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Thursday, March 13, 2014
Woodley: This team can be good

By Paul Gutierrez

LaMarr Woodley had a taste of what the Oakland Raiders could be last season, what with his Pittsburgh Steelers losing in Oakland.

"Just with a few pieces added to this team," Woodley said in a conference call Thursday afternoon, "this team can be a good team.

"The past few years with the salary cap and the different things going on, Oakland wasn't in the situation, really, to go out and get free agents like they can get now -- or even in the draft, they weren't able to go out and draft a bunch of new guys because of the situation it was in. But I think now coming this year, those situations have changed."

And Woodley, who was released Tuesday by the Steelers, believes he is one of those pieces after signing a two-year contract worth a maximum of $12 million to come to Oakland.

Woodley, who signed the largest contract for a defensive player in Steelers history at $61.5 million for five years in 2011, has missed 14 games over the past three years due to injuries to his calf, ankle and hamstring. After signing that contract, he responded with 7 1/2 sacks in four games, but then injured the hamstring.

Last year, he had five sacks in 11 games -- a calf injury limited him -- and his 57 career sacks rank seventh on the Steelers' all-time list.

In Pittsburgh, he played left outside linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4 alignment. In Oakland, where the Raiders have used a 4-3 scheme, he said he'll put his hand in the dirt and play defensive end.

"I don't feel like it's any different than playing a 3-4 outside linebacker, where you are still kind of the defensive end," Woodley said. "The only thing about the 3-4 scheme is that you are asked to drop back and cover receivers and you are standing up rushing. You still have to play the run, you still have to get after the quarterback, and that's no different from a 4-3 end. So, your hand is in the dirt and you're not dropping back in coverage."

Earlier in the day, the Raiders signed former New York Giants left defensive end Justin Tuck to a two-year, $11 million deal.

"I feel like we bring leadership and experience to this defense," he said. "Me and Justin both have played in two Super Bowls. He has won two, I've won one Super Bowl, but we know what it's like to be on a winning team, and we know what it takes to get there. I think that we're both proven guys, had some injuries here and there that slowed us up, but when we're 100 percent out there on the football field, we bring it, and we just try to go out there and help our team win football games.

"Sometimes when you have to change the course of the locker room a little bit; you have to bring guys in that have been there and who have won and played in Super Bowls because, at the end of the day, guys in this league want to play in a Super Bowl, they want to have that feeling, and sometimes you have to bring guys in that know how to get there. Once you bring guys in that know how to get there, now you have to get the players to follow you, and you can have a better understanding of how to get to the next level."

Woodley tweeted out the following picture: