Tuck: “It was good. It was good to get out there and start running around. There’s a lot of rust to knock off after a couple of weeks off. It was fun though. It was good to get out here and get about our business. We have a lot of work to do and everyone knows what we can accomplish this year, but it starts with today and we have to build on it.”
Q: What can you tell about a team during the first few days of training camp?
Tuck: “I think the only thing you can really tell is how excited they are to play the game and if they’re in shape or not. You can find out what kind of team you’re going to have when you throw the pads on. We’re in jerseys and shorts so everyone is flying around. Everybody looks like all stars. It was a good day. It looks like everybody did their work while they were on their break and came back in pretty good shape and retained a lot of the stuff we went over in OTAs [organized team activities] and that’s what I think you want to see the first day. Like I said, there is a lot of rust we need to correct and that’s it. We need to come back out tomorrow and get better.”
Q: What kind of things are you saying to [Khalil] Mack out there?
Tuck: “Nothing at all. I think he has enough on his plate right now, learning the playbook and getting a feel for NFL life. There will be a time when he’s ready to take it up a notch. You don’t want to overload him with too much stuff. There are a lot of people in his ear right now, coaches and stuff like that, so right now you just let him get in his groove. It’s a slow process. It’s a long season.”
Q: They brought you here because you have two rings, and they obviously think you can still play. Is the two rings thing something you impart on guys or do you just come in here and conduct yourself in a certain way and then let them come to you?
Tuck: “I think the latter. I think you don’t want to be pressing, because the last thing you want are guys thinking, ‘oh he thinks he knows it all,’ which obviously I don’t. I think the biggest thing is coming in here and just going about your business, like I always have done. Setting a good example of how to practice. Setting an example of how to be in meetings. Setting an example of being early to meetings. Taking notes, whatever it may be, that’s what people watch. They don’t watch what you say or ra ra this or whatever. They watch you by example and how you walk everyday. I think for me, just being an example is good enough, and if they want to ask me questions after that, or they want to have me teach them things that I know that other guys have taught me, then sure, I’m all about that too.”
Q: How much has the MMA training with
Tuck: “I think for me, it just opens your mind to a different aspect of training and taking something completely foreign into football. I think it gives you a lot of leeway at looking at things differently, for me personally. Whereas, for example, you always play the double team a singular way, the training we did this offseason gave me different moves, different weapons that I could use to defeat blocks with or defeat an opponent that I haven’t had before, especially later on in the season when everybody has your film that you still have the same move you used week one, or the same technique you used week one. If you have a few more tricks in the bag, you can keep the offense and the offensive line off balance.”
Q: Have you added tricks every year of your career pretty much?
Tuck: “I don’t think every year. I don’t think I was smart as I am now when I was ‘young. You came to rely on natural ability at that point, but I think every year I’ve gotten smarter and I’ve looked to people, I’ve looked to other resources to better my game.”
Q: Justin, what excites you about this team that makes you think a big turnaround is in store for this team?
Tuck: “I love that everybody is already counting us out. I am an underdog story guy. I’ve always rooted for the underdogs in movies and all this stuff. But yeah, they act like we don’t get paid to play football for some reason. We got a lot of talent on this team. We got to put it together, obviously. We have to exercise some demons that have been here before and some thought processes of some guys that have, putting it blank, ‘are you still having 4-12 seasons?’ That has to change and the mindset has to change, and things of that nature. But we hear it; we hear all the things that people say. And I’m in the business to prove people wrong.”
Q: How do you go about changing that mindset?
Tuck: “Like I said, just walking by example. I can sit hear and talk until you’re deaf all day. None of that is really going to mean that much until we go out there on the football field to do it just I can sit here and tell them, ‘well this is what we did to win championships.’ None of that is going to mean much until I go out on the football field and show them, and that’s about it.”
Q: Does that new facemask rule apply to you?
Tuck: “As of right now, no. I have medical clearance. Yeah, it wasn’t a fad; it wasn’t me trying to be the coolest kid on the block. I did it for a necessity. I did it to help me stay safe, so as of right now, I will have my facemask, hopefully that doesn’t change.”
Q: How has your impression of the Raiders changed since you’ve played them last year? Tuck: “Well, my impression hasn’t changed. I had true and utmost respect for the Raiders from afar, before I got here. Knowing the history, having many conversations with Coach Madden and Howie Long and a lot of greats that have played this game before, and always watching NFL films and really admiring the way they went about beating up on people, to be honest with you. So I’ve always had a fascination for the Silver and Black, and that definitely hasn’t changed, its kind of grown a lot.”