DC Joe Woods (10.15.20)

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods:

On the best way to slow down Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:

“We are still working on that, slowing him down. I have coached against Ben a few times – probably four or five times over the last four or five years. He looks the same to me. You see him throwing the ball with accuracy down the field. You see the underneath throws. He has total command of the offense. He is hard to deal with, and we are definitely going to have to be at our best to come away with the win.”


On the luxury of having a player of CB Terrance Mitchell’s caliber who can step in and start with CB Greedy Williams missing time and being placed on IR:

“It has definitely been good for us. Early on with us being here, I was familiar with Terrance just from his time in Kansas City and I remember interviewing him down at the combine, but we really did not know what he had in him as a player within our scheme. He has played well throughout the early part of the season. He really bounced back last week and really challenged the receivers outside and played a nice game. It is definitely making it easier on me to make some calls with him out there.”


On how much attention the Browns will pay to WR Chase Claypool, given his performance last week against the Eagles, and the talent of the Steelers WRs overall:

“We are definitely paying attention to him, but they have some other weapons. That is one thing playing against these guys is tough. You look across the board – all the receivers, the backs and the tight ends – they have matchup concerns all over the field. We have to do a good job of really executing our techniques and mixing up the coverages but at the same time, having the ability to take away a few guys if we need to.”


On Claypool:

“Size, speed, leaping ability, hands, everything. It really was like a coming out party for him. I know he had a big play early in the season against Denver when you saw him speeding down the sideline on a long touchdown pass. I think he is probably a pleasant surprise, maybe not even a surprise, for Pittsburgh. He is really playing at a high level right now. He is a handful.”


On if he had a feeling DE Myles Garrett was going to come through and make a big play when the Colts offense was backed up:

“I was hoping that. That is the one thing with Myles is he is just a dynamic player. Very hard to block just because of his size, length and his athletic ability. He is just very natural in terms of bending the edge. That is one of the plays we looked at and showed the team in rush and coverage working together. (LB) Sione (Takitaki) did a nice job of coverage. We were in position, we made them just really hold the ball for a second and bought time for Myles to get home.”


On how well equipped Garrett is to handle any high-running emotions on Sunday:

“When I first got here, obviously with him coming out of that situation, we had a brief conversation, but since then, we have really just been focused on him being the best player he can for our team and our defense. I think he has grown from what has happened in the past. I think it is probably behind him right now, and I think he is just looking forward to getting out there, playing his best and getting through this game.”


On if there is a silver lining to players stepping up and succeeding in their roles when required to do so due to injuries to other players:

“Before the season started and we were in training camp, in my mind, I just felt like this was going to be the season where you were going to have to play everybody. Going in to it, I had that mindset. I think it is good for us from an organizational standpoint and from a coaching standpoint that now we have the ability to evaluate a lot of guys on our roster to see if they can play and make decisions on those guys moving forward. I think it has been a benefit for our entire team.”


On if the coaches have to somewhat dial back players heading into a rivalry game and one where emotions may run high:

“When you get into these rivalry games and everything else that goes in it, you always want to try to keep the focus on yourself and what we can do defensively. I always tell them the only thing that is required is for them to do their job. When guys start trying to make plays outside of their responsibilities, that is when mistakes happen. The biggest thing is that guys just stay relaxed, play hard and execute your responsibility, and that will put us in position to play well.”


On how much of a concerted effort has been made with Garrett to cut back on penalties, given Garrett had several offside and roughing the passer calls at the beginning of last season, and if Garrett going for the ball is helping result in a lower number of penalties:

“That is just something that we emphasize. (Defensive line) Coach Chris Kiffin has done a great job just developing that relationship with Myles and really trying to put him in the position where he can make plays. All the things that happened to him in the past, I am really not aware of that because it is kind of like once you got here, it is a new start for everybody, and I feel like he has really bought into the things that we are trying to teach him. I think you guys see that on gameday with just the production that he has had. For Myles, he is really just doing what we are asking, and we are really not talking too much about the other things.”


On the status of the Browns’ SS:

“We are good. Again, (pass game coordinator/defensive backs) Coach (Jeff) Howard has done a good job throughout training camp just always rotating all the guys we have in the back end. The guys are all familiar with the defense. We have the ability to move pieces around. With (S) Ronnie (Harrison Jr.), it is really day by day with him, but I think we may get him back. We will see. Regardless, we will have guys that will be ready to step up and play.”


On how disappointing it was to see Harrison sustain a concussion shortly after his pick-sick and S Andrew Sendejo’s ability to move over and play SS:

“I did not even know it. It was like somebody came up to me and said, ‘He is out.’ I was like, ‘What?’ He was standing right behind me like a minute before and then he told me what happened. It really I think happened maybe a few plays before that. The biggest concern for us is really his health and just getting him healthy. We would love to have him on the field, but it is more important for him to be at his best. It was just one of those freak things. He made a great play, and all of a sudden he is out. We will see what happens.”


On if Harrison and S Sheldrick Redwine earned more playing time with their interceptions last week:

“I think we have the ability to do that. If things work out, we just have to evaluate where [Harrison] is with the gameplan in terms of executing it and his comfort level because we do not want to put him in a situation he is not ready for. We feel fine moving forward with Sheldrick. He showed playmaking ability as soon as we put him in a game. He was telling me, ‘I have been here before,’ and I was like, ‘I know. I have been here, too.’ He went in and he proved it. We feel fine with Sheldrick if Ronnie can’t make it.”


On Garrett’s strip-sacks and if that comes more naturally to some players, understanding it is something the team practices:

“We emphasize attacking the ball. We do drills. We keep stats on it for practice. We do everything we can because the ball is everything. There is only one football, and we want it more than they do. That is the mindset we try to create. I do believe some guys naturally just have the ability. Guys that can get to the quarterback, if they get there, they just have that knack for trying to get the ball instead of getting a big hit. You see that across the league with some guys. Right now, Myles is doing it. We are happy he is doing it. We want him to continue to do it.”


On the impact if Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey and G David DeCastro are unable to play on Sunday:

“We know those are two of their better players, but anywhere across the league, it is always the next man so whoever they put in, I am sure is capable of performing at a high level. We do not want to underestimate anybody just because somebody comes in like, ‘Oh, hey now we have an advantage.’ We studied some of the guys we feel like may play. We are ready to go, but our plan is really based more on how we want to attack with what we are doing than actually who is in there.”


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