DC Joe Woods (10.22.20)

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods:

On if not creating any takeaways against the Steelers reinforces the importance of the team creating turnovers:

“Yes. I just talked to the defense about that this morning and showed them a little cut-up tape. Getting turnovers for us defensively, it changes the game because we either want to score with it, which we have, or we want to get it back for our offense and set them up. Not getting turnovers against Pittsburgh was huge.”

On if the Browns defense had opportunities to create takeaways against the Steelers:

“Oh yeah., there were balls tipped. It just felt like the football gods were not with us. The RPO, we squeezed twice, the ball is in the air and we have three guys around it. The tip on the third one, barely missed it. There were some opportunities. We were just a step slow.”

On if opposing defenses will intentionally target WR Jarvis Landry’s ribs, given Landry is playing with a broken rib:

“No, we never think like that. To be honest with you, guys are playing injured and you rarely ever hear about it. Jarvis is fighting through it. I do not think guys will take shots on people like that to be honest with you.

“For me, I am not coaching that. I hope other people are not coaching that. Just try to play the game clean. That is probably something you have to ask the other team, not me.”

On what he and the Browns learned about Bengals QB Joe Burrow during the Week 2 matchup and how that will impact the team’s gameplan:

“We knew he was a good quarterback just based on the plays that we saw. Seeing it at field level, he does a nice job of going through his progressions. He is not a one-look quarterback. I think they catered some of their system to what he did at LSU. You could see that from what they were doing. Overall, as we continue to watch tape, he is really doing a nice job executing their offense. I tell you what, he can take a shot, too.”

On how the Browns gameplan will be impacted if Bengals RB Joe Mixon is unable to play on Sunday:

“We know he is a good back, but they are capable at the position. With (Bengals RB) Giovani (Bernard) there, he has been playing for a long time and he has been productive, as well. Next man up for them. We have to be ready regardless. They have sound schemes. They are doing a good job putting it together. We have to be ready to go regardless of who the back is.”

On S Ronnie Harrison Jr. and LB Mack Wilson getting closer to full speed and if they can provide significant upgrades to the defense when 100 percent:

“Like what we see from both of them. With Mack playing last year, we had a chance to really evaluate him. For us, Ronnie has been getting a little bit better every week, and in the Colts game, a big play running down the sideline. We definitely feel like they have a future and will be very good players for us defensively.”

On if the Bengals passing game has improved this season and how the Bengals WRs have developed since Week 2:

“They are being productive. (Bengals WR) Tee Higgins – he is No. 85 – he is a guy who has emerged, as well. They drafted him this past season. They have a full complement of receivers. That is why they probably threw it against us 61 times. They have good players out there. You can see them being productive in the passing game. They are probably getting more comfortable with the scheme. It will be another hard game for us where we are going to have to match up and win some outside.”

On if it is odd that Bengals WR A.J. Green may essentially be the team’s No. 3 WR option:

“He is still getting his touches when you look at the numbers. I know he is coming back off of an injury so who knows where he is. When he does get the ball, he looks like the same A.J. Green you have seen in the past. I just think they have some other guys around him they are trying to spread the ball to.”

On the significance of having a player like CB Kevin Johnson in the nickel, given the Bengals’ WRs and their tendency to run three WR sets, and how Johnson has played since returning from the lacerated liver:

“Kevin is playing well. I think the first game, he was working off the rust. He was probably a little nervous, as well. Since then, I think he has stepped up and has played extremely well for us and will continue to get better. In the NFL, it is critical that you have a third corner because you play more nickel defense. They are going to be 60-65 percent in nickel. He gives us the ability to match up and do some things. I am looking forward to watching him play, and hopefully, he plays well on Sunday.”

On his conversation with CB Denzel Ward following the Steelers’ TD on the out-and-up route:

“Anytime there is a big play, and that was a play that he got hit on in the game, the first thing that you look at is what did he do technically. There were some things that we thought he could do better at the top of the route in terms of his eye discipline. Sometimes you get anxious and you think, ‘Hey, here comes the big one.’ Sometimes when it looks too good and feels too good, there is a problem. That is what happened to him. He just had big eyes instead of keeping his eyes in the right place.”

On the challenge evaluating the Browns personnel and identity when having to rotate in several different defensive players due to injury:

“It is tough because there are certain things in our defense that we want to do, but right now, it is probably not the right thing to do. It is just getting more reps and figuring out what guys can do and how much you can throw on their plate. I think it is a problem that is going on throughout the NFL that everybody is dealing with, and we are in the same boat. We are not going to make excuses for it. We are just going to keep pushing forward and just try to keep adding things that we feel are going to help us play better defense.”

On how S Karl Joseph has looked after returning to practice from injury:

“He is coming back. He is going to be out there today. He will take some reps. We will see where he is today.”

On Joseph being someone who plays with a chip on his shoulder:

“I think he has always felt like he is – you hear him talking and all the guys talked at one point during the offseason – and I feel like he probably felt like he was overlooked out of high school and overlooked in college. I just think he has an internal chip where he wants to prove to everybody that he can play. Obviously, coming from Oakland and not getting another contract there, I just think that is something he always has in the back of his mind. My biggest thing is, ‘Hey, you are still in the NFL and you are playing. Just show up and play the best you can, but don’t try to play and make plays outside of what you are supposed to do.’ That has been my biggest coaching point to him.”

On DE Myles Garrett’s success this season and if that will lead to more double teams and chips and how the Browns will react to it, including moving Garrett to different spots on the defensive line:

“Part of it is moving him around. We are definitely aware of the looks where they are going to chip or slide the protection to him, but you have to have balance on your defense. If a team is going to slide the protection to him, we may blitz away and you have to make a choice. I think you have to put that on teams and then people are going to have to make a decision on how they are going to protect.”

On if the Steelers were successful in trying to minimize Garrett’s impact on the game:

“You have to give them credit. They played well. They made plays against us. (Steelers QB) Ben (Roethlisberger) is a veteran quarterback in getting the ball out of his hands so there was some protection and he was getting the ball out of his hands quick. It was a combination of a few things. Overall, they did a good job.”

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