Defensive Backs creating a Culture

Dennis Allen is most notably connected to the New Orleans Saints Championship Team. What did he coach? Defensive Backs, and it seems like he is finally transferring that knowledge to the silver and black. That Saints team was noted for takeovers in the secondary, but the only thing the Raiders secondary has been noted for is giving up records, having a revolving door, and of course injuries.

Dj Hayden being hurt is not news, but it has still been the news of training camp. In his place, Chidekwa and T.J. Carrie have been capturing Raiders fans’ hearts. Combined with veterans Tarrell Brown and Carlos Rodgers, it seems like the Raiders defensive backs can be a building block of the future.

From top to bottom, this group has a lot to be excited about. Taiwan Jones has already carved a niche as a special teamer, and rookie Keith McGill looks to do the same. Safeties Ras-Dowling, Brandan Ross and Usama Young look to compete for playing time and a roster spot, as well.

We already know how good our starting safeties are with Tyvon Branch and Charles Woodson. The knowledge and intangibles of the four veterans in the group seem to be trickling down, and should stay with the team as it continues to grow a winning culture. Evident by the level of competition from Carrie and Chidekwa, it seems that the Raiders could have a legion of boom brewing. The Seawhawks most notably developed their infamous secondary mostly from mid level draft picks.

As long as the Raiders continue to inspire a culture of competition, I expect to see the late round draft picks continuing to develop into contributors able to utilize their potential. Either way, I am glad to finally see Dennis Allen’s specialty coming to the Raiders.

Bigger Impact: Woodson or Branch?

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Safeties Charles Woodson and Tyvon Branch are arguably two of the most skilled players on the entire Oakland Raiders Roster. Both seasoned vets offer a tenacity and versatility that could be utilized by most teams in the NFL.

This past off season the Raiders said farewell to veteran Michael Huff who had been the leader of the DBs since being drafted number 7th overall. The change comes a year after veteran Tyvon Branch was signed to a multi year deal after a season where he was a pro bowl alternate.

Charles Woodson’s credentials speak for himself, as he was once the pro bowl corner and franchise cornerstone of the Raiders. Just before he spent the last 7 seasons in Green Bay were he was able to be an all pro and defensive player of the year winner.

Both safeties are capable tacklers, cover men, and leaders, but my question is which player will have the bigger impact this season?

While Branch is younger, and has more experience with this Raider’s roster and staff, I will make the argument for the savvy vet, Charles woodson.

I have heard many say c-wood has shown he has lost a step or two of explosiveness, I disagree. Father time might have slowed Woodson down,but for every bit of athleticism lost, Woodson has gained two steps of maturity and intelligence.

As for the field, Branch’s nose for the ball and sure tackling make him a likely cantidate for the SS position. Woodson does possess a similar skill set, but his experience in coverage and range give him a leg up on Branch in terms of Coverage. He also has 55 interceptions showing proving the DB’s superior ball skills and game intelligence. Not to mention, we have all seen branch get lost in coverage, or burned by a tightend/slot receiver countless times.

You factor in Woodson’s Heisman trophy, defensive player of the year award, and all pro awards, one will see Woodson posses the merit and swagger this Raider team has been missing since he left the first time.

The fact of the matter is Woodson, was around the last time the Raiders were even relevant. He knows what it means to be an actual Raider, and what it means to win games. Woodson’s swagger is just as important as what 24 brings on the football every game.