DC Steve Wilks (10.24.19)

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

Opening statement:

“Good morning. It was great to get back to work this week coming off the bye. It is good to have (CBs) Denzel (Ward) and Greedy (Williams) back into the mix. We definitely have a big challenge ahead of us this week going against what many consider to be probably the best quarterback to play the game and one of the best coaches to ever coach this game. We have a big challenge ahead.”


On the cohesiveness and efficiency of the Patriots OL:
“They are efficient as you just mentioned. The (Patriots) O line coach (Dante Scarnecchia) has been there for a long period of time. (Patriots QB Tom) Brady has a lot to do with that in controlling things up front with the protection. He does a tremendous job of really getting the ball out quick. Those guys are dynamic in the run game towards coming off the ball, trying to get to the second level with linebackers. They do a great job of cutting off the backside. We just have to do a great job of playing with our hands, striking and shedding up front.”


On standout attributes of Patriots WR Julian Edelman:

“So many things, but I just think he is one of the best receivers in the slot. He is just so dynamic. Extremely smart. Quick. Physical. I like the mere fact that he is not just a receiver that catches the ball; he does a lot of the dirty work when you start looking at how he blocks, coming back inside in the core, blocking on linebackers and safeties. Hard-nosed, tough player that can definitely make things happen. He can change the game at any moment.”


On what Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu adds to the Patriots offense:

“I think he adds exactly what I just said, the toughness and the physicality. He is a guy that is not afraid to block. He is going to catch the ball over the middle. I competed against him quite a bit in the NFC South. A good receiver. He fits definitely their mold.”


On if Sanu ever threw passes as a WR against him:

“Yes, he did.”


On the Patriots having WRs like Sanu or Edelman who can throw the ball:
“He can, and he has shown that in the past. I know they have always had that in their offense in New England so it is something we have to be prepared for.”


On New England’s ability to put together long drives and how that affects opponents:

“Sometimes it takes the sail out of you a little bit. We have to do a great job of really trying to stop that momentum as much as we can and get off the field on third down. We can’t allow Brady to sustain drives. He is just so dynamic in doing that. These guys try to stay ahead of the sticks. They operate on third-and-short. We have to find a way to create negative plays on first and second down to try to get them into seven-plus [yards on third down].”


On Patriots QB Tom Brady and the cerebral part of his game:
“Extremely smart, very talented, accurate with the ball. He has been in that system for so long. He makes everybody in that system so much better. He knows how to get rid of the ball. He is not going to take a sack. He can get the offense in the right situation based on what he has seen defensively. Very smart, highly intelligent and very efficient with the ball.”


On teams who have success against the Patriots typically creating pressure on Brady, specifically the NY Giants Super Bowl victory:

“When you talk about the Giants, you have to understand exactly the four guys they had up front (laughter). They had four other guys that were on the bench. That particular year, they had a great rotation of eight guys, but you are right. You have to pretty much try to defend them with four. You blitz them. As I mentioned before, he gets rid of the ball so quick so you have to be creative with coverage and some of the things that you are doing, trying to make him hold the ball.”


On if a game like this is the reason why the Browns have constructed this DL:

“I would say so. Not only this game, every game is just trying to make a difference up front in the things we are doing. We can’t shy away from the mere fact that they have a great running game. We have to do a great job of stopping the run first and trying to put those guys in the situations and try to get them in third-and-long.”


On defeating the Patriots as a member of the Panthers defensive coaching staff on the road in 2017 during a high-scoring game:

“Anytime you can get a win in the National Football League, it really does not matter about the score. When you are facing Brady, it is hard to try to limit his touches and his opportunities to get the ball in the end zone. As (Head Coach) Freddie (Kitchens) talks about all of the time, we have to complement one another in all three phases. That was a great feeling. That was probably the last time they lost up there so we are going to try to do everything we can to try and put ourselves in that position.”


On if it is a ‘good problem’ to have this week with Ward and Williams returning following solid play from CBs T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell:
“T.J. (Carrie) and Terrance (Mitchell) have done a great job. It is great to have Denzel and Greedy back. Those guys are practicing well. We are going to see exactly what they can do this week and how much work load they can take, but all four of those guys to me are deserving.”


On what makes the Patriots run game so good, despite their stats:
“When you look at the two back they have in (Patriots RB James) White and (Sony) Michel, in my opinion, they are a good one-two punch. The numbers may not be there, but it could be a combination of things. They have thrown the ball maybe more based off of who they are facing. I think they have the means, the talent and the skill to be able to run the ball well. We have to make sure that we do everything we can to stop that run.”


On how much facing Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick team adds to a weekly gameplan:
“He is very smart. He is going to make sure his team is prepared as they are each and every week. The one thing that New England is not going to do is they are not going to beat themselves. That is one of the things that we have to learn how to do here is not try to beat ourselves and put ourselves in positions to win football games. It starts with really eliminating penalties on both sides of the ball. Most importantly on the defensive side, we have to do a great job of being smart and putting ourselves in position to make plays.”


On what aspect of Brady’s game impresses him most:
“The consistency. The guy is Mr. Consistent in everything that he does. You just look at the number of wins that they have had over the years and his performance each and every week. He is just consistent.”


On combatting Brady’s ability to eliminate sacks by throwing the ball away quickly, as well as throwaways:

“I think someone said it earlier based off really trying to change up on the back end what you are doing with your coverages, he is going to try to find those windows and we have to make sure we tighten those windows up. Get a body on a body and make him hold the football so (DEs) Myles (Garrett), OV (Olivier Vernon) and those other guys can get there up front.”


On if he has seen signs the Browns DL are close to being able to take over a game:

“I have at spurts, but we need the consistency there. I think we have the talent up front to be able to do that. As someone mentioned earlier, this is a perfect game for those guys to step up and try to be that dominant force up front.”


On what Ward and Williams bring to the Browns secondary with their return:

“No. 1, just their skillset. You look at both of those guys coming out of college, they come from a program that played a lot of man. This is a game that we may have to do that just to be able to tighten things up. The physicality in the run game, these guys do a great job of blocking support so our corners have to come up and replace on the edges. To have both of those guys back is exciting. We will see exactly how much they play this week.”


On if anything occurred during the bye week that would result in DE Genard Avery being more likely to be active on Sunday or if Avery doesn’t fit the defensive scheme:

“It is not so much that. I know there is a lot of speculation out there, but I think when you look at the big picture and when you talk about 53 guys, if you guys really want to try and help us out, I think you can petition to the league – I do not know if it will work – to where you may get all 53 guys up on gameday. When you look at the big picture, sometimes it equates to special teams. It is not just defense and what we are trying to get done. It is really the big picture of the team. Which guys are up? Who is going to help out more on special teams? The rotation that particular week up front on defense, is it more of a running team? Do we need more of a run-stopper in there? I think Genard brings a great skillset. I think he has tremendous speed off the edge. I think he has the ability to get to the quarterback and affect the game in a positive way. We will see exactly what happens this week and who is up. I am sure if he is, he will make a major impact on the game.”


On S Eric Murray’s strengths in the first six games:
“No. 1, I like his physicality. I pride myself on having a physical secondary, and that is the one thing he has shown over the weeks. We are going to need that this week, particularly being in the slot with Edelman. A guy that is going to get in there and do the dirty work, I think he is going to do that. Again, he is physical in the run game, but we are going to have to play a physical style of game in order to give us a chance to win.”


On the amount of turnovers the Patriots defense has forced through seven games:

“It is pretty amazing. Those guys do a good job of really disguising their coverages. Up front, they come off the ball well and put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. You look on the back end, I think (Patriots DB Devin) McCourty has like five interceptions. They just played a dominating game the other night. Definitely something to try to pattern yourself after. I think they do a tremendous job, and hopefully, we can try to get the same thing going this week on our side of the ball.”


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