Q&A with Rod Woodson

"We're not playing against Chad Pennington but the system itself. He's playing very well in that system. He's very confident in himself and what he's accomplished so far this year and they should have all the confidence in the world."



Q.Talk about your impression of Chad Pennington from seeing him live and then on film?


He doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He doesn't make a lot of ill-advised passes. I think that the offense is a quick rhythm offense and he fits in well with that. He has some great receivers that have come into their own this year. They are playing well and he has confidence in those guys to throw them the ball.


Q.Do you think you guys rattled him a little bit on that last drive the last time you played him?


I can't say we rattled him. I just think our coverage was good. I think guys had some tight coverage's. They knocked a couple of balls down. We got some pressure up the gut. We put their offense in a situation where they had to go for a deep ball. We're not playing against Chad Pennington but the system itself. He's playing very well in that system. He's very confident in himself and what he's accomplished so far this year and they should have all the confidence in the world.


Q.Is their system better now than it was a couple of weeks ago?


I just think they're clicking. Curtis ran the ball extremely well last week. I think you need an offense to be balanced. You don't want to be one-dimensional when you get into the playoffs. They are doing a lot of good things. They are keeping defenses off balance. That is what you need in the playoffs now. That is why they played so well the first round and against Green Bay the last game of the season.


Q.Could you talk about the leadership on your team and how the veterans work together?


It's a good blend on both sides of the football. We think we have some guys that understand the situation that we can get up into on game day. I don't think there are too many situations that we haven't been in as professional football players throughout our years in the league. There is not too much that we haven't seen. I think that keeps us poised on the sidelines and in the huddle.


Q.How is your health right now?


I feel great right now. I had a banged up knee about midseason and it lasted quite a long time when you're playing and trying to practice on it as much as you can. Right now I'm healthy and we got the bye week. It felt good to let the body rest a little bit and not go through the banging and the hitting of a football game which you give and take throughout a game.


Q.What kind of factor is familiarity.


I just think that every team tries to give a new wrinkle here or there, offensive system and defensive system throughout the playoffs. I think the key comes down to who executes the best, makes the least amount of turnovers, doesn't press the situation throughout the game that is the team that usually wins in the playoffs.


Q.There was a quote by you that you thought Chad was rattled in that first game or can be rattled?


No, I don't speak like that.  I don't think I ever made that comment. I never said he could get rattled; anybody can get rattled for instance. If you're getting pressure on anybody in the National Football League, if you're hitting a guy and his receiver isn't open and he's pressure all day. Eventually the guy I don't care how calm he says he is or isn't, he's going to get rattled. I don't know if I said that but I never said he got rattled in our game. He's played extremely well down the stretch excluding one interception but that was with eight seconds to go in the game or something like that.



Q. How do the Raiders stack up against some of the Steelers and Ravens teams you've been on?


I think offensively this is the best team I've ever been on. I think we have so much talent on offense it could be very explosive. A lot of good things can happen from that offense we have here. On defense we've come around throughout the football season. I think the second half of the season we've played better and better game in and game out. We've gotten better in the redzone. We've gotten better on third down percentages and conversions. I think we've progressed in the right direction as a defense. I think that going into a season we've had nine new starters and we had to get a feel for each other. I think Chuck, our defensive coordinator needed to get a feel for how we wanted the game to be called. We had to get a feel for how he wanted to call the games. I think that happened around mid-season. You wish it would have happened a little earlier but it didn't. I think gradually we just progressed to getting better and better playing football games, week in and week out and trusting each other and trusting the system.


Q. Why do you think Gannon's career has taken off since coming to the Oakland Raiders?


I think he has some great weapons around him. He has a good system that he is in. He's throwing to two of the best receivers to ever play in the National Football League. He has an exciting running back in Charlie Garner who can gash you with his speed and quickness. Then you have some big running backs that can power over you with Wheatley and Zack. The offensive line is playing extremely well. They give him a lot of time and he's confident with that. He's confident that he can sit in the pocket and his guys are going to give him some protection and that has made him flourish.


Q.How do you prepare for a team with two capable running backs with Martin and Jordan?


I just think every week the first goal of the defense is to stop the opposing offenses running game. That is our goal this week, to stop the opposing offenses running game and put them in second and third and long and then your defenses gameplan could open up. But if you let the teams run the ball and the running backs get over 100 yards. Then that play action pass comes into more of an effect for the linebackers and secondary throughout the game. You really don't prepare for the individual running backs, you prepare for their system if they like counters, cutbacks and powers and that is what we are trying to prepare for.


Q.Rod when you play the Jets do you see their offensive lineman downfield a lot more than when you play other teams?


No, I think out here in the AFC West we have some offenses—Kansas City when Priest was healthy they ran screens and guys were pulling downfield, lineman, tight ends and receivers were cutting you downfield. So we've kind of got used to it but those guys hustle, they like to get downfield. You've got Mawae who's one of the premier offensive lineman in the league. From a center position he's a good puller, he's an aggressive guy, they like to get their hats on people. I don't think it's new because we've played against some teams like that already. But anytime in the playoffs you can get an offensive line that is physical it poses a challenge for the opposing defensive line and linebackers to get after some people and make some tackles and try to get off some blocks and do some good things. 


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