DC Joe Woods (2.19.20)

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods:

On the type of defense the Browns will have this year after watching last year’s tape and evaluating personnel:

“Just from last year, playing against these guys and having a chance to look at the tape, we have a talented roster. There are some guys who are very talented on the defensive side of the ball at the right positions so I feel like I am really coming to a very fortunate situation where we have some of the pieces in place.”


On getting everyone to play together to have success:

“That is what happens through meeting with those guys, setting the direction for them, the things we will do in practice and the things we are going to ask them to do. Through that whole process, we will get those guys playing together.”


On key positions on defense:

“Rushers and cover guys.”


On what stands out about the Browns’ rush and coverage players:

“I think our front is very good and is very talented. It is going to be our job as coaches to get them to play as good as they can and to their ability level. The back end, we have some young corners. I have coached corners my whole career and the back end. When you have some young, talented corners, that excites you.”


On the style of defense this year compared to last year:

“Really with defenses, everybody really runs the same stuff. It is just how you do it. Everybody is going to run three-deep, everybody is going to run man, man pressure and fire zone, but I think it is about how you put the package together. I want to make sure I give offenses a lot of the same looks but play different coverages and make them figure it out at the line of scrimmage. That has always kind of been my mindset so that is what I am going to try to do here.”


On the decision for the Browns to incorporate a 4-3 base defense:

“That is what the personnel here is. I have coached in both systems – the 3-4 when I was with Denver and the 4-3 really, for most of my career – but the personnel is set up to run a 4-3. I think we have the right personnel. I think it is a natural fit. For me, it is very easy to do.”


On coaching DE Myles Garrett and anticipation for working with him from a physical and mental side following his suspension:

“It is an unfortunate situation what happened. I think sometimes emotions of the game get to you. I am sure it is something he has learned from and wants to put behind him. My job is just to coach him. He is very talented. I coached another player from Texas A&M, (Broncos OLB) Von Miller. I see them both as the same type of player so I just look forward to getting him on the field just to see what he can do.”


On beginning his coaching career in Ohio years ago and similarities between then and now:

“It is the passion. I love grinding. I love putting the time in. For me, first and foremost, I want to be a champion. I think that is the first goal. The second thing is I want people to view me as a good coach whatever I do. The third part is I want to take care of my family. I want to be able to put my kids through school and get them things they need. For me, it is easy to show up to work every day for those goals, and it has been like that for 29 years. I know I am dating myself (laughter).”


On if he will confess to being a Steelers fan as a kid:

“It is the truth. It is what it is. I work for the Browns, and that is what it is.”


On what it means to reach to the Super Bowl:

“It is an unbelievable feeling. You really do not feel it until you actually get there, you land and you see all of the fans and all of the media. Just being in the hotel, the practice facilities and just everything, it is the highest of highs. Fortunately for me, I have been there twice. I wish I could say I was 2-0, but hopefully we get there here, too.”


On balancing diverse looks and making the offense guess coverages with not making schemes too complicated or too simple for players:

“That exactly how I view it. Just putting packages together, the first thing you want to make sure you are doing is trying to stop what the offense is trying to do. Then when you get to third-down situations, you want to make sure you are attacking with pressure. We will have different ways to do that, but I think just trying to coordinate it all together and try to help it work better. We do not want to do so much that our players can’t play fast, but at the same time, I want them to figure it out on Sunday not during the week. We will always have some little wrinkle from the week.”


On if the Browns have the edge rushers needed on defense:

“It never hurts. We keep adding as many as they want. I am cool with that. I think the goal is to add as many talented to your roster as you can – better, the right people. We want the right people, good people here that will be good for the organization, good for the team and do it the right way. If they want to add more rushers or more corners, I am all for it.”


On where he will start when developing the defense:

“Really it is a mixture of everywhere I have been, going back to Tampa, to Minnesota, a little bit of Oakland, Denver and San Fran. Really, everybody kind of runs the same defenses. It is just they get to them different ways. The San Francisco three-deep is a little different in terms of how the coverage works, but I am going to try to run a little bit of that, along with the stuff I have done at the other places. Really just kind of mixing it all together.”


On the Browns secondary and potentially needing new Ss:

“Based on free agency, we are going to have to add some pieces and same thing in the draft. I feel like there is young talent there, and that is all you want as a coach is some players that when you watch tape that you feel like they are good enough to do what you need them to do. We are going to have to add some pieces. We lost a few guys so we will see what happens here.”


On the Browns LBs, including LB Joe Schobert:

“I just had a chance to start looking at those guys to be honest with you. I got here so late, and I am way behind when hiring a staff and all that stuff. I did get a chance to go look at a little bit of tape. He is a good player. This is the NFL. The organization (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager) Andrew (Berry) is going to make the best decision for the Cleveland Browns, whether that is him being here or moving on. I trust him with what his decision making is going to be, but I know he is a good football player.”


On LBs Sione Takitaki and Mack Wilson:

“Through watching other guys, I saw a couple plays with [Wilson], but I have not had a chance to really go and study him. I know he is going to be here so he was not one of the guys that I wanted to look at right away, but I do believe from talking to our linebackers coach Jason Tarver that he feels like he is a talented player that can do what we need him to do.”


On facing QB Baker Mayfield in back-to-back years:

“He is a talented guy, but our whole philosophy in San Francisco was to let our front four hunt. We feel like if we could just mix some coverages up and get them to hold the ball a little bit that we can get after a quarterback. We felt that way about everybody we played. I do not coach him, but I know he is a talented player.”


On if he thought it was cool when 49ers DE Nick Bosa celebrated by planting a flag:

“Because we were winning, yes, but that goes back to college and that is a college rivalry. They had the big game. That was really Bosa’s coming out party. He had a big game and picked the right night to do it.”


On if he and Stefanski ever discussed the potential for one to be a head coach and hiring the other as a coordinator when in Minnesota:

“I think we were both starting off and we were kind of broke, and we probably talked about that wishing. In the recent years, we have had conversations. I will see him down at the combine or other places, and we have had conversations that if something like this were to happen and possibly we could get together. I am so excited for Kevin. I am just telling you, you talk about a guy that has done it the right way. I saw him from when he started out as an assistant to the head coach to where he is today. The one thing with Kevin, I know he says he is authentic, but he is very detailed, very organized, obviously very smart and he has great people skills. He can talk to anybody, and he is going to really demand respect just because of who he is. He is a flat line person, but people really are going to learn just to respect him because of who he is as a person.”


On how important is it that Stefanski and him know each other well:

“It makes it easier because he knows how I work. I was in the same building with him for eight years so he knows my work ethic and everything that I did coaching my position so I feel like he is real comfortable with me and leading the defense. It definitely helps when you know somebody.”


On main lessons from his time as Broncos defensive coordinator:

“It really goes back to first of all organization – just organizing things, managing people and game planning. I was there two years so this will be my third year doing it. I think all those things, the experience, calling the games just you feel more comfortable. It is not something new that you did not expect. I definitely feel more comfortable. The staff we hired, really a bunch of good coaches that I trust that are definitely going to help me put this thing together.”


On emphasizing turnovers, given the Browns’ totals last year:

“It is all about the ball. What we do, what they do on offense and what we do on defense, it is all about the ball. We have to find ways to take it away. (Defensive line coach) Chris Kiffin, D line coach here, he gives all the ball presentations. He did it at San Francisco. It is really just showing examples of ways you can get the ball and how to do it properly with technique. The year before I went out to San Francisco, I think they had seven turnovers. We turned it around last year. I just think we will show them the tape so they know how to do it, and then it is drilled into practice and getting the guys to run to the ball. You can’t create turnovers if you are not running to the ball. If we do all those things, I feel like we can have a good team when it come to that.”


On if there is somebody who influenced him about how to teach the game of football:

“I have had a lot of influences throughout my coaching career going the whole way back to high school. I really do not have the time to go through all the names, but (Notre Dame University Head Coach) Brian Kelly, (former Ohio State and Florida Head Coach) Urban Meyer when I played, (former Illinois State defensive coordinator) John Bowers my position coach. I coached with (Falcons Head Coach) Dan Quinn and (Falcons defensive coordinator) Raheem Morris. All of those guys helped me in some way, but my mentor is definitely (Steelers Head Coach) Mike Tomlin. He has helped me see the game a different way just in terms of how to prepare, and that is the way I do it. It takes some time and you have to grind through it. Really, if there is one guy, he is the guy that has really helped me the most.”


On having family in Cleveland:

“Really, I am from about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh, but most of my immediate family lives in Ohio and they live in Cleveland. I do not know the number, but I probably have more than 50 relatives in the Cleveland/Akron area. When it comes to gameday, we are going to have to have a plan (laughter). I am going to put my wife in charge of it. I have a lot of family, and that is why I am very excited, as well, to be here.”


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