Just ask Jason Tarver about Charles Woodson and you see a childlike amazement in his response. He loves him some Woodson. Hard to blame him. It is pretty amazing watching a 36-year-old defensive back perform at the level Woodson still performs on a daily basis.
"You know, Charles, his burst surprises me every day," said Tarver. "The guy just covers ground. He had a couple more today, interceptions at practice today. He's an amazing athlete. That's why he's a big piece of getting this defense to where we want it to go in our black jerseys and hopefully that cements his legacy, because he can still cover ground. He's got great ball skills. He's got a great feel for when the quarterback is going to release the ball and that's still there. He's practiced all camp and he still is explosive out of his stance. That's what makes the great DBs great is that ability to close the distance at the point of no return when that ball's in the air. He is still showing that and obviously we hope it continues, but he's showing it."
He credits Woodson's presence on this team as having an effect on the entire defense.
"Go get the ball. The ball scores points, not the players, and when the ball's in the air, we've got to go get it," said Tarver. "Having Charles around, that stuff can be contagious. Last week, you saw it on three straight drives, sack-fumble, a tipped interception, most interceptions come on tips and overthrows, so we emphasize that a lot and it happened three straight drives last week and we got back in the game. So it can become contagious and teams that Charles has been on, that's happened, so our guys are learning and he'll whisper to them. He's done a good job, he's been great with the young players."
This pretty much echoes my thoughts on Woodson in his few months back with the Raiders. He has been everything this team hopes he would be and more. He shows no signs of slowing down on the field and his leadership off the field is vital for a team trying to find its way.