Look up and down the Oakland Raiders active roster, and you won’t find a lot of players in their 30s. In fact, only nine guys on their 90-man roster have passed the age of 30, and the average age of the team is a shade over 25.
So it’s safe to say that the Raiders are a young team with a lot to prove, looking for some veteran leadership to guide the way.
Despite the lack of veterans, head coach Dennis Allen feels confident in the experienced players that they do have.
“I feel good about our leadership on the team,” Allen told the media after the second day of mandatory mini-camp. “I think always, all of us as coaches, you’d love to have a team full of established veterans that have been there, done that, won championships, done those types of things.”
“But really, when you look at it, we’ve got some veterans on this football team that can lead this football team. (Darren) McFadden,Marcel Reece, Matt Flynn has done a nice job for us. You go over to the defensive side of the ball, you’ve got Lamarr Houston and Andre Carter, Nick Roach, Kevin Burnett.”
Allen essentially went down the roll call and named all the veterans, but he seemed particularly enthused by Charles Woodson, who chose to return to Oakland after a lengthy career in Green Bay.
“Wood’s been great,” he said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s really exactly what we thought we were going to be able to get in a player like that, a Hall of Fame-caliber player that’s made a lot of plays on the football over his career. We’re going to continue to ask him to do those things. I think as he’s gone throughout his career he’s taken on more of a leadership role. He’s done a nice job in that regard for us.”
When it comes down to it, the Raiders are still one of the youngest teams in the NFL, and some of that inexperience will undoubtedly show throughout next season, particularly at quarterback with four unproven players fighting for the starting spot.
But every team has to have its “old guys,” the ones who have the track record and the know-how to be productive in the league. Hopefully for the Raiders and Allen, the ones that Reggie McKenzie has brought in to the current roster will help this young team develop as it looks to become relevant again in the league.