Oakland Raiders Film Room: Week 8 (CLE)

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The Godfather

Charles Woodson has been all over the place for this team. He leads the team in tackles. He’s second in assisted tackles. Fifth on the team in stops. And he is ranked 1st on the team in pass coverage by a wide margin with 4 passes defended (leading the NFL), 2 interceptions, and only granting opposing quarterbacks a cumulative 52.6 passer rating when throwing into his coverage (stats per PFF). This is why he’s a perennial Pro Bowl player. It’s going to be extremely difficult to replace all that Woodson brings to the table once he’s gone, but if Oakland wants a chance to have any type of competitive secondary they’ll have to bring someone in sooner rather than later. Hopefully, Oakland draft’s a solid young safety next year and Woodson stays on one more year to help tutor the young pup.

Credit: NFL Game Rewind

On this play Oakland blitzes Woodson from their nickel package (3 DLs, 3 LBs, 5 DBs) in Cover 3 (one safety and two corners split deep field into thirds) against Cleveland’s 20 personnel (2 RBs, 0 TEs, 3 WRs) running a zone run to the right side of the formation (top of image). Woodson uses his speed to dive right in-between T Joe Thomas and G Joel Bitonio and chase down Ben Tate for the tackle before he can make any gain on the play. These are the types of plays that a player like Woodson allows your defense to run. Very rarely do you find safeties that like to blitz up the middle, and even more so like to do it against the run. Without him on the field, Oakland stands to lose a major player in their run support and the best player in their pass coverage.

Times are tough in Oakland, but it’s not really unexpected. After the first year in a long time with a full set of draft picks we’ve seen the type of growth potential that can come from these kinds of players. If Oakland remains solid in the draft they can expect to become a a force to reckon with for years to come, but it’s going to take time to develop everyone. With all the vets on the way out it can be expected to see a couple more years with high roster turnaround. However, each year that solid players come out of the draft builds a stronger and stronger foundation from which to build long term success.