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Friday, May 30, 2014
LaMarr Woodley hopes Raiders can finish

By Paul Gutierrez

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- For LaMarr Woodley, part of the allure of signing with the Oakland Raiders after seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers was the chance to be on the ground floor of building something special.

But surely, it's a thin line between being something special and being a rebuilding project. After all, the Raiders are coming off consecutive 4-12 seasons and will also face the toughest schedule in the NFL in 2014.

Woodley
Woodley
And yet, there was still a special appeal for Woodley.

"After going back and looking at the film of the Raiders last year," Woodley said this week, "they were in ... a lot of games; they just didn't finish."

Indeed, the Raiders had second-half leads against Indianapolis, Washington, the New York Giants, Tennessee, Dallas and were also tied at halftime against Kansas City and San Diego ... and lost all seven of those games.

"I felt like during this offseason, they went and brought guys that ... knew how to finish games," Woodley added. "You bring that in here with the attitude that a lot of these players have and this team has and, I think, you go to the next level."

Which is why the Raiders made a concerted effort to sign veterans with championship pedigrees like Woodley, who played in a pair of Super Bowls with the Steelers and won a ring in his second season.

So Woodley is making no apologies for his take that the Raiders, these rebuilding Raiders who have not tasted the postseason since the 2002 season, are a playoff team.

"Anybody that plays this sport, that should be their main objective," Woodley said. "If you come in here and just say, ‘I just want to be 8-8,' I wouldn't want you part of my team. Anybody on this team, the objective ... should always be the top and and say, ‘Man, I want to win the Super Bowl.' Anything less, I wouldn't want you on my team.

"That's the winning attitude. That's the attitude you need to have ... if not, I wouldn't want to play with you."

The Raiders are also getting a former Pro Bowl veteran who will be re-inventing himself in his eighth season.

Woodley, who played left outside linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4 defense, is going back to his college position as a defensive end in the Raiders' scheme.

"The biggest difference for him is that he'll have his hand in the ground on the majority of the downs as opposed to standing up," said coach Dennis Allen. "But, all the things we're going to ask him to do, he's done at some point in his career. It's a great opportunity for him. He's excited about it, and we're certainly excited about it.

"We're looking forward to seeing what he can do as a 4-3 defensive end."

It is likely the 6-foot-2, 266-pound Woodley stays on the left side with Justin Tuck moving to the right defensive end spot.

Woodley's production the past few years has gone down, his sack totals going from 10 to nine to four to five, and he blamed it on an assortment of injuries -- calf, high ankle sprain, hamstring. Now?

"I'm ready to go right now," he said, "and haven't been having those issues."