Charles Woodson, on a local radio show, said he fully expects the Raiders to be a playoff team next season. And no Bay Area earthquake erupted from the uproar of laughter.

Progress.

After a rocky start, Raiders management has impressively executed a smart approach to rebuilding this woe-begotten franchise. General manager Reggie McKenzie's calculated approach to respectability is to rely on the last legs of respectable veterans.

To be sure, they don't figure to make Oakland an instant title contender. It's a legit question whether several of the Raiders signings have anything left in the tank. But this was the right path.

No patience remains after coming off consecutive 4-12 seasons, so the youth movement wasn't going to fly. And since the jobs of McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen are on the line, more wins are required. The smart play was to do that by filling out the roster with players who know how to win.

To that end, the Raiders added former Pro Bowlers Justin Tuck, Antonio Smith and LaMarr Woodley to the defense -- in addition to retaining the services of Woodson and adding Tarell Brown to the secondary.

And to the offense: quarterback Matt Schaub, receiver James Jones, running back Maurice Jones-Drew and linemen Kevin Boothe and Donald Penn. All but Boothe have been to the Pro Bowl.

Their average age by Week 1 will be 30.9. But among this crew of ol' heads are 10 Super Bowl appearances.

Sure, it's like squeezing the heck out of a bottle of ketchup to get the last little bit. But if you get it, bingo.

"A lot of these guys have something to prove," Bay Area native Jones-Drew said. "That's good."

A key to all this is that the Raiders haven't given out a bad contract. No one has been given long money, hamstringing future salary cap space. Several of these deals reportedly have incentives, helping ensure the Raiders get bang for their buck.

But it can't end with a bunch of long-in-the-tooth types. Respectability should be a transfer point on the commute to a Super Bowl. Which means the Raiders need to acquire some pieces that will take the franchise to that next level.

The Raiders have a few nice young players who could be good for a long time. But they need some game-changers. The most obvious is a quarterback, as an heir apparent to Schaub is a top priority.

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is out there as potential. At 27, he is perhaps just young enough to still be productive when the Raiders make the switch to the quarterback of the future.

Jackson, released by the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, is coming off his best NFL season with 82 catches for 1,332 yards with nine touchdowns. That the Raiders have added all these players and can still afford a pricey new toy like Jackson shows they've done well with the $66 million in cap space.

Having stocked the roster with veterans, the imperative now becomes identifying the core players who should be developing while the ol' heads right the ship. It's imperative the Raiders don't miss in the upcoming draft. They need to come away with a few core pieces, some high-ceiling talent, to complement the bevy of experience they've acquired.

Considering who we're talking about, it's no small feat to say the Raiders have gotten the first part. They've now got a roster armed with talented, hungry, proven -- and yes, old -- players. And it might be enough to sniff the postseason.

Read Marcus Thompson II's blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Thompson. Contact him at mthomps2@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ThompsonScribe.