Q: Do you feel like you’re reinventing yourself in a sense or are you just doing things you always did and the 4-3, 3-4 thing is not really a factor?
Woodley: “I feel like just being in a 4-3 defense gives me more opportunities to rush the passer. Playing in a 3-4 defense I was asked to cover receivers and tight ends more. Putting my hand back in the dirt just allows me to go forward than backwards.”
Q: Does that appeal to you to be able to do that more often? When you were seeking out a team, were you like, ‘man, I’d like to kind of do the 4-3 end thing?’ Or did it just work out that way?
Woodley: “Actually, when I came here just looking at the team, overall looking at the defense seeing how guys were flying around on defense, getting after people, I kind of felt like after talking to the coach that that’s what he wanted me to do. He wanted me to rush the passer more and then drop back in coverage. I felt like with the kind of people that was on this defense, and add me in there, I felt like I could help the team win.”
Woodley: “No, I’ve been this size forever. I was big playing outside linebacker in Pittsburgh, but now playing defensive end, I don’t really need to do nothing at all.”
Q: How do you see this defense coming together so quickly with so many new parts and familiarity with one another?
Woodley: “Pretty much it’s about getting to know one another. When you have relationships with guys on your defense and you personally know guys, you play different out there on the football field. Just being in the locker room these past few weeks doing offseason workouts and the first day of OTAs, guys have been in there joking around, playing around, going bowling, doing different things. That’s just team camaraderie. When you’re doing things like that, that brings the team closer and closer together.”
Q: What are your thoughts about [Defensive Coordinator Jason] Tarver?
Woodley: “I like him. He’s always just fired up. He’s always energized. He’s a guy you can tell likes to get after the quarterback and he’s excited about this defense. I’m excited to come here and play for him.”
Q: What impressions have you gotten so far on
Woodley: “Just watching him today, he did a good job of pass rushing a few times. I feel like he’s a guy when he has the opportunity to get after the quarterback, it looks like he’s going to get after the quarterback. But not to downplay him or anybody on the defense, but you really can’t tell what anybody does until you get the pads on and we get out there in August.”
Q: With that being said, what do you take from the first day of OTAs? What did you see? What did you learn from today’s session?
Woodley: “It was just a learning session. It was learning. It was new guys on this defense, new guys on this team…it was guys actually playing together for the first time, going out there and communicating. I kind of felt like the whole OTA process is a learning experience, an opportunity to learn about one another.”
Q: How many guys on the team do you know their first name?
Woodley: “Only a few and I know last names and nicknames, so I’m still learning first names.”
Q: How fine is that line between being excited that you’re in on the ground level of what’s supposed to be a rebuilding project and like, ‘man, I’m part of a rebuilding project?’
Woodley: “After going back and looking at the film of the Raiders last year - I say looking at ‘them’ because I wasn’t here – they were in the game of a lot of games, they just didn’t finish. I felt like during this offseason, they went and brought guys that went out there and know how to finish games. You bring that in here with the attitude that a lot of these players have and this team has, and I think you go to the next level.”
Woodley: “Yeah, and people said something when I said that last time because I said this was a playoff team. And I think anybody that plays this sport, that should be their main objective. If you come in here and just say I just want to be 8-8, I wouldn’t want you part of my team. Anybody on this team, the objective, and any sport and anything you play, should always be the top and say, ‘man, I want to win the Super Bowl.’ Anything less, I wouldn’t want you on my team. So when they ask me, ‘what do you think about this team,’ I think we’re a playoff team. That’s the winning attitude. That’s the attitude you need to have. If you say, ‘I just want to beat Denver,’ Denver is not the only team you play here. Kansas City, you have other teams you have to beat as well. And that’s the winning attitude I think each guy has on this team and that should be the attitude you have. If not, I wouldn’t want to play with you.”
Q: Do you think teams have to learn how to win and can you and Justin [Tuck] help with that process? Is that process – to learn how to win games?
Woodley: “You sometimes, like I said, you have to bring in players sometimes that come from winning programs that know how to win and let them lead sometimes, let them show you the way. I think right now we have some veteran guys in here that have been in those types of situations and understand about winning. The next thing you have to do is, guys like us, we have to get the younger guys to buy into it. When they buy into it, they want to win that Super Bowl. They want to see what that confetti feels like and sometimes they fall in line and just do what you say.”
Q: Because of that, do you feel like you can assert yourself right away or do still have gauge the locker room and feel where you have to push buttons?
Woodley: “You still have to do that even though you’ve put in work and people respect you for what you did, you still have to come here and prove yourself, at least that’s how I feel. Because the last few years for me haven’t been good. So I have to come here and I feel like I have to rebuild myself as well.”
Q: Why do you think the last few years were not good for you?
Woodley: “Injuries. That’s it. Anything else, I do what I do. I’m not trying to be cocky about it, but that’s just what it is.”
Q: Everything as good as you’ve been the last few years or were you good coming into camp and you got nicked early in the year?
Woodley: “Yeah, I was good every year going into camp. Last year was calf injuries. The year before that I had a high ankle sprain but they kind of blamed it on my hamstring, but it was a high ankle sprain injury, things you can’t control. But calves and hamstrings that I have to take responsibility for and work on it. And that’s what I did this offseason and I’m ready to go right now and haven’t been having those issues.”
Q: What did you do? Yoga?
Woodley: “Just worked hard, worked out the problem, focused on different things. I went to go see different people. Different people say different things about your calf. You hear different players talk about using different people so I wanted to go see what they had to offer so that’s what I went to go do.”
Q: Anything surprise you about coming out here to California?
Woodley: “I come out here every year actually to Marshawn Lynch’s football camp, so I’ve come out here to the Bay Area for the past six-seven years. Just the hardest transition is just me being from Michigan, having family be able to come to the games. So now it’s less tickets, so it means more money that I’ll be saving. You don’t have to worry about people calling last minute saying they’re coming to the game because you can’t just drive up, you have to fly up. That’s the biggest difference.”