Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods (1.5.23)


On the Bills statement that Bills S Damar Hamlin’s status is improving and how the news will impact coaches and players:

“I definitely think it is positive. That was a very scary situation for a lot of people. It is a violent game we play, but you don’t ever want to see something like that happen. I know some of the coaches on their staff so I reached out to them. It is good to hear that he is doing better, and hopefully, he makes a full recovery. Again, that is just something that is hard to deal with that you don’t want to see happen on the football field.”


On the message to Browns players prior to yesterday’s practice while processing the Hamlin situation and also preparing for this week’s game:

“(Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) addressed the whole team, and he took care of it. They have an opportunity to speak to somebody if they have problems, one of our psychologists. I didn’t address it past that. I think the guys are fine with it as far as I know.”


On S Grant Delpit’s development this season:

“I think for all young guys, the more you play and the more reps you get, that is more exposure. I think through the season he had his struggles early, but I think he has gained confidence with the plays he has made. I feel like he is becoming more of a leader in the secondary. You can see it. For him, I just thought it was a matter of time. I watched every play when he came out of college his last year. You could see it that was in him. I think he was really recovering from the injury, and he didn’t know how healthy he was so I think that slowed him down a little bit. Again, as the season has been progressing, he has been making more plays and you can see the confidence coming out of him.”


On Delpit’s performance in run defense and tackling:

“He is good. That is one of the things that we talk about we are trying to put him down in the box more, just with the different schemes we are running. He has tackled a lot better down in the box and in the open field. That is definitely a bonus for us. There are some things we are going to do with him this week, as well.”


On the Browns leading tacklers Delpit and S John Johnson III both playing S and if that is the result of injuries to LBs or is it is a reflection of today’s NFL:

“I think it is both. I think on most teams, it is going to be linebackers or safeties. We do a lot of stuff where are safeties are involved in the run fit so that doesn’t surprise me.”


On if the Browns needed to add a bigger LB like LB Reggie Ragland to help the unit’s performance:

“Not necessarily. I think he has come in and he has done a good job. Definitely like to see him out there. We are going to take advantage of that. Just getting him more involved in some of the stuff schematically with pressures. I think he is more comfortable with the defense. You have seen him make some plays. It is good to get him out there.”


On the Browns defense allowing 10 fewer passing TDs yet seven more rushing TDs compared to this point of last season:

“I did not know that. I think everybody knows we struggled with the run game this year so giving up more touchdowns because of that makes sense. I feel like our guys in the secondary, it is another year of those guys together. The communication has gotten better throughout the season. I feel like we have guys who can match up against other top receivers. That is why I think we are playing better from the pass standpoint. Obviously again, the run game, we have to get better.”


On if this has been his most challenging season due to injuries, miscommunication, struggles in run defense and other elements during 2022:

“It is challenging in different ways. I think we worked through a lot of the issues that we had early on in the season. We just try to give them a solid gameplan that they can go out and play fast and execute. I think throughout the early parts of the season we made those adjustments, and I think the guys really probably since Week 11 that we have played a lot better.”


On if there are any regrets or specific things he wishes he had done differently when looking at the season from a big picture perspective:

“No, not really. I think you have to work through issues. You never know. There are some things that I am not doing pressure wise that I would like to do, but when I am looking back over, I just think it is a learning process because you get new guys, and you are trying to figure out who they are as players and what you are capable of doing defensively. I think we learned that throughout the season, but there is nothing that I go back and regret.”


On how much he hopes to be able to see the recent defensive momentum carry into next season:

“I hope that is the case. Right now, I am still focused on the Steeler game. It is a big game for us. I hope I have the opportunity to come back. I know things haven’t gone the way we would like them to go this year, but I feel like the first season going to the playoffs and winning a game for the first time in 26 years or something like that; the next year, we didn’t win a lot of games and that is what it is all about, but we did improve defensively to No. 5; and again, through the end of the season, I think we are playing better. It is the guys out there getting experience playing together. I feel like the guys we have on our team because we have a young team they are all coming back next year and we will have a full offseason. Long story short, I hope I get the opportunity, but that is not my decision.”


On how he has handled external criticism this season:

“You just have to be tough minded. Things aren’t always going to go your way, but as long as you are confident… You have to be that way with the players because if you doubt yourself, they are going to doubt themselves. The one thing I will say is I was in this situation as a position coach in 2019. When I went to San Francisco, I think (49ers Head Coach) Kyle’s Shanahan) first year, they were 6-10 and then they were 4-12 the second year. When I got there, there were a lot of people calling for (former 49ers defensive coordinator and NY Jets Head Coach Robert) Saleh because they regressed a little bit defensively. Kyle made some changes, and we went in and they were 4-12 in last place in the division in 2018. We had a couple key additions in the offseason, and we went from last to first in the division, 13-3 and went to the Super Bowl. I feel like that is something that is possible here just with the roster we have. I think again the guys will be better next year.”


On having struggles early in the year but finishing strong in back-to-back seasons:

“I think it goes back to you have some new players when you put the scheme together, you are trying to figure out what they do well and what works for you defensively. Week in and week out, you are playing different teams and different schemes. I think that was big for us this year. There were some things that we were doing that we weren’t having a lot of success with that we had success with in the past. I think we had to adjust, and I think we did that. Again, halfway through the season, I think we are playing better. We didn’t win the amount of games that we wanted to, but I do feel like we started playing better defensively.”


On if he has had discussions or received reassurances about returning next season:

“No. I am sure we are going to have those discussions after the season like we do every year.”


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