The Raiders first-string defense is starting to take shape. The last major void was filled on Monday afternoon, when cornerback Carlos Rogers signed a one-year contract.
The former 49ers cover man will be the team’s nickelback, a vital role in a pass-happy AFC West that likes to spread defenses out. Rogers will line up in the slot, with fellow ex-49ers defensive back Tarell Brown and second-year pro D.J. Hayden on the outside.
Rogers is the latest 30-plus veteran to join this roster, which is decidedly older and more experienced than last season. Rogers is excited to join the group, and is confident in the team’s vision for the immediate future.
“The Raiders have been one of the teams that have been more active in the offseason, trying to turn things around,” Rogers said in a conference call. “I see where this team is going, and it wasn’t hard to come here and finalize the deal. Especially playing with Tarell, and I have been good friends with Charles Woodson since I’ve been in college, it was easier to come here and play with them. Plus, I just have to move myself from one place to another, right across the bay.”
Rogers understands the complexity of playing slot cornerback, and believes he’s ideally suited to handle the rigors of the position. Once he learns the defense, Rogers believes he’ll fit right in.
“I don’t want to say you can plug anybody outside, but being an outside corner is easier to learn,” Rogers said. “In the nickel (package), you’re dealing with the linebackers, you’re dealing with the D-Line, you’re dealing with your corners and your safeties, so it’s going to be a big part of what I need to do. I need to learn all the terminology and get the nickel spot down. I’m going to have a big opportunity to compete on the outside for a starting spot as a corner. For me personally, my biggest role is going to be making sure I’ve got all the nickel stuff down.”
Re-teaming with Brown was an attraction. He was proud to be part of a defensive renaissance in San Francisco and hopes to start another positive movement in the East Bay.
“It’s going to be fun,” Rogers said. “We’re two older guys that can bring experience, can bring leadership, can bring a lot of stuff to the table. I’ve played in a lot of different defenses and it’s not hard to come over here and learn this defense and this terminology. We were a big part of the puzzle that turned San Francisco’s defense around, so hopefully we can translate that over here and be even better.”