Woodson returns to Raiders as 'blank man'

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- On Tuesday, Charles Woodson participated in his first practice as a Raider since 2005, but he was wearing a blank jersey and not the No. 24 he wore for eight seasons in Oakland. That still belongs to Tracy Porter, who was wearing it as he sat out practice with a calf injury.
"We'll try and get that worked out, but right now, I'm just 'blank man,'" Woodson said. "It wasn't waiting for me at my locker, so I'll have to negotiate that for sure."
Woodson worked with Tyvon Branch as well as Usama Young. Although Young, at free safety, is considered to be at the spot Woodson will play in a base defense, Woodson's versatility makes many different combinations possible.
And the defensive system, Woodson said, is nothing like the base man-to-man, single-high safety defense with a four-man rush he played in during the Al Davis regime.
"This defense will give you some variations and give you some opportunities to make some plays, give you some different looks, and not just be in a single-high safety look," Woodson said. "Being a guy that I feel has a nose for the football, it'll be a lot of fun to go out there and be a part of this defense and try to make it click."
Having Woodson as a part of the roster, in what the club hopes is an upcoming team, was an uplifting experience, giving the Raiders some instant credibility throughout the league.
Middle linebacker Nick Roach, who played for the Chicago Bears against Woodson and the Packers in the NFC North, thinks Woodson's locker room influence will be considerable as well as his skill on the field.
"He's a living legend that's still playing, and playing at a high level," Roach said.
Quarterback Matt Flynn served as the scout team quarterback at Green Bay behind Aaron Rodgers, going against Woodson in practice every day.
"I got to throw against him and know what he can do," Flynn said. "He's extremely smart. Most of the time knows the offensive concept better than the offense does. He's seen everything there is to see when it comes to route concepts and what people try to attack him with."
Coming back for an OTA practice following Memorial Day weekend off, the Raiders were imprecise and error-prone, much to the consternation of coach Dennis Allen.
"It was obvious that we had the long weekend with Memorial Day off, I don't think we were as crisp as we needed to be in practice today," Allen said. "We only get a certain amount of opportunities and we didn't practice the way we needed to."
Quarterbacks were particularly shaky in terms of accuracy and timing. No. 3 quarterback Tyler Wilson, the rookie from Arkansas, threw interceptions to undrafted rookies Shelton Johnson and Billy Boyko in the red zone. Presumptive starter Flynn and backup Terrelle Pryor weren't much better.
"I don't think any of us are pleased with how we did today," Flynn said. "We made some strides last week, but today was a little unacceptable."
Place kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who normally doesn't attend OTAs but did go to the first one, was not at the second one.
Porter (calf) and cornerback Coye Francise (illness) did not practice, nor did linebacker Miles Burris (knee).
Those who were limited included defensive tackle Stacy McGee (foot), fullback John Hoese (calf), return specialist Josh Cribbs (knee), and tight end Nick Kasa (hamstring).
Lucas Nix, who made the team as an undrafted free agent last season, got work with the first team offense at left guard after Tony Bergstrom had played at that spot during the first OTA open to the media.
"We're going to mix and match a little bit and Lucas and Tony were both two young guys that we wanted to look at on the interior of our offensive line," Allen said. "Both of them have done a nice job so far. It was kind of his day to be up with the ones."

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