Woodley: “I mean it’s a fun thing, they’re right there behind in the warm-ups. So it’s not like you can’t hear them. What’s the use of ignoring somebody when you can hear them. Just talking, interacting with people, interacting with the fans, letting them get to know me a little bit.”
Q: Dennis Allen said that once you guys started putting pads on, that’s when you really started to shine, because you’re out there playing football your style. Have you noticed that, the last three practices or so?
Woodley: “I mean that’s just kind of with everything. When you’re in OT’s, when you’re in mini-camp it’s kind of really hard to get a feel for offensive linemen. It’s kinda hard for you to really go out there and play aggressive football and then attack. So most of the time we don’t have on pads it’s more like working with your hands, and doing hand moves. When you actually put the pads on, then you have opportunity to bull rush a little more and really get after the offensive line a little bit.”
Q: Has there been any part of this position switch that maybe has been unexpected, or different or difficult rather than pretty smooth?
Woodley: “I mean everything is the same to me. Just in this defense I don’t drop back as much. Playing a defensive end, you rush more. When I was playing outside linebacker, everything was the same as far as playing against the run, rushing the quarterback, gap responsibility. Just playing outside linebacker, you were asked to cover receivers, cover tight ends, and get into the flats a bit more.”
Q: So it’s a lot easier transition than people make it sound like.
Woodley: “Yeah because when you’re playing defensive end, you don’t have to think as much. When you’re playing outside linebacker, you have to worry about going out there on number two, watch number three in the backfield, guys crossing from the other side of the field, you have to take them and cover them. When you’re playing defensive end, it’s just strictly getting after the quarterback, containing the run, and making sure if you have to force the ball back to inside, or force the ball inside. The only thing you have to do is, how you hit the quarterback.”
Q: So would you say this switch to defensive end plays to your strength?
Woodley: “Yeah I think it plays to my strength. You know my whole life I’ve pretty much played defensive end. All through college I played defensive end, when I got drafted, that’s when I switched to outside linebacker. And I just had to make the adjustment to that. It wasn’t easy at first, now going back to defensive end is just like going back to what I’ve normally been doing.”
Q: It sounds like it’s easier to go from outside linebacker down than it would be if you had to flip it? Is there something that having played linebacker that can help you like making reads or doing things like from the front? Or are they pretty separate?
Woodley: “Just coming from the outside linebacker you understand the formations a little bit, as far as the wide outs, and just the different formations that they set up in, so you have the opportunity to see that. When you have the tight bunch next to you, you know what they usually gonna run out of that. Or how they going to crack down on you when they’re playing against you in the run. So it helps you in that form.”
Q: Did you have to physically bulk up or slim down? Or are you the same?
Woodley: “You know in Pittsburgh they said I was out of shape, fat anyway. So I didn’t have to do much at all. I’ve been this size my whole career. The only reason I weighed too much in Pittsburgh was because I was asked to chase guys like your size down the field. And now, playing defensive end, I don’t have to be, it doesn’t matter. The main thing is getting after the quarterback.”
Q: You said you initially played defensive end, you switched to linebacker. Is there anything that since it’s been so long, is there anything you had to do to switch your focus back?
Woodley: “No, now its just putting my hand back down, going from a two point to a three point. That’s the only difference. Like I said, as far as rushing the quarterback, as far as rushing, containing against the run, it’s all the same, it’s all the same, there’s less coverage. So that’s the only difference.”
Q: It seemed like you had a pretty good day today. Do you feel that way?
Woodley: “I think since I’ve been here I’ve been having a good day. Not just me, it’s because of the guys around you. I’m able to show what I can do because you have other talented guys around you. The secondary, they are doing what they supposed to do, the linebackers are doing what they supposed to do, the guys up the middle, and the other defensive ends doing what they have to do. It keeps the quarterback in the pocket and it allows me to go in there and get the sack. Whether it’s me getting the sack, or somebody else getting the sack, we’re all on the same page. We all benefit from it.”