Tarver: Woodson 'surprises me every day'
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NAPA -- Charles Woodson is a leader of this young Raiders team. Captaincy is in his job description, a major part of the reason why he was brought back to Oakland after seven seasons in Green Bay.

Whatever the 36-year old safety says, young defenders generally do. Woodson has become a willing teacher, a leader and a guidance counselor during this training camp, a role he resisted during his first Raiders tenure.

Jason Tarver thinks that’s all well and good. Really, he does. The Raiders defensive coordinator believes all this ambassador talk has overshadowed one important point.

The old man can still play.

“His burst surprises me every day,” Tarver said Tuesday afternoon. “The guy just covers ground. He had a couple more 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.”

Tarver believes Woodson has a big season ahead, one that will help the team and the safety’s status as a Hall of Famer.

“Hopefully that cements his legacy, because he can still cover ground,” Tarver said. He’s got great balls kills. 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. 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.”

Tarver is committed to maximizing Woodson’s diverse abilities. He’s finding ways to make Woodson a central playmaker in this defense.

“When you have a player like Charles who can do it all, you have to take advantage of it,” Tarver said last week. “We’re going to move him around and put him in position to make big plays. He’s smart, but still has all the physical tools to be a great player. He will be a disruptive force in this defense.”