DC Joe Woods (11.19.20)

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods:

On challenges Eagles QB Carson Wentz presents for the Browns defense: 

“A lot of challenges. I think he has full command of their offense. He does a lot of audibles and checks at the line of scrimmage. If you do it all right and he scrambles, he is a big man. You see that all over the tape. He keeps plays alive for those guys. He is a big, critical part of their offense. We are definitely going to need to be on top of everything – rush, coverage and if he does break lose, getting him down.”

On if the film shows Wentz’s inconsistency this season and what the Browns can do to capitalize on it: 

“When I watch it, I just feel like he is trying to do as much as he can for the team in order for those guys to make plays. At times, whether it is rush or whether they are covering their receivers well, he may probably have some throws that he wants back. I think that is where the inconsistencies come. When you watch him, he is really just trying to make plays for his team.”

On injuries impacting the Eagles offense early in the season and how Eagles RB Miles Sanders, WR Travis Fulgham and TE Zach Ertz could impact the game if they have more opportunities to contribute: 

“That was something we talked about earlier in the week. They are a team that has fought through injuries, and they are getting a lot of guys back and a lot of their guys back this week. To what level and to what extent, we do not know that right now. When you surround a quarterback of this caliber with more weapons, it definitely makes it a tougher situation for us defensively. We are prepared for it. We understand it may happen. Again, we are going to have to play at our best to have a chance.”

On Sanders and the danger Sanders poses: 

“A lot of danger. Growing up, you always had a couple of kids in the neighborhood that could just juke you and it was hard to get them down. I look at him, and he is a daylight runner. He sees daylight, he is running from opposite color jersey and he is very slippery, very quick. You have to be very disciplined in your gaps because as soon as you think he is going to stick it inside, he bounces outside and challenges your leverage. I think he is doing a great job, and I believe he is [third] in yards per carry in the NFL.”

On if facing RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in practice can help the Browns defense prepare for Sanders: 

“Based on the talent we have at running back with all our guys, just getting an opportunity to see them throughout the week in practice when we do go good-on-good against our ones, it definitely helps. That guy, he is a little different, too, so we will have to be ready.”

On factors for the Browns defense’s improved performance last week: 

“We like to feel that based on our self-scout, some of the adjustments we made and some of the changes helped us play better. We were far from perfect. Overall, I felt like we were more consistent in terms of what we were doing. We have played a couple of games where the weather has been a factor. I think all those things – the self-scout, the guys getting better and the conditions – helped us to play the game last week.”

On if there is anyone in particular who he looks forward to lightening the mood during virtual meetings: 

“We have been doing it for so long. We started the offseason [virtual]. It feels normal to us. I try to make sure I keep it light with the guys, and all the coaches do a great job with their presentations of making it lively, just really trying to grab the guys’ attention. From that standpoint, I feel like we have been doing a good job.”

On S Ronnie Harrison Jr. playing more near the line of scrimmage and blitzing:

“It was just part of the plan. Week to week, you do different things in your gameplan. Just part of our gameplan last week involved a lot more pressure because of the danger of the quarterback running in (Texans QB) Deshaun Watson. With Ronnie, he is a big, athletic player. He loves the game. We just felt real confident putting him in those positions.”

On if there is anything Harrison could have done differently on the play where he came close to sacking Watson:

“Not really (laughter). Deshaun is a tremendous athlete. We had a couple of shots, not only him. There were a couple of other players, we had him dead to rights and he found a way to wiggle out of it. That just is a testament to his ability level and how well he is playing this year.”

On if it feasible in this day and age for an NFL team to win a game without throwing a pass:

“I do not know. I do not know if it has been done. I am sure there are some teams where you look and where they threw the ball eight times, nine times so it is very close. I just think it depends on the effectiveness of what you are doing, but to go a whole game and just run it every time, I do not know if you can get away with that one.”

On if it would be tough for a coach to call a run on every offensive in this day and age:

“I would assume so because I think at some point, you just put everybody on the line of scrimmage and say you are not going to run. We have been in a situation where we tried to do that, as well.”

On what is lost when all defensive players cannot be in the same room together:

“I think you miss some of the camaraderie, the communication and just the fellas hanging out together, seeing them in the guys and getting a little joke here and there. You miss those little things. I feel like when you are on Zoom, the details of what we have to present to the players defensively, you have to put a lot more time into it. It has to be cleaner. I think their preparation standpoint from the coaches to the players has to be more detailed, and I feel like the players in order to get the information that they have to be more detailed and more wired in. I feel like it has helped our learning process, just in terms of learning the new scheme we put in. From the offseason to this point, I feel like the guys have done a great job.”

On if there is more of an individual burden on players to prepare, including to watch more film at home:

“Yeah, it is a trust factor. We talk about that. Beginning of the week, it is really up to them to be a professional. That is their job. Their job is football so they have to have a plan starting Monday the whole way up until game time in terms of their preparation at home. So far, I feel like the guys have done a good job.”

On DE Myles Garrett being ill this week and how the coaching staff has been able to prepare Garrett and the team with Garrett out of the building:

“Obviously, we have to follow the protocols, and the hope is that everything will work out. We will find that out. In terms of him not being there, you always have to move forward. We have had multiple players that were not available for us on giving weeks, and you have to continue on with the gameplan. There may be some things that you hold or some things that maybe you have another guy practice that may be specific for him, but you have to keep moving forward with your gameplan.”

On if Garrett has been present in all of the team’s meetings:

“Virtually, you can still [meet]. I guess that is one of the positives about having virtual meetings because you have the ability to still have virtual meetings with any of the players in situations like that. That has been a positive for us, and we will see what happens.”

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