OAKLAND – Raiders safety Charles Woodson was considered questionable to play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday by the team’s official injury report. Maybe by head coach Jack Del Rio as well. After all, he helps make that designation.
Woodson never doubted his playing status. He wouldn’t even consider himself probable. He was going to play a week after dislocating his right shoulder last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. In his mind, it was as simple as that.
“Once they put my shoulder back in place (last) Sunday, I never intended on missing the game,” Woodson said. “I could say my mind was made up pretty quickly. It was just up to convincing the coaches, the staff and the whole thing that I was going to be able to go.”
Woodson did more than that. He worked his way into the starting lineup and played most every snap at free safety, a place reserved for Nate Allen before he torn an MCL in his right knee. Woodson allowed the Raiders to stick with a single-high safety in most situations.
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He was hindered some in tackling form, but played well and contributed to a 37-33 victory over the Baltimore Ravens at O.co Coliseum. Woodson wore a shoulder harness, something he’ll sport to strengthen his weak shoulder. Once it pops out, the odds of it doing so increase. The harness helps with that, but it has some drawbacks.
“I was kind of winded with it,” Woodson said. “It’s kind of restricting. Other than that, I felt fine.”
That’s what he’s saying, anyway. It’s about pain tolerance with injuries like that, which he could have to deal with all season now. Woodson is going to push through it, even in his late 30s.
“I don’t ever plan on missing a down,” Woodson said. “I don’t want to sit out if I’m up. The name of the game is availability. If you’re available, if you feel like you can get through something, you do it. Usually you have to get through things mentally way before you have to get through the physical part of it. I was able to go out there and do what I needed to do for the team and show those guys that if I can go, I’m going.”
Woodson was an inspiration to a thin secondary that fought hard despite giving up 384 passing yards during a shootout. He praised young cornerbacks for continuing to grow. The Raiders defense gets to make corrections after a victory.
“We didn’t play a perfect game, not by any means,” Woodson said. “We have plenty of work left to do and plenty of things to correct. But it feels good to be standing here 1-1, not 0-2.”
The Raiders responded well after losing the season opener, and emerge from a two-game home stand at .500 following Sunday’s dramatic victory. The Raiders had a 10-point lead, gave it up late and snatched it back with an excellent two-minute drill. Winning in such fashion is key for this new group. Older versions have wilted under pressure in the past.
“The last couple of years I’ve been here, it’s been that way,” Woodson said. “This time around, today, we went out there and man, we showed that we can claw back into a game, that we can get some stops when we do need to get stops.
“We feel like they got way too many yards and way too many points, but today, our offense, the way they moved up and down the field, kept the ball in their hands and kept us on the sidelines, that was huge for us. It all works together.”