GREEN BAY – Listening to him answer questions brought back memories of the days when players weren’t afraid of the media. Charles Woodson and the media interviewing him had each other in the palm of their hands.
“Every time you talk about it, it opens up the wound a little bit. Now we’re back this week talking about it, and now I’m angry again,” Woodson said when asked about his feelings for having been released by the Packers three seasons ago.
It was an honest answer, which in itself is rare, but what followed was the best part: Woodson broke into a hearty laugh, which the media shared with him. It was a man and the media that loved him. It was beautiful.
“I guess I’ll never get over it,” he added.
A part of me will never get over the fact Woodson appears to be the last dinosaur. They’re all gone now. I’m talking about the old guys, the ones who enjoyed talking to the media, knew how to use the media to communicate with the fans.
Wednesday’s conference call was supposed to be about a football game. It was not about a football game. It was about much more than a football game. It was about a man who is loved for more than the plays he made to help the Packers win. He is loved for his wit, his charm, his heart and his ability and willingness to express each.
The NFL and all 32 of its teams need to make an example of Woodson. When you do your rookie symposium next spring, don’t teach your rookies how to not talk, teach them how to talk as Charles Woodson talks. That’s how you grow the game the right way.
Here are 10 things the Packers have to do to beat Woodson and the Raiders.
1. Execute! – It’s how you make plays work.
2. Take what you want – The Raiders’ No. 28 ranking against the pass is an invitation to throw the ball, but the running game is the strength of the Packers’ offense and it must not be deterred.
3. Deny big plays – The Raiders have a deep cast of big-play receivers.
4. Block Khalil Mack – He’s the hottest pass rusher in the game.
5. Do it again – The Packers committed no turnovers in the rain last Sunday. It’s supposed to be wet in Oakland this Sunday.
6. Convert third down – The passing game has done that in the last game and a half. It’s a major reason for the offense’s revival.
7. Win time of possession – The Raiders have a TOP problem. So did the Cowboys.
8. Turn him loose – Clay Matthews got to the quarterback last Sunday. The Packers need more of that to happen.
9. Change the words – The autumn wind must not be a Raider. It must be a Packer.
10. Sense the urgency – For the Raiders, this is a playoff game.
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