DC Joe Woods (10.29.20)

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods:

On Raiders QB Derek Carr’s performance and low interception numbers this season: 

“I think first and foremost, their run game. They have some good players in all positions. Their offensive line is big. I think just the threat of their running game, people get in eight-man fronts and doing different things to stop the run is putting them in good positions when they are throwing the ball deep. They have it packaged very well, and they are doing a nice job with it.”

On what Carr is doing well this year: 

“I think he is more comfortable in the offense. He has been with (Raiders Head) Coach (Jon) Gruden for a while. I think they have kind of found out what they really want to do with the system. There are a lot of different things they do from play action to drop-back pass to RPOs. It is very versatile in terms of what they are able to do with their whole offensive scheme. I think he is just comfortable with it now.”

On if he expects DE Myles Garrett to play on Sunday: 

“I am waiting to find out. That is what I am hoping for, and I will find out a little bit later on what is going on.”


On how much help Garrett needs in generating more of a pass rush and if he would like other players to step up more: 

“We would like to. It is not always the sacks to be honest with you. It is really pressuring the quarterback, moving him off the spot and getting him to throw the ball a little bit quicker, and I feel like we have done that. I think the guys will eventually get him. Right now, I think Myles is playing really well, and we need him to continue to do that.”

On if DE Olivier Vernon and other Browns players could benefit if Garrett played at RE more: 

“We have done that. (Defensive line) Coach (Chris) Kiffin does a nice job with the defensive line in terms of coming up with different games that are running and different alignments to try to create matchups for us. We move Myles around, but we move other guys around too, whether it is right side or inside. We are going to continue to do that, and then hopefully, we get some more sacks.”


On Garrett’s production in October as Garrett was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month: 

“He is playing really well. I think he is comfortable with what we are doing. We had several games where we are running similar things. The pieces may be different and the call may be a little bit different, but I feel like he is getting more comfortable. We are getting some of the matchups we want and some of the protections we want. Hopefully, he continues on that track. It is good for everybody and the whole team.”

On how much attention the Browns defense has to pay to Raiders TE Darren Waller and what Waller does to open up the rest of the Raiders passing attack: 

“We have to pay a lot of attention to him. Anytime we have a dynamic tight end, it is always who is going to match up against him. You have to have awareness. You really have to put together your defensive schemes to account for him. He creates a problem for every team they play against. I feel like we have a nice plan and we have different ways to try to cover him.”


On if there is a common problem with the Browns defense giving up 30 points in five games:  

“It definitely is a problem, and it is something we are trying to address every week. For me, first and foremost, I want to make sure I put them in the best calls I can give them an opportunity to make plays. From there, it comes down to situational football, getting off the field on third down and playing better in the red zone. There are a lot of factors going into it. It is something we are working on. It just has to show up on Sunday.”

On how the Browns LBs are developing this season: 

“I feel at times at each position they are all doing good things, whether it is the D line, linebacker or in the back end. We just have not been able to consistently put together a solid game for four quarters, whether we start off with the interception or give up a few plays in the second quarter or fourth quarter. I just think at each position, we are looking for consistency. We are looking for guys just to execute their technique and play with maximum effort. We have not been able to do it for 60 minutes. Hopefully, this week, we get closer to doing that.”


On if LB Mack Wilson is fully back from his injury: 

“He is out there. Is he 100 percent? Not right now, but he is progressing that way. He is feeling more comfortable each and every week. We just keep pressing him and just tell him to go out there and try not to do too much. We are trying to limit his reps somewhat and give him a little bit more each week. I think he is getting better each game.”

On if Vernon is still fighting through injuries from earlier in the season: 

“No, I do not feel that. I know for a while he was struggling physically just coming back initially from the injury. Right now, I feel like he is definitely healthy. I think he is just trying to find his niche and just get comfortable with some of the things we are doing with the defensive line. He is very close. He has had a couple plays where he has hit the quarterback right as he is throwing the ball. I think it is just a matter of time you will start to see the production from him.”


On if moving Vernon to different positions on the DL has affected his play: 

“I do not think so. I think his natural position is on the right side, and I think last week he took 50 reps there. We will do things again to create advantages for us and do things to attack protections. Part of that is going to be in moving around, whether he is inside or whether he is dropping. I just think that makes us overall better defensively when we can do those things.”

On how much CB Denzel Ward has meant to the secondary, including his instincts and athleticism: 

“It is just what you said, all those things. When you have a corner that can run, is smart, instinctive, you can put them out there and match him up one on one with anybody. That really makes you feel comfortable as a play caller just in terms of opening up your whole menu. Each and every game, you just see him make multiple plays on the ball. Last week, he had a couple of nice plays in the run game. It reminded me of (former NFL CB) Antoine Winfield (Sr.) when he came up on the TFL. He is playing really well for us right now.”


On Ward sliding under the block to get a tackle for loss on a screen play: 

“Yeah, that is what I was saying with Antoine Winfield on that play. He played at Ohio State, too. That was nice. He understands the types of blocks coming his way. He understands his tackling opportunities. He is getting better at that every week.”

On how he handled the shootout between Bengals QB Joe Burrow and QB Baker Mayfield and what he expects to see from Burrow and the Browns in the years ahead: 

“I am kind of right now living in the now. Unfortunately, I am getting used to these shootouts. We need it the other way where we play a little bit better and keep the points low. Obviously, Joe Burrow is a good quarterback just based on the two games that we played against them. He is going to be around for a long time in this division so something you are going to have to deal with at least two times a year. Again, hopefully, it is more about the whole defense, not just the DBs or the D line. When we play guys like that, we have to play well at all levels to have success.”


On if the shootout with the Bengals will serve the Browns defense well if it is another shootout this week: 

“We have already been in several so unfortunately, I am comfortable with it. I do not like it. You never know. [Las Vegas] is an explosive offense. They have very good players at all their skill positions. Their offensive line is big. They do a good job in the run game and the pass game. They are not turning the ball over. We are going to have our hands full. Hopefully, it is not a shootout and we come out of it playing well defensively.”

On what makes this Browns defense different with the ability to come up with takeaways and turn the game around, despite giving up significant points and yards: 

“I feel like it is a unit that is getting closer and coming together every week, just from the front end to the back end, the relationships and the trust that these guys have developed. It comes through going through those battles on gameday. Each week, guys just trust one another a little bit more and understand what they are going to do in certain situations. The thing that we have done best, which is one of the most important statistical categories in the NFL, is turnovers. We have to continue to do that. That has really been one of the main reasons we have been able to win some of these close games. As long as guys get aligned, they do their job and execute their techniques, there are going to be plays available to make, and we have made our fair share so far this year.”

On if DE Porter Gustin: 

“He is still part of the rotation. Sometimes based on what we are doing defensively, he may get more reps than other weeks. That is something we talk about at the beginning of the week. This is a good game for him so he will be more along his normal rep count. That is what we are anticipating. He does it the right way, he plays hard and we love him.”

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