DC Steve Wilks (9.13.19)

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

Opening statement:

“Sometimes I think the difficult part about this session here on Thursday is that we, I have really gotten over last week and moved on, and I know you guys probably have a lot of questions about last week’s game. I know (Head Coach) Freddie (Kitchens) has laid it out on the table, and it is hard to win when you have as many penalties as we had as a team and most importantly, even as a defense. I believe we had seven of those and the explosive plays over the top, which you can’t do in the National Football League. We had a good practice the last couple of days. Excited about where we are. Looking forward for this opportunity that we have in New York. With that.”


On NY Jets QB Sam Darnold being ruled out for Monday:

“To be quite honest, we really have not put a lot of thought into it. What I mean by that is our plan is not going to change our approach. (NY Jets QB) Trevor Siemian is a quality quarterback in the National Football League. I competed against him before and coached against him. He is more than capable of stepping in and making things happen for the Jets. Our approach is still we have to do a great job coming in there executing our gameplan, regardless of who is at quarterback.”


On Siemian:

“I think he is smart. I think he can read the defenses well. I think he can make every throw. He is very poised in the pocket. I think he is going to do a great job of trying to manage the offense.”


On correcting penalties and the cause of the penalties:

“No. 1, it starts with just lack of discipline and technique. We have to trust in our technique. Our corners, our defensive backs and even the linebackers are very talented, very skill guys. When they are in the position, I call it topping under route and when they connect with their receiver, they have to believe in their technique and not reach and grab. It is just a point of emphasis that the coaches have been emphasizing, as well as myself, all week long. Believe in your technique. Do not grab. You have great ability. Just use your skillset.”


On if he was particularly disappointed in DE Myles Garrett’s personal foul on Sunday:

“We were disappointed in all the guys from the standpoint of selfish penalties. One thing that we can’t tolerate is pre-snap and post-snap. We control those and that to me is just a lack of discipline. That is out of his character. We have to put team first. He understands and knows that. Within that drive that they scored on, I think we gave them four penalties and really five. They had two on one [play] which I think was a result of 35 yards. You can’t beat yourself in the National Football League like that. These teams are too talented and too skilled.”


On lessons learned following the long screen-pass TD:

“I take full responsibility, No. 1. I would definitely say that first. I have to do a much better job putting the guys in position to be successful. Within that play, we had a couple of technique things that we probably could of limited damage from a touchdown if we were in the right position. Looking at that call, I probably could have called something else in that situation to put our guys in a better position. I am always going to look at myself first. That is one thing that I emphasize with the coaching staff. We have to do a much better job for us coaching and putting guys in position to be successful.”


On preparing for NY Jets RB Le’Veon Bell and his ability to create explosive plays:

“A guy that talented, you just have to do a great job of really corralling the ball, getting 11 hats to the football. These guys do a great job with yardage after catch. He does a great job of yardage after contact. Point of emphasis has been that we have to do a great job corralling, tackling the ball carrier and making sure that we just do not assume that he is down.”


On CB Denzel Ward’s holding penalty as uncharacteristic:

”It definitely was. I thought he was in position. You can see the acceleration there when the ball was in the air. You talk to (S) Damarious (Randall), he will tell you that he probably needs to stay a little bit more in the middle of the field, as well. On that look, I thought we actually had a play when it went up in the air. The quarterback made a good throw and the receiver came down with the ball. Denzel as we all know is a very talented player. I think he is going to bounce back this week and have a good game.”


On if he gets involved in conversations with Browns defensive players if they are commenting on last year’s defense under Browns and NY Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams or if he leaves that to Kitchens:

“That is Freddie’s approach. Really to be honest, a lot of respect for Gregg. I know Gregg. I do not really worry about the past and what has happened there. I think as a coaching staff and even as players, we have moved on. I know some things may have been said the other day, but I really do not get caught up in that to be honest.”


On DE Chris Smith bringing an energy and joy to the team and now supporting him following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara Cordero:

“I think as a team – not just as a defense as a team – we have to really corral and circle the wagons and really support one another ad really support him from a distance. A very sad and tragic situation as we all know. He does bring a lot of energy. His passion, his enthusiasm each and every day in the building and on the field is unparalleled. Right now, we are thinking about him in a different situation. I know he is thinking about us, as well. I think all the guys are going to step up in regards to that as far as trying to bring the energy, really go out there and play hard for him because I know he wishes he was here, as well.”


On the Browns DL’s and Titans OL’s performance last week:

“I thought we did a really good job of stopping the run early. If you look at how we played the run in the first half, I thought it was great. Guys came off the ball. Violent hands. Linebackers played downhill. As we mentioned early in the year, teams are going to do certain things to try to combat our pass rush with the kind of guys that we have up front. I thought they did a good job of trying to neutralize a little bit with play action, the boot game and those kind of things trying to get us going sideways. Starting with me, we have to come up with different ways to be creative in how we are going to attack certain teams. I think we are alright in that situation now moving forward in some of the things that we going to try to do.”


On characteristics he looks for in assigning who will cover a slot WR:

“I think it varies just based off really the individual. In regards to a slot receiver where most teams put their quickest guy, a guy that can operate out in space like (NY Jets WR) Jamison Crowder does for the Jets, you are looking for a guy that has that same skillset – man-to-man skills, a guy that can really play with zone eyes, good anticipation, good instincts and I feel like we have the two guys that fit that mode in (CB) T.J. (Carrie) and (S) Eric Murray.”


On who can step up LB with LB Adarius Taylor’s injury:

“A lot of confidence in the linebacker room. When you look at (LBs) Mack (Wilson) and Taki (Sione Takitaki). Those two linebackers that we drafted will be in the position to be able to step up in that role. (LBs) Joe (Schobert) as well as Kirko (Christian Kirksey) has been playing outstanding. I am really pleased with where the linebackers are. We have to find ways right here to create takeaways on the defensive side of the ball. That was really the difference in the game last week when you look at we did not take the ball away and they did.”


On DE Olivier Vernon’s performance:

“He didn’t really have a very splash productive day, but he did some good things when you really watch the tape. A lot of times what they were doing was max looks, two man routes, leaving the tight end in the backend for max protection. It is going to be difficult at times to be able to get there when they try to turn protection to him or they chip him. Being creative in what we are doing and trying to find ways to neutralize that.”


On what LB Genard needs to do to be on the active gameday roster:

“I do not know if it is anything that he has to do per se like you push a button and he is out there. It is a week-to-week performance with all the guys and who we feel needs to be up in the 46. I think he is doing a great job in his preparation and his performance in practice is good. It is just the process of what we need that day based off what the offense is presenting.”


On CB Greedy Williams’s performance and if the Browns will continue to rotate at CB:
“I think Greedy played well. When you go back and really look at the film, he did a great job. Did not make really any splash plays, but he did his job. You can see him in the run game, coming up making tackles. Very effective in the pass game. Being a rookie, the lights were not too big for him. I think that rotation is still fluid with him and (CB) Terrance Mitchell. I think both of those guys are doing a great job. We will continue to rotate those guys to see exactly who steps up.”


On how to contain Bell:

“Playing discipline football. Guys doing their jobs and staying in their gaps. Making sure that we leverage the football because at any time he can get onto the perimeter of the defense. As we have been talking all week, it is just about execution. This guy is dynamic, as you just mentioned, in the run as well as the pass game. Eleven hats to the football is going to the key for us.”


On the Browns pass rush getting close with pressure on several occasions and how to turn those opportunities into results:

“I think it is complementary football, No. 1. They are close so we have to make sure that we are a little closer on the backend to make them hold the ball a little bit more. We talk about that all the time trying to complement one another. Good coverage is going to make the quarterback hold the ball. Good pass rush is going to make the quarterback get rid of the ball quicker. That is going to be the key: complementary football. The biggest thing with us this week, I know they like to go over the top with (NY Jets WR) (Robby) Anderson, No. 11. We can’t give up the big play like we did last week.”


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