The Oakland Raiders have hired Joe Woods as defensive backs coach, Marcus Robertson as assistant defensive backs coach, Chris Boniol as assistant special teams coach and Vernon Stephens as assistant strength and conditioning coach, General Manager Reggie McKenzie announced Thursday.
The four additions complete the Raiders’ coaching staff for the 2014 season.
Woods: Woods joins the Raiders following eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. A coach for over 20 years, Woods has spent time at Muskingum College (1992), Eastern Michigan (1993), Northwestern State (1994), Grand Valley State (1994-96), Kent State (1997), Hofstra (1998-2000), Western Michigan (2001-03), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004-05) and Minnesota Vikings (2006-13). Before joining the coaching ranks, Woods was a four-year letterman as safety and a captain as a senior at Illinois State, earning first-team All-Gateway honors in 1991.
During Woods’ tenure in Minnesota, cornerback Antoine Winfield was a stalwart in the secondary, earning Pro Bowl selections from 2008-10. Winfield totaled 692 tackles (579 solo) in nine seasons in Minnesota, along with 6.5 sacks, 21 interceptions, 74 passes defensed and 12 forced fumbles in 119 games with the Vikings. Under Woods’ tutelage in 2012, the Vikings secondary improved by leaps and bounds and helped the team earn a Wild Card playoff berth. Rookie safety Harrison Smith tied for the team lead with three interceptions and became the first Vikings defensive back to earn All-Rookie honors since Orlando Thomas in 1995. In 2010, The Vikings secondary accounted for nine interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. In 2008, the secondary helped the Vikings rank sixth in the NFL in total defense, the highest finish since 1994. Despite the personnel shuffling, the Vikings defensive backs helped the total defense jump from 20th in 2007 to sixth in 2008. Each of the six top Vikings defensive backs intercepted passes in 2008 and showed their value in run support.
Robertson: Robertson enters his first season with the Raiders after spending the previous two seasons with the Detroit Lions. Robertson was a defensive assistant/secondary coach in 2012 before being promoted to secondary coach prior to the 2013 campaign. Prior to his time in Detroit, he coached with the Titans for five seasons as the team’s assistant secondary coach and secondary coach. Before joining the coaching ranks, Robertson played 12 NFL seasons for Houston/Tennessee and Seattle, playing his first 10 seasons in Houston/Tennessee and finishing his career with Seattle (2001-02). Robertson, who played in 157 games (144 starts) with 851 tackles, 24 interceptions and 1.5 sacks, was an All-Pro in 1993 and 1997. Following his playing career, Robertson served as Tennessee’s director of player development from 2003-06 before joining the coaching staff in 2007.