We are all witnessing a pretty extraordinary player in the final throes of his Hall of Fame career. Charles Woodson just continues to defy all conventional wisdom with his performance level at the age of 38. He had his 4th interception of the season Sunday against the Bills. Then he came out at the end as part of the hands team on an onsides kick and secured the ball and the win.
With every performance like this one for Woodson, the questions come as to whether he will continue to play after this season. He said a few weeks ago that if he continues to feel as good as he did then, he will absolutely want to come back.
Here's the thing though...
Woodson's return would be on a team which had just overhauled the coaching staff and an entirely new set of coaches with different philosophies and different schemes would take over. That is rarely something any player likes to go through, let alone one at this point in his career. So, Woodson has a message for his next head coach; he wants his position coach back with him.
"Physically, like I said, I feel good, as a player," said Woodson. "We gotta see if the team wants ME back. And I think part of it would be what happens with coaching-wise. Marcus Robertson has been a big help to me this year, man. That's one of the things, depending on what happens with that guy, it would be hard to play under another guy. I hope he's back, because he's done a tremendous job with myself, with the other guys in that room. And also Joe Woods, he's done a tremendous job. Those guys, we work very closely. So if I were to come back, I would want those guys back as well."
The first ballot Hall of Famer has spoken glowingly about the work that Marcus Robertson has done with him and the Raiders secondary since even before training camp. Robertson is the assistant defensive backs coach. Joe Woods is the DB coach.
Clearly Woodson would like whomever becomes the Raiders next head coach to seriously consider keeping Robertson around and perhaps Woods as well. With Woodson playing at such a high level in the twilight of a Hall of Fame career, he can make demands like that and be taken seriously.
His opinion on these coaches is also something to seriously consider. What does he have to lose? He has nothing left to prove and nowhere else he needs to be. It's either back to the Raiders with Marcus Robertson and perhaps Joe Woods, he tests the market to see if there is a team to pick him up, or he will simply retire and begin the 5-year wait for his first ballot Hall of Fame induction.
Woodson's play aside, the coaching of these Raiders defensive backs has been tremendous with this group which features three of the four opening day starters in the secondary on injured reserve. Woodson is the only starter who is still active. The primary backup is also not playing which has left the team with a 3rd year player in a position change (Brandian Ross), two second year guys (DJ Hayden, Neiko Thorpe), and three rookies (T.J. Carrie, Keith McGill, Jonathan Dowling).
These guys have far exceeded expectation and much of that can be attributed to Robertson and Woods.
So, future Raiders head coach, remember; if you want CWood then MRob must be retained and possibly JWow too. All three have done extremely good work this year, so it shouldn't be a difficult decision. Stick with what works and throw out everything else.