Charles Woodson excited about veteran presence on Raiders 

click to enlarge Charles Woodson was one of a few veterans on the Raiders last season, but now the 37-year-old is part of a crowded group of veterans. - BEN MARGOT/AP
  • Ben Margot/AP
  • Charles Woodson was one of a few veterans on the Raiders last season, but now the 37-year-old is part of a crowded group of veterans.

ALAMEDA -- Even at age 37, Charles Woodson is feeling a bit younger in his second season back with the Raiders.

That's what bringing in so many other veterans who have Super Bowl experience like Woodson can do.

Woodson is part of a rebuilt defense in Oakland that includes newcomers Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Antonio Smith, Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, who all know what it takes to succeed in the NFL.

"I feel like I'm getting younger out there anyway. I feel good," Woodson said. "Bringing in those guys brings in credibility. I look forward to playing with those guys this season."

The injection of veteran leadership on a defense that allowed the second-most points per game (28.3) in franchise history in 2013 was part of a plan to end a run of 11 straight seasons without a playoff berth or winning record that started in Woodson's first stint in Oakland.

Woodson said he has already seen the impact of the newcomers in improved communication and understanding of the defense during offseason workouts.

Adding veteran quarterback Matt Schaub along with an improved defense gives the Raiders the tools they feel like they need to compete in the tough AFC West despite the low expectations outsiders have for the franchise.

"We're trying to bust through the ceiling. I look at the team and I feel like I have what I need from a team standpoint to get all the way there," Woodson said. "Now, does that happen? Nobody knows until that time comes, but we've got players in there. If we all focus in, all our goals at the end of the season will be there."

The Raiders brought in most of those newcomers on defense before making the decision to bring back Woodson on another one-year deal. Woodson didn't talk to other teams in the hope of returning to Oakland but acknowledged he wasn't sure it would actually happen.

"I wanted to get something done right away," he said. "Every team has priorities and I respect what they did in the offseason and the moves they made prior to me signing again. I was getting a little bit nervous sitting at home trying to figure out what was going to happen."

Woodson had 75 solo tackles, one interception, two sacks, three passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries last season.

NOTES: CB D.J. Hayden is out after injuring his right ankle in practice last week. He watched practice in a walking boot. ... LB Kevin Burnett was on hand after missing last week's practices but worked on the side because of an ankle injury. ... DT Antonio Smith, RB Latavius Murray and OL Lucas Nix also were out injured. ... Allen said the team is talking to Dallas about the possibility of holding joint practices at the Cowboys' training camp facility in Oxnard. The Raiders last held joint practices with the 49ers in Napa in 2008-09.

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