DC Steve Wilks (10.10.19)

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

Opening statement:

“Good morning. To say that we did not pay well Monday night is an understatement. Very embarrassing the way the defense performed. I take full blame and responsibility for that. It is definitely not indicative of who we are. I think when you look at the identity of this defense, each week you are going to tweak a few things. The previous two weeks, I did that and we performed well. What I did, I got outside the fundamentals of what we do. What you saw Monday night, you saw a defense that was thinking too much. They could not get aligned. They played slow. When you see that as  a unit, that is on me. We are going to get back to doing what we do – fundamentals and technique, the identity of what we established from Day 1. We are going to get this thing turned around, and we started that yesterday.”


On the Browns’ tackling deficiencies on Monday:

“When you look at a couple of times, the two that really stand out are the opportunity we had to get off the field on third down when we had them backed up. We just did not wrap up. You saw I believe it was (CB) T.J. (Carrie) at one time and then you saw (S) Jermaine (Whitehead) on another one. Then most importantly, we need population to the ball. We need guys running to the ball, as you talked about proper angle so therefore, we can get them down. You are right, the previous couple of weeks we were good. We broke down the other night, and that is something that we have to improve on. This week, you are going against a great offense and (Seahawks RB Cris) Carson who is going to run the ball just as hard as those guys did last week, as well as (Seahawks RB Rashaad) Penny. We have our work cut out for us again this week.”


On the Browns primarily using a 4-2-5 defense on Monday against a 49ers offense that typically uses two backs:

“We felt No. 1, that our safeties are strong enough, big enough and they understand the run fits. I do not think that really had anything to do with the outcome of the game to be honest. We did not align correctly a times. I thought we were thinking too much. We did set the front right. All of that goes back on me. I think we were trying to do too much, and it showed in our performance. There are times where you are going to see maybe a guy or two or sometimes even a position group that is going to struggle a little bit, but when the whole defense looks lethargic and slow, I put all that on me. We are going to get it corrected.”


On the challenge preparing for Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and Wilson’s ability to extend plays, particularly on a short week:

“That is so true. I have faced Russell a couple of times, probably eight times in the last six or seven years wither it is regular season or the playoffs. He is so dynamic at extending plays. Those guys from my understanding, they practice that every day, You look at (Seahawks WR Tyler) Lockett, that is the guy he is trying to find. Those guys do a great job of really scrambling and trying to work to get open. We have to do a great job containing this guy, which is going to be tough, but we have to try to keep him in the pocket. When he does get, got to make sure that we plaster on the back end. You are completely right, the play is never over with him. I have seen him make so many plays that you would think the play is over and all of a sudden now he finds a way to get the ball in there.”


On how tough it is to be in the first year as head coach of a team and implementing a new system and culture:

“It is a tough transition whenever you are trying to lay a foundation of your culture and what you want. I think (Head Coach) Freddie (Kitchens) is doing a tremendous job. I really do. I think the expectations and his message, and I think he does a great job of really coaching the players as well as the coaches and laying out a plan of action of how to achieve that. You go back and you look at the first game of the year, and rallying the guys together and getting those guys to respond. We are going to do the same thing this week. That was not indicative of who we are as a defense or a team”


On if Browns players were thinking too much due to how 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan schemes his offense:

“Kyle does a tremendous job. That is a good football team that we just played. Kyle does a tremendous job in his scheme and most importantly, getting those guys ready to play. To me, we went a little too much on what we did on the previous couple of weeks, and each team is different. Having experience with those guys before, I should have not walked down that path. I knew better. We made some adjustments throughout the game, you saw us slowing down a little bit and playing according to how we needed to play in stopping the run some. I am not concerned about it because I know how we can play and how we will play. We started that correction period yesterday, and I saw the results.”


On what the Browns defense can do better than last week when facing Carson:

“It is just gap integrity. Lining up correctly, No. 1. That is the start. Then two, everybody doing their job and staying in their gaps. This is a good football team as I mentioned. Carson and Penny, they run hard. Then you have the element of the play action, the same thing we saw last week with the 49ers. Great eye discipline across the board. We have to do a great job of recovering in the hole off of play action with our linebackers and we got to do a great job of staying over the top of No. 16, Lockett.”


On how managing reps at CB when CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams return, given CBs T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell have played well:

“It is a good problem to have, and we are going to address that problem when it happens. I am worrying about right now stopping this run game with the Seahawks. Seriously, to answer your question, we are going to have some issues when they come back. Those guys are performing well, Terrance as well as T.J. Competition is great. That is what we encourage across the board. The better we are from the standpoint of competition, the better we are going to make this defense. We will see exactly where we are once those guys come back into the fold.”


On trying to defend against incredible plays from talented players like Wilson’s TD pass to Lockett last week:

“It is tough to defend. It is funny, we just watched that play in the meeting and talked about it from the standpoint of scrambling. I think Lockett was probably this close right here as far as his feet being out of bounds, but that is the play that Russell can make. That is the play that he has made over the years. We just have to find ways to try and contain him, and most importantly on the backend, we have to plaster guys, really try to get him out of bounds and knock him down.”


On coaching points from the opening TD touchdown run last week:

“I do not think that one play was really the outcome of the game. Did it get us back on our heels? Yes. I thought we responded. That play can’t happen. When you look at from again starting up front, the 3-technique swim to the guard and allow the guard to get to the second level, we can’ allow that to happen. Now, the linebacker needs to fallback off that particular run but he did not have the opportunity because the guard was in his face, and then the bottom line, the safety has to get him down. Regardless of what happens, we have to find a way to get that guy down in the secondary. Great play by them. Not efficient and definitely not detail on our part.”


On Wilson showing good ball placement in and outside of the pocket:

“He does. It has just been him over the years. I think he is more effective believe it or not when he gets outside the pocket. He is a guy that is not really looking to run. His eyes are constantly down the field and he is looking for that open receiver. That is the challenge for us as someone has already mentioned that we can’t relax in coverage, particularly once he gets outside the pocket.”


On LB Mack Wilson’s performance following the loss of LB Christian Kirksey:

“You see the athleticism there, very skillful. Of course, when you start talking about a rookie compared to a seasoned vet, you are missing some things there. He is going to have some growing pains. You saw that on the first play. I still have total confidence in Mack. I know that he is going to be a good football player for us, and he is going to learn from this like we all are and like I did.”


On the Seahawks TEs, specifically Seahawks TE Will Dissly:

“Very talented. I know they brought (Seahawks TE Luke) Willson back as well, but this guy is just like the guy from last week. Very skillful out in space and is going to look to try and hit you down the seam, particularly in the red zone. Very good in-line blocker, as well. We have another task this week in covering the tight end. I think he is very good.”


On challenges facing teams that run the ball consistently well:
“Each week, it is different. I think you have to tweak some things as I mentioned earlier. This run game is similar to what we saw last week – a little outside zone, zone-read and some gap scheme. Our tackles inside have to play well. We have to play well up front across the board, and our linebackers have to play downhill and try to get the double teams off. We have to do a great job of setting edges in this particular offense. You saw the hesitation last week and guys not striking with violent hands and those things. I think going back to who we are and doing the things that we have done in the past is going to get us to playing fast again. I am not overly concerned. I am disappointed in our performance, but I am not overly concerned about us getting this corrected.”


On if DE Myles Garrett is as aggressive now as the first two games following penalties early in the year:

“I think he is still aggressive, but the thing about it is I think what you are seeing is he is trying to work within the confinements of not getting a penalty. He is still quick off the ball. He is still making some things happen. You saw that one sack he got last week. Can he play better? Of course, he can, and we need that across the board with all those guys up front.”


# # #