DC Steve Wilks (10.4.19)

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

Opening statement:

“Good morning. A very impressive win last week against a divisional opponent. The one thing about this league is you do not have time to sit around and pat yourself on the back. We have another tough game this week against the 49ers, an extremely good offense. They run the ball well, play-action pass the ball down the field. It is going to be a tough one.”


On game planning for 49ers TE George Kittle:
“In my opinion, I think he is one of the best in the league. He does so much from a standpoint of they put him out at the slot and they put him out at No. 1. Very athletic. Does a great job with YAC after the catch. He does a tremendous job making guys miss out in space and can take the top off. It is very difficult because he poses the elements just like a receiver once you put him out in space.”


On 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo since returning from injury:

“I think he is performing well. He can make very throw. He is putting the guys in position. The one thing I will say is he does not force things in there. He is really smart with the ball and knows exactly when to check it down and when to force it down the field. I think he is playing well right now.”


On the importance of the Browns DEs keeping contain on the edges to stop the run while creating pressure:
“They are all about trying to create edges on the defense so it is very important that we do a great job of penetrating up front, trying to set the edge and doing a great job of setting the perimeter coming up to try and support the football.”


On if preparing for 49ers’ Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense and run scheme is much different than other teams who do not run the same style:

“No because teams are always trying to at some point in time trying to get to the edge. We saw it a couple weeks ago the same thing with the Rams. It is just an element of what we teach and everything we do starts up front. We have to have a great game up front this week. That is going to be the key.”


On 49ers LT Justin Skule starting his second career game and if that is a matchup the Browns can target:

“When you look at what they are doing and I know this is only his second start, I think they have only given up two sacks all year. They are doing a great job of protecting the quarterback. Garoppolo does a great job of getting the ball out quick and understanding he can’t hold on to it. We have to take advantage of all matchups across the board and find different ways of getting to the quarterback. Most importantly, as we have talked before with Kittle and trying to find ways of stopping him. When you look at the running backs, I love what they have back there and it is by committee. They do not miss a beat when they rotate those guys in and out.”

On the Browns defense covering outside zones and stretch runs:

“I think No. 1, it is just a mere fact with how they establish the run game and then everything off the play-action looks exactly like the run. Kyle does a tremendous job with how he sets things up and how he schemes. This is going to be a great game for us from the standpoint of eye discipline and making sure our eyes are in the right spot because you will get a lot of what I call window dressing with a lot of motion trying to really take your eyes off of your main focus and your target.”


On 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk’s role in their offense:

“They will get in 21 personnel and move him out into the slot, and he will be out there like Kittle. He can stretch he field vertically and does a great job with the wheel routes. That is one of his staples. He is tremendous in the backfield from the standpoint of blocking and catching the ball coming out of the backfield. They have weapons across the board. We have not even talked about (49ers WR Marquise) Goodwin in the vertical taking the top off and (49ers WR Dante) Pettis. It is going to be a task across the board just trying to slow this offense down.”


On the satisfaction of S Jermaine Whitehead playing at such a high level:

“Satisfaction it gives me, but I am not surprised. I think we can go back to the spring and I told you guys how I felt about him and just his impact on this defense. Sometimes it may not stand out from the standpoint of the splash plays it did this past week, but Jermaine is extremely smart and he does a great job. He is like (LB) Joe (Schobert) out there just really regulating the back end, getting everybody lined up and communicating. He finds himself in position to make plays as he did last week. I am excited that he is out there, very happy with his performance last week and it is well-deserving.”


On DT Devaroe Lawrence bringing energy to the team:

“That is what they call it? Energy (laughter)? Devaroe, he does bring energy a lot. Performed well throughout training camp and made a lot of production plays – tackles for loss, sacks. He is still growing. He is still coming into his own, but I like the mere fact how we rotate up front and have a lot of confidence in those guys – as well as (DT) Daniel (Ekuale). When they come in, we are not going to miss a beat.”


On the Browns secondary performing well the past two weeks following multiple injuries:

“There is a lot of trust in the individuals who are out there, No. 1. I think the guys truly believe in the system and what we are doing. I think it is a great job by the coaches getting these guys prepared and ready to play. When you look at (CBs) T.J. (Carrie) and you look at Terrance Mitchell, I have talked about how those guys have played a lot in this league before so I was not really surprised with how they performed and how they are playing right now.”


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