Woodson, McFadden transcripts



Q: Your observations have been during mandatory camp, how it’s going about business, is it similar to Packers, what do you see?
Woodson: Here, I really see, probably a new attitude from where they’ve been previously. You have a head coach who’s in his second year, and he’s trying to establish that winning mindset around here. Defensively we have a bunch of new guys who weren’t here last year and don’t know about the troubles from last year, so bringing a lot of new guys in, and just trying to set the tone for the guys out there on the practice field as far as our work ethic and making sure that every play you’re out there busting your tail and playing like you’re going to win every game. Because nobody’s going to give us a shot this year to do anything. But for us, if we come out and practice in a way that’s going to help us go out there and win games it won’t really matter what anybody else says. It’ll be about what we do out here on the field. I see coach Allen coming out here and emphasizing that every day. That it’s about this team, and it’s going to be how we work that’s going to determine how our season goes.

Q: You like being in that position, where nobody expects anything or does it even matter?
Woodson: For me, I’d rather be on a winning team, period. So for me, it really doesn’t matter the expectation part of it. It doesn’t matter the record, for me, I’m going to play hard regardless.But you don’t want players that have been around here, that haven’t won in a long time or had winning seasons and had the fan base excited about what you’re doing, you gotta establish that. I’m going to come out here and play hard regardless. But you want everybody to have that same mentality.

Q: Guys who helped you the most in developing into a leader, a mentor . .
Woodson: It’s just time. I’ve been around the game a long time now and seen just about everything the game can throw at you. I’m a little bit older now. You just see and you do things differently as you gradually get older within the game. The experience part of it is really what helps you out. It’s not one person in particular, just experience and I’ve done everything under the sun when it comes to being in the NFL, being an NFL player. So for guys that I’m around, guys will ask me questions all the time about different things, and I’ve done it all. So I’ll have some type of input about. That’s kind of the thing that catapults you into that leadership role is the guys know that you’ve been through it, whatever it may be, so it’s just time, and being around it and having done it and still being here and being around, and being able to talk to guys.

Q: How create chemistry here with so many new guys . . .
Woodson: I think initially, myself for example, guys want to see how you work on the field. They want to know, they want to see, myself coming in, going into m y 17th year, am I going to be a guy that’s going to sit on the sideline all the time and let everybody else take all the reps. That’s not me. And I think those guys see that, having me practice here the last couple weeks, I want to be out there on the field, and I’m going to run to the football and I’m going to try and make every play I can possibly make, and I think that part of it is the trust aspect of it. The communication part is knowing what you’re doing when you’re out there and being able to communicate with the other players and those players communicate back with you, and everybody knows what you’re doing, and once you do that, that’s where the chemistry comes. If we can do that as a team, we’ll be OK.

Q: College number and negotiations for old jersey number?
Woodson: Actually the `2’ looks very, very good. I remember coming out in ’98 and trying to petition to wear No. 2 and it didn’t happen. Maybe I’ll take another shot at it this time around. The 24, I think it’ll eventually work itself out so I’m really not too worried about it right now.

Q: Pay a premium . . .
Woodson: I really ain’t trying to pay nothing, but we’ll see what happens.

Q: Sixteen years, all the hits given and taken, physicality an issue, you hit the magic number and no more . .
Woodson: I don’t think you have any choice but to accept it if you’re going to play, you want to be an integral part of the team. For me, physically, I really feel great. I don’t really have any issues getting out of bed or anything like that. I really feel fresh coming out here and running around. When that time comes, I know I’ll feel it, and I’ll have to come to a decision, do I want to come out and continue to do it. But right now, it’s full speed ahead.

Q: You were drafted as a shutdown corner and now do so more how have you worked at your craft?
A: You go from being a shutdown corner to just being a shutdown football player. That’s what I’ve always been even though my role was to play corner I was always just a football player. Those that have watched me over the years, I’ve always tackled. I’ve always done whatever I could out there on the field besides just playing against one guy. Then over the years, it’s the experience thing that comes into play, and the game starts to slow down for you the more you play the game. You know what to expect out there on the field. Over the years I’ve learned how to better look at film and know exactly what I’m looking at. It’s not about spending a whole lot of time watching film but it’s about looking at it and knowing exactly what you need to get out of it for you to be a better player. I’ve been able to do that now for a lot of years.

Q: No reps at receiver?
A: I haven’t got there yet but let’s hold off on that a little bit.

Q: You weren’t known as a film guy, has that changed?
A: It’s changed. When I first came out we played man to man. Really the game was about not letting your guy catch the ball. That’s what I had to do. A lot of times you followed the guy around and that was it. If they weren’t throwing the ball at him, really what else could you do. Over time being put in other positions, playing nickel, moving around, playing dime, playing some safety, you got to see the game from different angles. That’s what kind of really egged me to get better at understanding formations, understanding situations, what teams like to do whether it’s in the red zone or backed up to their own 20. It’s helped me become a lot better player and make a lot more plays which is of course a lot of fun. I look forward to doing a lot of that this year.

Q: Chemistry with Tyvon?
A: It’s been good. We have some players back there. Bringing in Mike Jenkins, bringing in Tracy Porter, having Tyvon who has been here a few years, we have guys that have won games in this league, have been good players in this league. We know how to win. That’s helped us just really … I think so far we have gelled together really good just in the couple of days that we have practiced together. We’re all feeling each other out. Everybody wants to see how I’m going to come out here and work and practice and I think the last few weeks I’ve showed them what kind of player I am and why I have been around this long. That type of thing is only going to help us grow as a unit.

Q: What do you do the next month?
A: Work. I work. I work and prepare myself to be ready when training camp comes so I can hit the ground running. I’ll go home and I’ll be home with my family but a large part of it will be conditioning myself to the point where if we had to play a game July 27 I could play July 27 and not have to come off the field. That’s what I’ll do the next couple of weeks.

Q: Why was it important to you to jump right into OTAs and practice?
A: It’s another fresh start for me. I’ve been given an opportunity by the Oakland Raiders to come out here and be a part of this team. I wanted to come out here and be around the team. I kind of dangled out there in free agency for a while. There was always the thought that I may be done if something doesn’t come up or a team doesn’t come calling. Oakland gave me the opportunity to come play here and I wanted to be out here. I wanted to come out here and work with the guys. Talking to our d-coordinator and know what the scheme was and what they were doing. I was very excited about that so I wanted to come out here get those reps, especially mentally going through all those checks and make sure I’m staying ahead of the game once training camp comes around. That’s what I wanted to do.

Q: Weird being same age as some coaches?
A: It’s weird. Actually in Green Bay Joe Whitt our defensive back coach was younger than I was. The thing is, with Joe, Joe knows what he’s talking about so it’s easy to follow a guy and listen to a guy who knows what he’s talking about even though he may be younger and you’ve played in the NFL all these different years. Listening to the guys I’m around now, they know what they’re talking about so there won’t be any issue.


What do you do for the next six weeks?
“I’ll be here for a couple days then it’s right back to training. It’s something you can’t take much off of. Once you get in that shape, it only take three or four days to fall out of shape so you just want to keep it going and just stay on top of everything.”

Coach was talking about challenging you to be a leader?
“Just being one of the older veteran players on the team. It seems like just yesterday I was a rookie but now I’m going into my sixth year. Just trying to be more of a vocal leader instead of just going out there and leading by example, you have to be more of a vocal leader and let guys know ‘hey, come on bring yourself along’. Some guys might need a jumpstart to get going so you just want to pull them along and get everybody going on the right page.”

You feel comfortable being vocal when you see a player doing something wrong?
“I would say I’m more on the offensive side of the ball because on the defensive side of the ball I might not know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. I know on the offensive side of the ball I can tell if they’re not doing right and say ‘hey, come on, bring it along’ or something.”

How are things working out with the offensive line?
“Things are going very well with the offensive line. As far as the blitz pick up, the calls the offensive line is making. I feel like we’re meshing very well.”

But as for you, do you like what you see?
“I feel like everybody’s up to speed. Me personally, I feel like I’m up to speed with everybody. I know the blocks that they’re gonna make and where the holes should be.”

What do you see in Rashad Jennings?
“He’s a great guy. He’s out there hitting it hard like he’s supposed to. He knows his assignments and that’s something that you need from a running back, guy who know their assignments that they’re assigned to when they’re out there trying to block or even when they’re running the ball, they have to know the right reads to make.”

Q: Do you use your poor showing last season as added motivation this year or do you put it aside?
A: “It’s one of those things, there’s always going to be things that gets your blood boiling. But last year was last year. It’s something I put behind me. We’re moving forward, and I’m looking forward to a new season.”

Q: Are there things you learned that you should avoid doing?
A: “It’s just going out there and being more of a vocal leader. I feel like there was times last year, guys would like to talk a lot. It might have been at the wrong time when I was cracking jokes. I’m just being more of a vocal leader and leading for the younger guys.”

Q: Do you focus on this being a contract year for you?
A: “I know it’s there but it’s something that I don’t really think about. I just go out there and play football. I know if I go out there and take care of my business on the field, everything is just to follow.”

Q: Have we seen the best of McFadden yet?
A: “Not at all. You’ve seen a lot of glimpses, though, but I can promise you that you haven’t seen the best of him at all.”

Q: Surprised at how many balls you caught last season?
A: “It was one of those things, if you have to check it down to a running back, I’m always going to be there for if the quarterback decides to check it down to me. I’m going to be there for him.”

Q: What is your relationship like with the quarterbacks?
A: “I feel like all of them guys have been doing a great job. They come in there, they take control of the huddle, they get guys in the right position, they make the right reads they have to make for the defense. So, I feel like they all have been doing a great job. I’m just looking forward to the competition in training camp and getting out there with them.”

Q: What do you think of the Raiders defense so far?
A: “Man, just being out there with them, they’re going to present a lot of problems for people. Just seeing them out here in OTAs and mini camp, they’ve been moving around and flying to the ball. So, I’m looking forward to that.”

Q: What does Woodson bring to the team in terms of leadership?
A: “He’s a great veteran guy. A lot of guys look up to him. So, just seeing him out there and taking control, seeing guys look up to him on the defense.”

Q: Can you see yourself playing at Woodson’s age?
A: “I don’t think it’s the age that really matters. He’s the type of guy, he’s going out there and getting it in and doing what he’s supposed to do. So, it’s about how you go out there and handle yourself.”


All eyes on Woodson these days


ALAMEDA – All eyes are on safety Charles Woodson these days, just as they were during his first stint with the Raiders. And Woodson is well aware of the intense scrutiny
Way back in 1998, people wanted to know what all the fuss was about with a player that won the Heisman Trophy and arrived as the No. 4 pick in the NFL draft. Nowadays, they are curious to see whether Woodson has anything left to offer.
“Everybody wants to see how I’m going to come out here and work and practice,” Woodson said, “and the last few weeks I’ve showed them what kind of player I am and why I have been around this long.”
He isn’t one to stand back and watch or take off practices because of his veteran status, in much the way defensive tackle Richard Seymour did in recent seasons.
No, Woodson has been at every practice since he signed with the Raiders in May after a seven-year run with the Green Bay Packers. And he is on the field as often as possible, learning a new defense and building chemistry with players he barely knows, if at all.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was with the Packers when they signed Woodson after his eight-year run with the Raiders. He put on the full-court press for Woodson once it became apparent that the market had softened.
“Wood’s been great,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do. He’s really exactly what we felt we were going to be able to get in a player like that; a Hall of Fame-caliber player that’s made a lot of plays on the football over his career. We’re going to continue to ask him to do those things.”
Woodson admitted that he reached the point this offseason, soon after his release by the Packers, that he might have played his last down as an NFL player.
Before the Raiders called, Woodson met with the 49ers and Denver Broncos. He jumped at the opportunity to finish his career where it started.


McFadden ready to bust out in contract season


ALAMEDA – Raiders running back Darren McFadden is fresh from his worst season as an NFL player. Fortunately for McFadden, he has this season to redeem himself before he makes a pitch for a second contract.
On Thursday, McFadden said he isn’t thinking about his impending free agency, though he admits to it being something he is aware of. His focus is on showing that he can play at a level unlike anything witnessed his first five seasons.
“You’ve seen a lot of glimpses, though, but I can promise you that you haven’t seen the best of me at all,” McFadden said.
McFadden, who turns 26 just before the regular season, averaged 5.2 and 5.4 yards in 2010 and ’11, respectively. That figure dipped to a career-worst 3.3 last season.
Some attribute the precipitous decline to a change in the blocking scheme. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and offensive line coach Frank Pollack implemented a zone-blocking scheme, even though McFadden flourished in a power-blocking scheme the two years before.
Coach Dennis Allen fired Knapp and Pollack at season’s end. Now it’s back to a power-blocking scheme under new offensive line coach Tony Sparano.
McFadden looked lost in the zone-blocking scheme. He said he feels quite comfortable in the new scheme.
“I feel like everybody’s up to speed,” McFadden said. “I feel like I’m up to speed with everybody. I know the blocks that they’re going to make and where the holes should be.”
McFadden also is taking it upon himself to be more of a leader, something that coach Dennis Allen welcomes.
“I feel like there was times last year, guys would like to talk a lot,” McFadden said. “It might have been at the wrong time when I was cracking jokes. I’m just being more of a vocal leader and leading for the younger guys.”


Allen: ‘I like this team’


ALAMEDA – The Raiders concluded their three-day mini camp Thursday with coach Dennis Allen pleased with what he sees from an overhauled roster.
`I know there’s a lot of experts out there that might think differently,” Allen said, “but I like this football team.”
Allen no doubt is referring to the myriad stories written about the Raiders being a work-in-progress and far from ready to contend for a Super Bowl title.
Yet, most of the players that Allen is going to take with him into the regular season on the 53-man roster were here the past three days, as well as most of the offseason.
Allen and his coaching staff won’t see the players on the field again until the Raiders convene in Napa for training camp in late July.
“I like this football team,” Allen said, presumably for emphasis. “I like the players on this team and I’m excited to see what they can do once they get into training camp.”
The Raiders finished 4-12 last season. During the offseason, general manager Reggie McKenzie jettisoned numerous veteran players and made little or no attempt to sign some of his own high-profile free agents.
In turn, McKenzie relied upon the NFL draft and lower-profile free agents to fill out his roster this year.
So far, so good, Allen said.
“I’ve been pleased with the work that these guys have put in and, obviously, we’re not the finished product. We’ve still got a lot of improvement to do, but I wouldn’t say that’s any different than any of the other 31 teams. But I like their mentality, and I like the way that they work.”


Coach Allen transcript after final day of mini camp


The Raiders just concluded the third and final day of their mandatory mini camp. Player interviews aren’t for another 30 minutes or so. So, to tide you over, here’s the transcript from coach Dennis Allen’s news conference Thursday:

Allen: First of all, I’ll just say this was a good camp. I thought OTAs, I thought we improved, I thought we got better. I like this football team. I like their mentality, I like where we’re at, I like the way they’re working. Obviously we’re going to give them some time off before we go to training camp, but I think we’re all anxious to get there, get the pads on and really see what we’ve got. With that I’ll open it up to questions.

Q: Anything surprise you?
Allen: I don’t know if surprised, I’ve been pleased with the work that these guys have put in, and obviously we’re not the finished product. We’ve still got a lot of improvement to do, but I wouldn’t say that’s any different than any of the other 31 teams. But I like their mentality, and I like the way that they work.

Q: Your message today for end of camp . .
Allen: Well, I haven’t left ‘em yet. I’m going to go back in there and meet with ‘em and reiterate some of the things I’m telling you guys. I like this football team. I like the players on this team and I’m excited to see what they can do once they get into training camp.

Q: How about in terms of what is expected of them?
Allen: Well, yeah, we spoke to ‘em a little bit this morning about that. We all understand that we put a lot of work into this, and this is the time of year that we’ve got to mind our Ps and Qs and do the right things and get back to training camp in shape, come back to training camp mentally and physically ready to go.

Q: A big year for McFadden, is he approaching it any differently?
Allen: I don’t know if I’d say I’ve seen anything different of Darren. I’d say Darren has always been a guy that’s come in and worked. One thing we have addressed with him a little bit, and something we’ve talked about is a leadership role on the team, helping that locker room and I’ve seen him do a nice job in that regard.

Q: In terms of guys who haven’t played in minicamp (injuries), concerned about any of them not being ready for start of training camp?
Allen: No. I anticipate everybody being ready to go.

Q: Have you seen something in this three days that may have altered or influenced how you start regular camp?
Allen: I don’t think there’s going to be anything that influences the way we start camp, but I will say that again, we got a lot of change, a lot of turnover on this football team and the thing I’ve been the most pleased with is the mindset of this team. I know there’s a lot of experts out there that might thing differently, but I like this football team.

What has Greg Olson brought to the offense?
“I think he brings an element of creativity. I like some of the things that they’re doing with him and Tony Sparano in the run game. I like what we’re doing from that standpoint. And he brings some enthusiasm and an air of confidence to the team.”

A couple of the players said he stops them in the hallways and gives them ideas. Is there a difference between having set plays and having an evolving offense?
“Yeah, absolutely, I think that’s what great coaching is. I think great coaching is adapting a scheme to fit the players that you have. Putting those players in the position to give them the best chance to have success. I think that he’s done a real nice job of that from an offensive standpoint.”

What do you see specifically from the quarterbacks over the last month?
“I think they’ve gotten better. I really do. We’re not where we need to be yet but we’re not playing tomorrow. I feel good about where we’re at from a quarterback standpoint. We got some different elements at the quarterback position, I think all of them have their strengths and we got to try to put them in position to try to utilize their strengths.”

How much contact can you have with the players between now and training camp?
“We can have contact but I think it’s important this time of year, we’re gonna keep tabs a little bit and make sure we know where everybody is but at the end of the day, they gotta get away a little bit too. Get refreshed and get ready for training camp because it’ll be a grind once we get there.”

They go home with playbooks and DVD’s?
“We generally keep that stuff in house but they got a lot of notes and stuff that they’ve taken over the course of the last 13 practices.”

As coaches, do you guys take time off too?

The quarterback play from two days ago until today is like night and day, what do you attribute that to?
“I think it’s continue to get reps. Continue to get the work. These guys have done a nice job. We knew going into this from the very beginning, not only from the quarterback position because that seems to be the focus of everybody, but with our football team. Don’t worry about where you’re at right now. Just keep grinding, keep working and if you keep doing that you’re gonna get better. And that’s what these guys have done.”

Q: Spending a lot of time with the DBs?
A: You always go back home to mama. That’s a spot that I have a great passion for. I feel like in the secondary that that’s the most critical spot to make sure you’re on it. I have great confidence in the coaches we have back there. I have great confidence in those players that we brought in here but that’s a place that yeah I’ve spent a little bit more time.

Q: Seen from Rashad Jennings?
A: I think up to this point he’s done a nice job for us. He moves well, he’s a big back. I think the telltale will be when we get into the pads does he run like a big back in the pads. We’ll find that out when we get to training camp.

Q: Woodson’s impact?
A: He brings an air confidence to the whole group, not just the secondary but really the team in general. Anytime you can have a player of that caliber that still has a lot of football left in him and bring that into your team and your organization it fills your team with a lot more confidence. That’s one of the big things that he brings.

Q: Olawale?
A: He’s done a nice job in the camp. He’s really improved from the end of last season to this point. I’m looking forward to getting him in training camp and seeing where he’s at.

Q: Besides Wiz and Veldheer, is offensive line wide open?
A: Hey listen. We all have ideas and thoughts of where we’re at and you have a vision of what you think it’s going to look like. Really at the end of the day you let the competition play out. It will tell you who should be at what positions. It always shakes out at the end. I’ve been pleased with the competition really we’ve had throughout the football team.


Allen eyes Moore as team’s No. 1 receiver


ALAMEDA – Tight end Brandon Myers and fullback Marcel Reece were the Raiders top two receivers last season. If coach Dennis Allen gets his way, his wide receivers won’t be so overshadowed this season.
Denarius Moore led Raiders wide receivers with 51 receptions for 741 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. Still, he appeared to regress from his rookie season, when he burst onto the scene as a consistent playmaker.
At one point last season, Moore got benched during a game late last season for lackluster play.
“He’s a guy that we’re counting on being our No. 1 receiver,” Allen said of Moore. “But we need all those guys. … At the end of the day, we’ll have five, maybe six receivers that have a chance to help this football team.”
The Raiders get back Jacoby Ford from a foot injury that sidelined him all of last season. They also drafted Brice Butler and signed free agents Josh Cribbs, Conner Vernon and Sam McGuffie.
Juron Criner and Rod Streater showed promise last season as rookies. Allen said he expects significant growth from both players this season.
“I feel like a vet,” Streater said. “Just over a year, I felt like I learned so much, from coverages and plays and things like that. I feel like I understand a whole lot more and can contribute more than I did last year.”
Some of the current receivers had difficulty getting in synch with quarterback Carson Palmer last season. Too often, they ran incorrect routes or weren’t where they were supposed to be.
Allen said all it takes for one of the receivers to become the go-to receiver is showing the ability to catch the ball and make plays on a consistent basis.
“We need guys to go up and make plays for us,” Allen said. “It’s understanding the route combinations, understanding the different techniques of running certain routes. Those are all certain things that you gain from experience. What a receiver is paid to do is go up and make plays on the ball and that’s what we’re looking for.”


Janikowski wants to play 7-8 more years, finish career with Raiders


ALAMEDA – Kicker Sebastian Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler were inextricably linked the past 13 seasons. Now that Lechler is gone, Janikowski is left to go it alone as the Raiders most-tenured player.
The kicking duo was inseparable since they joined the Raiders in 2000, from the field to the locker room to the golf course. It became difficult mentioning one without the other.
“Shane and me were such good buddies,” Janikowski said. “But it’s business, and we got to move on.”
Lechler moved on to the Houston Texans. Janikowski insists that he isn’t going to follow suit once his contract ends after this season.
In fact, Janikowski said he intends to play seven or eight more seasons, if not longer, and he is hopeful that he finishes his career with the team that selected him in the first round of the 2000 NFL draft.
“I want to play as much as I can,” Janikowski said. “I want to win the Super Bowl. That’s the ultimate goal.”
Janikowski is playing for his eighth head coach. Change is something he is quite accustomed to playing for a Raiders team that has been in flux since they played in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season.
He admits that he still doesn’t know the names of all the players he sees in the locker room right now.
Still, he’s having fun, kicking as well as ever and taking his job far more seriously than he did early in his career.
To that end, Janikowski has shed at least 10 pounds – he refused to give the exact figure – and looks as lean as at any point since he joined the Raiders.
“You’re getting older and there are a lot of guys out there younger than you,” Janikowski said in explaining the reason for the weight loss. “You just got to keep up with it. It’s your job. You got to take it seriously. … At first, (as a) young guy at 24, 26, you don’t think that way. Now it’s totally different. I got a family, two little kids, it’s totally different.”