Q: How does it feel to be back?
Woodson: It feels good. It really does. It feels good to put the Silver and Black back on. It's been a long time. I think I look good in Silver and Black so it feels good to be back.
Q: This team leads leadership really bad. Are you more of a lead by example or are you the kind that will be more vocal about it?
Woodson: For the most part I'm going to be a lead by example type of guy. I'm always of the mindset I don't want to go around any coaches and what they coach and what they do. But when there's an opportunity to step in and give some input on whatever that may be, then I'll do that and, like I said, not try to step on anybody's toes because that's not my intention, of course, to do that. Whenever there's a possibility to help a guy, whether he's younger or doesn't really matter, then absolutely.
Q: What's up with the blank jersey?
Woodson: I can't find a number, man. Everything is taken. So you know, moving forward, we'll try to get that worked out. Right now, I'm just blank man.
Q: Are you going to negotiate for 24?
Woodson: I guess that's what I'm going to have to do. It wasn't waiting for me at my locker, so I'll have to negotiate that for sure.
Q: Did you get a chance to meet DJ [Hayden] last week and if so, did you know he's going through some struggles right now with his abdomen?
Woodson: No, I haven't had that opportunity yet. So really not sure what's going on. I look forward to get a chance to meet him. So hopefully that situation works itself out and he can get back here and do what I know he loves to do.
Q: I read that you still feel you can become the best player on the field. How do you think that sort of confidence can translate to the rest of the team, especially the ones still trying to find that winning direction?
Woodson: I think for me it's all about my approach to the game, the way I play, the way I practice. I think that'll really show itself. The way I prepare, I'll always prepare as if I'm the best player on the field and once that is no longer the case, I'll see it and I'm sure everyone else will see it too. At that point then, it's up to the next guy to move forward. I'm just going to come in and do what I know how to do and that's be a great football player. I plan on doing that going forward.
Q: You practiced against Matt Flynn for a number of years in Green Bay. What can you say about him and especially the job here where he appears to be the starting quarterback?
Woodson: Flynn had a chance to work around a great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and be able to sit behind him and emulate some of the things Aaron does, without trying to be like Aaron. So he'll bring some experience even though he hasn't had a chance to lead a team. So I know that the coaches are excited to have him in here and give him that opportunity to lead this team. I just look forward to seeing him grow. He'll have the opportunity to be the guy. At that point, it's what you do with it. Hopefully he'll succeed.
Q: First impressions coming back, what feels different about this place?
Woodson: Really, the only difference is the big guy [Al Davis] is not here. I think that's really it. Knowing that you're not going to see him coming out onto the field at any point in time this season is really the different feel to this organization. But I know that the organization is in good hands with Mark [Davis] taking over and bringing in Reggie [McKenzie] to come in here and try to get the Raiders back on the right track. In that sense, it feels good and there's definitely a positive feel to it.
Q: What did they tell you about that vision to help you buy in and become a Raider again?
Woodson: Just talking to Reggie and Coach DA, I was really sold on the fact that they believe in the guys that they have here. Of course you can always use more and the years come up, they'll be able to do some more things. But they really had a lot of faith in the guys that they have on the roster right now. Who knows what this team will be at the end of the season, but I was convinced that this team will compete. This team will be in games. We look forward to going out there and wearing the Silver and Black proudly. These guys, I'm looking forward to playing with them and trying to get back to where the Raiders should be.
Q: What did you know of Tyvon Branch when you were in Green Bay and what kind of player do you think he can develop into?
Woodson: Yeah, we always watch players around the league and he's a guy who always shows up somewhere. He's a tough, hard-nosed football player. A lot of speed, can cover a lot of ground. He'll come up and stick his nose, stick his face, in the play. So he's a guy that I look forward to playing with and a guy I think is emerging as one of the leaders on the team. Looking forward to just getting more familiar with him and playing alongside of him. I think the sky is the limit for him.
Q: In terms of scheme from what you remember what it was like before when you were out on an island, the other corner was out on an island, the safeties had their normal roles, four-man rush, all very much, 'we're better than you.' How different is that from what you're looking at now in terms of the playbook and the shifting around and the ideas they have?
Woodson: It's a lot different. I mean, you just stated it. We were to be man-to-man corners and that's what it was you went on the outside, the other corner went to the other side and you played man-to-man and you had a single-high safety and that's pretty much what you did. There wasn't a whole lot to it. This defense will give you some variations and give you some opportunities to make some players, give some different looks, and not just be in a single-high safety look. That'll be fun. For me, being a guy that feels like I have a nose for the football, it'll be a lot of fun to go out there and be a part of this defense and try to make it click.
Q: I think Flynn was 2-0 in his starts for the Packers; does he make it easy for you guys to have confidence in him? What was it like when he stepped up and did well?
Woodson: Yeah, we always felt he could do it. The game of football is the same for everybody – you have to get out there in a game and you have to get that feel for it. The opportunities that he got, he made the most of them. He gave people a look at what he could do and that's the reason why he was picked up in Seattle even though he wasn't the guy there. But people have seen enough of him that they brought him here. I'm sure the staff has a lot of confidence in him that he'll emerge as the guy and help lead this franchise.
Q: What do you think about [Jason] Tarver as the DC [defensive coordinator] because last November was the worst month in Raider defensive history, but personnel has all changed. But as a young coach, what do you think of him so far?
Woodson: He's a young coach and he's just trying to implement his defense. That'll take some time. He's got a lot of new faces, a lot of new guys. The most important thing about trying to implement your defense, really, is communication. Really won't matter as far as the talent level is concerned, but if you communicate and guys know where they're supposed to be, a lot of the other stuff won't matter because you'll be in position to make plays, make tackles, keep people out of the end zone and that sort of thing. The more and more we work together, and I think the defense is a defense where it's not going to confuse you. Guys should pick it up fairly quickly and we should be able to hit the ground running.
Q: When was the last time you talked to Al Davis?
Woodson: I hadn't talked to Al Davis since I left. One of the things that I look back on that I didn't do when I left is just really have a conversation with him when I left the Raiders. Didn't get a chance to speak with him and I wish I had.
Q: What kind of effort did the Raiders make to keep you when you left here? Was there any effort or was it the time where you'd been franchised a couple years in a row where it was agreed you were going to leave?
Woodson: Yeah, it was pretty much done. I know my agents talked to the organization a few times. As far as me, there was really no communication. It was kind of, I guess, the writing on the wall that he's no longer going to be a Raider. I went my way and the Raiders, of course, went their way. It wasn't much at all.
Q: Did you ever think you'd be back?
Woodson: No. But I guess that's the way life works. I never thought I'd go to Green Bay and ended up in Green Bay and had an incredible run there. Free agency came around, thought I would be somewhere else fairly quickly and that didn't happen. Free agency just kind of rolled on and found myself talking to myself saying, 'regardless of where I play, I want to play football. I don't want to just be done playing the game.' So that's when the opportunity arose to come out here and play football. It happened.
Q: How healthy are you at this point in your career?
Woodson: I feel great. Other than having a collarbone last year and then the Super Bowl year, which were setbacks of course, other than that, I don't have any aches and pains anywhere or anything. My shoulder is healed up well now, so I look forward to going out there and playing football the way I always have.
Q: What did it mean to you to be welcomed by the fans like that last week?
Woodson: That was a great feeling. I was here eight years and we had some ups and downs, but we had some great years. I know what it's like to have this fan base behind you. That's a big deal. There's a lot of energy here. A lot of these guys know that; they don't know that feeling to be that type of team here and have the fans behind you. So to have the fans here at the facility last week welcoming me back meant a lot. I appreciate Raider Nation for that.
Q: Have you gotten to know Mark Davis at all and how would you describe the differences in his personality?
Woodson: I have not. I haven't seen Mark in years, since I left in '05-06. So it's been a long time. So haven't really been around him since that point. There's only one Al Davis though. I'm sure he's a lot different in that respect.
Q: Glad to see the NFL got rid of the Tuck Rule finally?
Woodson: I mean, what were they waiting on? Yeah, that was a happy day. Finally they got it done. My thing is it's too bad it couldn't be retroactive.
Q: You came here to a team [in 1998] that won four games the year before you got here and then won eight, eight, then got to the playoffs, where would you say this team is at in that process? You've only been here a week, but I'm sure you have a pretty good idea who the guys are.
Woodson: That's really hard to say. This is a fairly young team. When I came in, we had Tim Brown and guys like that, some veterans that had been around for awhile. Hadn't won a lot of games, but then we got a new coach in Jon Gruden and brought in a new system. So things slowly started coming together during those first couple of years. Here, this is my first time going out there running around with the guys out there on the field. But, what I can say is, there's a lot of energy out there just from the first initial practice. And like I said, as far as defensively, the defense is one where I think guys will gravitate towards fairly quickly and pick it up to the point where when we get out there in games, there's not a whole lot of indecision. We'll be able to go out there and play football and have fun doing it. If you're doing that then you'll win some games.
Q: Was there ever any hope of going back to Green Bay or was there writing on the wall there also?
Woodson: The conversation, when it happened, was fairly quick. 'Thank you for your time here. We feel like it's time for us to go our way and you go your way.' And that was it. I really didn't have any thoughts of it. Like I said, when free agency first started I thought I'd be on a team pretty quickly; I wouldn't even have time to think about it. Yeah, it really didn't cross my mind much I guess. I figured it was what it was. You have to move on.
Q: It seems like so much of what you've heard in the national media about you signing here is surprise that you came to the Raiders not the Broncos, who I guess were courting you. What do you say to those people who were surprised that you came here and didn't go to Denver?
Woodson: Well, I don't think they understand that I spent more time here than anywhere else, you know what I mean? If I got past Denver and didn't sign there, if I got here it was going to be pretty tough for me to leave being that this is like a second home to me as well. Drafted here. Spent eight years here. Like I said before, had great years here. We had a lot of ups and downs but I loved it here. I still have people I consider family here. It was going to be hard to come here, sit down with Reggie and DA, but just being in this building, seeing the fans at the gate coming in, it was going to be hard to leave. I don't think people understood that.