream media for one reason on another as the “Raiders are terrible” seems to be a staple of light humor attempts by NFL analysts. That doesn’t mean that Woodley isn’t right for suggesting that the Raiders could make a playoff run, after all it wasn’t expected that the lowly San Diego Chargers would make the playoffs last season before they made it all the way to the Divisional Playoffs in 2013.
Whether you agree or disagree with Woodley’s views on the team’s realistic chances this year, you have to like the attitude and intensity the veteran is showing as well as the willingness to stick his neck and reputation on the line for his new franchise. Woodley has accomplished enough in this league that he doesn’t need to go out and make bold comments, but the fact that he is fired up enough about his new team to go ahead and make statements on the team’s abilities to make the playoffs is a promising sign that the veteran still has something to prove and to play for as a Raider.