Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: Are you surprised to find yourself a Raider?
Woodley: “No, I wasn’t surprised. From the moment that I came here off my flight, just the fans here were unbelievable telling me how important it is to stay here in the Raider Nation. I know a little bit about the history of the team and once I started talking to the coaching staff and telling me how they were going to use me in the defense, I was excited and I was saying that this place is going to be the place for me.”
Q: Do they plan on using you as a defensive end? I know you played that in college, and linebacker in Pittsburgh. How do they plan to use you from your understanding?
Woodley: “Here, they are going to use me as a defensive end. I don’t feel like it’s any different than playing a 3-4 outside linebacker, where you are still kind of the defensive end. The only thing about the 3-4 scheme is that you are asked to drop back and cover receivers and you are standing up rushing. You still have to play the run, you still have to get after the quarterback, and that’s no different from a 4-3 end. So, your hand is in the dirt and you’re not dropping back in coverage.”
Q: What do you think you and Justin Tuck can bring to this defense?
Woodley: “I feel like we bring leadership and experience to this defense. Me and Justin both have played in two Super Bowls. He has won two, I’ve won one Super Bowl but we know what it’s like to be on a winning team, and we know what it takes to get there. I think that we’re both proven guys, had some injuries here and there that slowed us up, but when we’re 100% out there on the football field, we bring it, and we just try to go out there and help our team win football games.”
Q: There was no hesitance – yes, this is a storied franchise – joining a team that hasn’t had a winning season in 11 years?
Woodley: “Yeah, but just with a few pieces added to this team, this team can be a good team. When I played in Pittsburgh last year, we came out here to Oakland and we lost. So, I feel like Oakland has a good team. The past few years with the salary cap and the different things going on, Oakland wasn’t in the situation, really, to go out and get free agents like they can get now, or even in the draft they weren’t able to go out and draft a bunch of new guys because of the situation it was in. But, I think now coming this year, those situations have changed.”
Q: What type of presence do you think you can bring in the locker room? As it has been said before, you come into a team that is not used to winning and that locker room morale is pretty important.
Woodley: “Sometimes when you have to change the course of the locker room a little bit, you have to bring guys in that have been there and who have won and played in Super Bowls because at the end of the day, guys in this league want to play in a Super Bowl, they want to have that feeling and sometimes you have to bring guys in that know how to get there. Once you bring guys in that know how to get there, now you have to get the players to follow you and you can have a better understanding of how to get to the next level.”