Even though Raiders head coach Bill Callahan has yet to decide on a replacement for Charles Woodson, whoever draws the assignment will see his role increase one way or another.
Terrence Shaw and Phillip Buchanon are the two candidates to replace Woodson, who will miss three to six weeks with a fractured shoulder, in the starting lineup. Callahan said that decision would be made at the end of next week. Oakland has a bye week before returning to face the Tennessee Titans on September 29th.
"I think both guys have qualities that contribute to winning football," Callahan said. "I think both guys have been tested."
The question is do the Raiders go with the experienced Shaw or Buchanon, the promising rookie who is also the punt returner? Shaw is an eight-year veteran and has started 73 games. He has played for San Diego, Miami and last season with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The Raiders took Buchanon with the 17th overall pick in last April's draft and is viewed as a potential shutdown corner in the mold of Woodson, a four time Pro Bowl pick.
No matter who starts opposite right cornerback Tory James, his role will increase. Buchanon is the nickel back and Shaw the dime back. If Buchanon starts, Shaw slides in as the dime back. If Shaw starts, Buchanon will remain the nickel man.
In addition, the Titans are likely to test whoever starts at that spot.
"That's an opportunity," Shaw said. "Whoever is out there and Tennessee wants to throw at us. That's an opportunity to for your family to see you get some recognition."