Editor’s note: This is the final part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Browns matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m., at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
Raiders FS Charles Woodson vs. Browns QB Brian Hoyer
Tale of the tape:
Woodson (24): 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, 17th season, Michigan
Hoyer (52): 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, sixth season, Michigan State
Professional football is a young man’s game, where skills deteriorate quickly past a player’s prime. Those days come early in the defensive backfield, where speed and physicality are essential.
That’s why it’s so impressive to see Charles Woodson playing some of his best football at age 38.
He’s still spry and agile, with the smarts and opportunism that made him great in the first place. Woodson has 29 tackles two interceptions and five passes defensed in six games.
The Raiders aren’t winning, which is frustrating to all, but Woodson plays with fervor. While he won’t make his speeches or lead in traditional ways, the way he plays is inspiring in itself.
“You see him flying over piles, diving into them,” strong safety Brandian Ross said. “He’s not taking anything for granted. He’s almost 100 and he’s doing that, so if he can do it at this stage, why can’t I do it now?”
Woodson has made some big plays already this year, but must make some game changers to help an injury-depleted defense secure the team’s first win.
That means besting Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer, who’s played it pretty safe early on. He has 1,439 passing yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions, though his worst game was his last. He was awful in a loss to Jacksonville, with a 46.3 passer rating.
"I'm just angry," Hoyer told to the Akron Beacon Journal. "Even my wife says she doesn't even want to be around me. She doesn't want to be around me when we win, too, because I'm so critical. "She's like, 'You guys won.'" And I'm like, 'I know, but I could have done this better.' Especially after a loss, it just lingers with you until you get a chance to come back out here and do something about it."
That comes Sunday afternoon, but his rut will continue is Woodson has his way.