Coach Woodson talks to the media. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Q: Anything surprising about the job that you didn't know or are you ready for all of these responsibilities?
Coach Woodson: No, seven years removed, I have prepared myself for the worst. And it hasn't got to that point yet, but I am ready for the long days when the season starts.
Q: I haven't seen you really vocal out there. Is that your style or you just easing your way into it?
Coach Woodson: No I don't really think I need to scream and holler. I think every coach has their own style. I think at the end of the day the train is leaving; it is going to leave with the guys or without the guys. I think my style is if you want to get a paycheck be on the train and I don't need to tell you that. At the end of the day if you are not doing your job then you are going to get cut, and that is the bottom line, that is the reality of it. Throughout my career my coaches have never really yelled at me too much. I was a player that didn't really respond to yelling. There is some guys that you need to push and I think there are ways you find to push certain players and other guys you just tell them what to do and they will do it. I think you have to find a way.
Q: Which coaches are you kind of borrowing or that you enjoyed playing for that you kind of like their style?
Coach Woodson: Gosh! All of them you know: Chuck Noll, Rod Rust, Tony Dungy, Dick LeBeau, Dom Capers, Bill Cower, Steve Mariucci, John Fox; he was a rookie coach when John was in Pittsburgh, but all of those guys who I have coached under I have learned a little something from them all.
Q: You get a chance to watch the Hall of Fame speeches? What was it like to watch?
Coach Woodson: Oh yeah. Well they are getting longer. That is what it feels like, they are getting longer, but it is always good to go back and see the guys that were enshrined that year.
Q: What do you think about (DeMarcus) Van Dyke so far and what does he need to work on?
Coach Woodson: Well I think DVD is his nickname. I think he is going to be good. I think it is the little things that he has to work on. He has to know how to finish. He is still learning about playing corner in this league: playing different coverages, when to do certain things, when not to do certain things. But if he keeps progressing in the positive manner like he has the first week or so I think he will be a decent player.
Q: When you first saw him in Miami; what are the first impressions that you like? I think Hue said "you liked his hips?"
Coach Woodson: He has great hips. He reminds me of a player that I played with in Baltimore- Dwayne Starks and he got drafted coming out of the U (University of Miami) and when he was in Baltimore he had great hips, great feet, and DVD reminds me of him. He is a little bit taller but I think with his range I don't think too many receivers are out running him so he has to learn how to break down, move his body weight in transition when he is playing in space. If he does that I think he will be a really good player.
Q: Coach, what do you feel of Michael Huff, early on?
Coach Woodson: Mike is a player. He is a playmaker. He has a natural instinct, a natural gift. You know I am also coaching the nickels. I coach more with the other guys than I do with him. When you don't have to coach as much with a certain guy, it makes your job a little easier. Then that is when you know that he has that natural gift because you don't have to tell them to do the little things. It just comes natural to him.
Q: With a young group of defensive backs on this team, does your Hall of Fame status give you that instant credibility with these guys, does it help?
Coach Woodson: It's a start, but if I tell them to go in the wrong way it is not going to last too long. I am trying to point them in the right direction. Each player is different. Every player learns differently. Some players are audio learners. Some players are visual and some guys even need the reps. The things I did in my career I can't ask a guy to do the same. It really depends on their abilities. I think each player plays within that ability. If they can do that then I can help them cultivate their tool so to speak as in their craft than I am doing my job as a coach.
Q: I see you switch a lot between cover two and cover three today; what does Bresnahan prefer you think?
Coach Woodson: Multiple, I think the great defenses I know that I have played with, and I know that Chuck has been around, have done multiple things. I don't think you can do one thing and be good at it. I think what has to happen in this league is that you have to make the quarterback think after he touches the football. I think what Chuck is trying to cultivate with this defense is that he is trying to give multiple looks, make sure we have our disguises in the secondary and the linebackers and from that we move to what we are going to play in. If we can do that than we are heading in the right direction, but I think Chuck wants to do is give multiple looks, multiple defenses and make quarterbacks guess.
Q: Does Stanford (Routt) look like an elite cornerback in this league?
Coach Woodson: I think he can be. Stanford is a work in progress. He has natural gifts. I think every player that gets drafted in the National Football league has gifts and I think he has to cultivate those gifts. I think that he has Willie here for so long. He has learned under Nnamdi, I think it is his turn to learn how to play the game and learn for himself to trust himself. I think the elite players learn to trust themselves on the field and once he does that and he pulls the trigger when he has the opportunity to pull the trigger I think his game is going to elevate. I think his interceptions are going to go up. I think that's when you're going to start hearing his name more than you have in the past.
Q: You think pulling the trigger once and getting one play in starts the process or is it more than one?
Coach Woodson: Everything is a process, it's step by step. I think what Stanford has done so far in this new system, he is learning the system, he's learning how to trust himself, he is learning how to work his eyes, his feet, all the things that you need to do as a defensive back as a defensive players, as a N.F.L. player, which is to trust what you have learned in the meeting room on the field and apply back to the practice field and the game day. Those are the elite players. I think he is in the process of doing so.
Q: Cornerbacks have joked for years about the amount of man to man they play; 90 percent or whatever they play. When do you think that has been a little overstated and talk about the new system; will there be less man than there has been in the past, will we see different things?
Coach Woodson: Well I mean I know when I was here we played multiple coverages -- we played four, we played zone, we have played man, and I think that is what we are going to do again. I don't know what they did the seven or eight years while I was gone, but that doesn't matter. What matters is this year, the 2011 Raiders. The guys buy into what Hue is selling. I think we're learning that there is a standard that we ask our players when they step on the practice field. There is a standard when they step on game day and it doesn't matter whether it is the first team guy the second team guy or the third team guy, the standard is set and you have to live up to the standard or you will not be a Raider.
Q: Chris Johnson, what does he do and what does he need to work on?
Coach Woodson: I think Chris can play. I like Chris, he is an old wily vet. I think he is kind of the same way as Stanford (Routt) a little bit; he has to start trusting himself and start pulling that trigger. All the film study, everything we are giving to him as coaches, everything he has learned throughout his career and from other players. Once he can apply that back and not hesitate, those are the guys you really look forward to see play. I think C.J. is in that progress. I think he believes that he can do certain things. I think as he progresses this year, he is going to have a good year.
Q: With both those guys, pulling the trigger is that part of Nnamdi not being here and guys have to step up and feel that role a little bit?
Coach Woodson: Well even with Nnamdi. If Nnamdi was here I would tell him the same thing. He didn't have a lot of picks. You know he was a shut down corner but pulling the trigger gives you opportunity to make picks and they have to start pulling that trigger. It is certain things throughout the practice that there is certain plays and you only get two or three plays to make plays and once they start learning how to pull that trigger and I am talking the safeties, defensive backs, linebackers, the defensive line, everybody. Once we start learning how to pull that trigger we will be an explosive defense.
Q: Coaching is always something you wanted to do or something you recently wanted to try?
Coach Woodson: I thought about it for years but after playing seventeen years I was offered my first two years when I first retired and I needed to get away. So being away for seven years I thought this was the best time to give it a shot, see if I like it. See if I don't mess the guys up too much and if I can do that than I will try to make a career of it.