By Steve Corkran
Friday, June 21st, 2013 at 11:19 pm in Oakland Raiders.
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.”