DC Joe Woods (9.24.20)

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods:

On LB Mack Wilson and CBs Kevin Johnson and Greedy Williams returning to practice this week: 

“It is good to see those guys back out there. It really just shows you how committed they are to the team. To see Mack back out there, Kevin and Greedy, we are taking it day by day, but we are working our way back and getting those guys on the field.”


On if he sees similarities between Washington’s DL and the 49ers’ DL last year:

“I really have not flipped over and watched them, but from everything I hear, I think it is very similar just in terms of those guys having first-round draft picks across their defensive line.”

On the boost Johnson and Williams returning could potentially give to the Browns secondary:

“Definitely a big boost. Both of those guys are young guys but guys that have been starters in the league and proven they can play at a high level and Kevin having the ability to play multiple positions. We just have to be smart moving forward with those guys not trying to put everything on them from the beginning and just kind of ease them back into it.”

On what Wilson can bring to the Browns defense that may have been lacking in the first two games:

“Mack is a highly competitive player. He just brings that toughness to the defense. When he is out there, he is just going 100 miles an hour, and I think guys feed off of that energy. Getting him back in the fold will be critical for us defensively just because of what he brings to the entire team, not only the defense.”

On if there is a sense of relief to potentially getting Johnson, Williams and Wilson back earlier than what may have initially been expected:

“I do not feel like it is a sense of relief. I just feel like you are getting back to where you have more bullets. There are more things we can do. We can be more versatile and create some different packages that we want to create. I think that is the biggest boost. For the guys that have been playing, I think now they are gaining confidence. They are out there on the game field. They are making some plays. Overall for the whole defense, it gives us more depth and more confidence at each position.”

On DE Porter Gustin:

“The first thing is I always see him out there in pre-practice doing these leg stretches on the sled (laughter). I know he prepares. You love a guy like that because he gives you everything he has on every play. He is a guy who when you watch him, guys see him. I think he pushes other guys to play at the same level that he plays. It is good to have him out there and see him have some success.”

On having DE Adrian Clayborn as a veteran presence on the DL and Clayborn assisting Gustin:

“It really helps a lot. I think the more veteran guys that are proven in this league helps the younger guys in terms of development and in terms of preparing themselves. I was out on the field the other day, and they were just going through some games and some stunts on the defensive line, and he had some little coaching points. It is stuff that he has learned from being out there and being in the fire. I think having him as a veteran presence has really helped us.”

On the biggest areas to improve on third down after not being able to get off the field:

“Just that – not being able to get off the field (laughter). I will tell you and you all know we were 0-5 on fourth down. You look at it two ways: you are happy we held them on five third downs, but the fourth downs we did not. That was a mix of different things I was trying to do – man, single-high man, two-high man and mixing in some zones. For me, it is a feeling out process because you are really trying to evaluate what your players are capable of doing. You want to put them in a good position and not giving them too much. You sit back and we can do this, we can add this and we can do this, and then you are like, ‘Eh, they can’t handle that right now.’ I think we slowly have to add things as we continue to gain experience on defense. At the same time, do not give them so much that they can’t execute.”

On if part of the Browns’ adjustments on defense relate to having more familiarity with the scheme and personnel, including after a modified offseason program and preseason schedule:

“Yeah, and I do not want to make excuses for our failures. Part of the process is getting stuff on tape, evaluating guys and teaching them that you are off on this technique or you did not execute this coverage properly or whatever it may be. I think the more we play, the more experience we get. I feel like then we will improve defensively.”

On if he reached out to 49ers DE Nick Bosa after his injury on Sunday:

“I did not get the opportunity. I talked to a couple of coaches there. Obviously, they feel for Nick, just because of what he has meant to the team for everything he has done and he did for last year as a rookie. They are very confident he is going to recover, and it has always been the next man up attitude there so I am sure they will recover and be fine.”

On if he is getting a better understanding what S Ronnie Harrison Jr. can do in the defense and if Harrison could see more defensive snaps soon:

“Yes. He loves football. That dude practices with his hair on fire. I was in there taking snaps as scout team quarterback, and man, he was scaring me in terms of what he was doing. He brings that type of presence to our defense, but you do not want to put him on the field until you feel like he knows enough to have success because if he goes out there and he is not comfortable and does not execute, now you are kind of working backwards. He will be in the picture more this week and the upcoming weeks, but we definitely want to put him in there based on what we know he can handle.”

On players potentially returning to a game after not practicing for consecutive weeks:

“I do not prefer that. I want some reps, practice reps with our guys. There are different things each week that teams do that you have to be on point in terms to defend. If you can’t get out there and go at high-tempo and get those reps, it is hard to execute it on gameday. The guys are out there participating. We have to take it day by day and evaluate them, and hopefully, we get them all back for the game this week.”

On DE Myles Garrett creating the strip-sack on Thursday night and if he has talked to Garrett since then about needing to make those type of plays regularly to become Defensive Player of the Year, one of Garrett’s goals:

“We made an adjustment at halftime. With OV (DE Olivier Vernon) out, we were doing some different things with Myles that we really want to do moving forward. Just the little adjustment we made at halftime worked. It was great to see it work. We definitely want to see Myles do more of that. I really do not talk to him about Defensive Player of the Year and all that type of stuff. I just want him to be the best defensive player for us. We know he is capable of wrecking a game when he is playing at his best. I think that is what he is focused on, and hopefully, that shows up this week.”

On DT Larry Ogunjobi’s performance this season and Ogunjobi means to the Browns defensive:

“He means a lot. He is kind of behind closed doors like maybe the sole of the defensive line. Just when you hear him talk, he is always talking about something meaningful. When you watch him work, you see him do things in practice because I always try to pull out positives, practice plays and areas that we need to improve, but when you show him how to do something in practice and he can back it up by him doing it in the game, I think it shows other players, ‘If we practice like we are going to play on Sunday, we are going to make plays.’ I think the has brought that aspect to the defense.”

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