Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods (10.20.22)


On if the Browns defense’s success against the Ravens offense and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson last season:

“Looking back at the games, definitely felt like we have played better, and it comes down to scheme. It is really for us we always look at it as a rules game because of the unique run game and the quarterback, they make you play with 11. You don’t want to get too complicated with what you are doing. You just want to make sure that you are sound. They have so much offense. When you watch it, you are going blind. You are not going to get it all, but you are going to get a good piece of it.”


On if the Ravens scheme tries to expose one specific player on defense or if they mainly stay true to their system:

“I think they do what they do. They are going to look at our defense and package their run game and what they want to run against us. In the passing game, you can see they are getting rid of the ball fast. He is making good decisions. He is accurate. They are also taking their shots down the field. You really have to be able to deal with everything, but I don’t think it is anything specific in terms of targeting guys.”


On if LB Deion Jones will play this week:

“We are taking it day by day because he is learning the system and getting comfortable with the techniques. Hopefully, he plays, but we will see.”


On if DE Jadeveon Clowney and CB Denzel Ward will return from injury this week:

“Same thing. Day by day. I think JD is going to be out there on the field today, but it is one of those things we have to see how they feel.”


On the Browns defense ranking No. 31 in the NFL despite comments last week that the defense has top-five talent and potential:

“I didn’t know that (laughter) – No, I did. Honestly, you just look back, and in games, you see the scores and you see the yards, but it really comes down to like three or four plays. If you make a play, now you are not out there for the next eight plays and you don’t get those scores. I just felt like we have been inconsistent in terms of executing the scheme and in terms of fundamentals. You saw that last week. For us, from a coaching standpoint, there are things – I know you guys ask the question: What are we doing more? What are we doing more? – we want to do, but if you are not consistent and playing well, you are really trying to pull back until you can get that. There are a lot of things to answer your question. We just have to get better.”


On the challenge of looking to solve multiple issues on defense without one affecting the other in the run or pass game:

“That is part of it. You are referring to last week, we had to be more aggressive to stop the run. They have a huge offensive line. I think outside of the third-down play, probably 60-70 yards which is a big improvement for us. When you do that, you are in more one-on-one situations, but I have confidence in our secondary. That is my background. I don’t have problems matching them up. They hit us on and made some good throws and caught us in some good coverages, but I believe we can make those plays. It is a balance of both.”


On if he is surprised the Browns defense is not further along or as advanced as desired now and the need to over-communicate:

“Yes. I thought we would be able and there would be more continuity, I thought there would be more things we could do at this point. Not that more means better, but we do have some young guys in there playing for us at all three levels of the defense, and they are learning too. I thought we would be further along obviously. Like I said, there are a lot of things we are trying to clean up, and we just have to clean them up in a hurry.”


On S John Johnson III’s comment about needing more commitment from players to the task at hand when not in the building and if that has impacted the defense’s ability to add more scheme:

“No, I wouldn’t say that. It is really in general when you are playing well, then you feel more comfortable because there are things that you do and you say, ‘OK, we did that and had success. Let’s add a little twist to it.’ You just keep building it, and you get your library. When you are having the issues we have, you have to say, ‘Hold on a second. Let’s get things fixed first and then let’s get to some things that we feel we will have success with.’ In terms of what John said – somebody just told me – that is just players learning how to be a professional. We have young guys. It is just not what you do in the building; it is what you do when you go home. I am sure that is what he was referring to.”


On if the Browns do not have enough veterans to show younger Browns players the way to prepare when outside of the building:

“No, it is never an excuse. I do not ever want it to come across like I am making excuses. I hope I don’t do that. It is just everybody has to learn how to do it their own way, whatever that is. Whether it is learning from a veteran or whether it is learning from some other guy you know in the league, it is just what do you do day to day. We try to help them. That is one of the first things I do in the offseason is I have a weekly schedule that I used to always give to my guys in terms of what to look at every day, but it is something they will learn along the way.”


On explaining why the defense is not as far along as desired:

“It is really hard to explain. We had a really good offseason. We had a really good training camp. Just with our walkthroughs, just did a lot more. To me, it was the best we ever did since I have been here, but it did not translate into the regular season. To me, when that happens, then you have to look at what you are asking to do and pull things back until you get things corrected. Then once you get them corrected, then you start adding on things that you feel will help you versus a particular team. It was a little surprising to me just the issues we are having.”


On S Grant Delpit and Delpit giving up a big play last week:

“Just trying to get him better. He is a really good football player. You guys have seen him make plays. You see his ability. He is smart. I think he sees the field well. You have to make a tackle. For him, if he had that same opportunity 10 times, he would probably make it. On the third-and-1, you have to stay on your feet and keep your eyes on your coverage. He learned from it, but it is those things in the games and those little situations where you just have to be good. It is something like that every game where we are having issues. We are going to continue to try and fix them, show the players and just get better.”


On when the Browns would consider making changes to the defensive depth chart:

“If it is something that is consistent where he is really hurting us – I am not talking about Grant, just any player in particular – that is when you have to address it, if you have a player that you feel like is playing better.”


On if the Browns are getting close to making changes to the defensive depth chart:

“I wouldn’t say that right now. Again, you see the good things that he does on the field – that is with anybody that has made mistakes. You see the good things. You just really try to correct them. Those things are fundamentals. It is like you fall down. Why did you fall down? Look at your head placement and look at your eyes. It is those little things that we fix, and those plays don’t happen.”


On if he likes the energy and focus of Browns players when getting into the building on Wednesdays and if the team has changed anything related to early-week preparation:

“(Head) Coach (Kevin) Stefanski talks to us every week, and I talk to them about you get what you emphasize. For us, it is about emphasizing the details of how we meet and our walkthroughs. I talked about making our walkthroughs game-like just to get the reps of each coverage we are playing. Then in practice, just the tempo, getting on and off the field, the communication and using crowd noise when we need to. We look at every part of that and just try to address it and get it better. Again, there are a lot of issues so there are a lot of things to address. We are just trying to chip away at it.”


On emphasizing proper tackling in practice last week and if that will continue after missed tackles in recent weeks:

“We always tackle, and that is what is surprising. It was to the point when I saw coaches doing tackling, I was like, ‘Just make sure you are getting some of your other techniques in,’ prior to all of that stuff happening. We do a lot of tackling drills, trying to get guys in position in space, but also the DB coaches, they have the crash pad and they are the runners. The DBs are tackling those guys onto the pads. We are doing it. It just has to translate. You have to have confidence. To me, it is always, ‘What position are you in?’ Every tackle is not the same. I can’t go try to knock a guy out; sometimes, I have to be in position and get him on the ground. It is those type of things that I talked to them about last week and that the coaches are addressing.”


On the challenges of focusing on limiting the Ravens run game along with Jackson’s ability to extend plays:

“For us, it is always try to stop the run and make team’s one-dimensional, regardless of who you play. It was the same thing last week. They just made some plays. You have to be concerned because the difference with their run game is they make you play with 11 because the quarterback runs it. You have to focus on doing that. There are going to be times you have to win one on ones. That is every week.”


On LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah playing a lower snap count last week against the Patriots due to the gameplan:

“There were just some things that we were trying to do getting bigger bodies on there.”


On how Owusu-Koramoah graded last year in the two Ravens games:

“He played well. He played well. I don’t know his exact grade, but just right now, remember him making plays. Obviously, looking back at the tape this week, that is what you want. You want a guy who has that ability to go tackle the skill players they have, especially Lamar. That is why he is going to be a big part of what we are doing this week.”


On the balance of wanting bigger bodies to help stop the run game with not having as many snaps from Owusu-Koramoah last week, one of the team’s best defensive players:

“He can do it. He is smaller, but he uses his quickness and explosiveness to take on blockers or beat blocks. We have different packages so we know when we will have him off the field and when we will have him on the field. We need him out there to help us beat these guys as much as possible.”


On if the team would like Owusu-Koramoah to be bigger while not losing speed:

“You always do. That is something that he is very conscious of. He meets with our nutritionist. I see him, he comes in there and he has three shakes and one is on the ground (laughter). He is doing those things and trying to keep his weight up. I think in time, he will reach his maturity.”


On CB Martin Emerson Jr. being targeted more in the NFL than in college:

“Welcome to the NFL. They are coming after you. He is so tough minded that he wants it. He asked to cover the receiver from the Chargers (WR Mike Williams) in that critical situation. That is what you love about him. I think the more experiences he has, the better he will play, just learning to play his technique, especially in critical situations. I am happy with where he is. I know he is going to continue to get better.”


On how the Browns DTs are performing and if they are exceeding or meeting expectations or underperforming:

“I think for us the whole defensively we are underperforming. From a players’ standpoint and from a coaches’ standpoint, we have to perform better. Just not happy with the results, whether it is run game or pass game. Collectively as a group of players and coaches, we all have to get better.”


More specifically on the Browns DTs’ performance:

“It is the same. You see at times they are playing well, and there are times where [we have to perform better], whether it is gap control and getting bumped out of your gap. Again, that is consistent across the board. I am happy with the guys, but we just all have to play better and focus in.”


On if S D’Anthony Bell has been cross-trained to play both S positions:

“Yeah, we cross-trained him. He has the ability to play either safety position or play out of the dime.”


On if there is a gap between Bell and the starting Ss:

“I think the other guys have the experience, and (S) Ronnie Harrison (Jr.) plays that role. He had a big game last year against Baltimore in the first game. He is getting better, but right now, we just have some guys with more experience in front of him.”


On having to teach Browns players in different ways to get the best results:

“That is always the case. Everybody learns differently. Whether it is guys learn visually through walkthroughs, handouts or whatever it may be, everybody learns differently so you learn that along the way. I feel like our position coaches do a great job. For us, it is just what are the issues, how can we fix them, how do we handle the meeting room, how do we handle presentations and how do we handle it on the practice field and post-practice meetings. There are a lot of things that are involved in it and we adjust things as we feel needed, but every guy is different.”


On challenges facing an offense where a player like TE Mark Andrews is the No. 1 target:

“That is why it is tough, right? Let’s say you go and try to double him, now you are short a gap in the run game, and now Lamar is going for 150. It has to be balanced. For us, it is just having enough calls where it is balanced in terms of defending the run and at times having the ability to take away the tight end.”


On the Patriots TD run on third-and-long:

“A great play call by them. Third-and-10, what is everybody thinking third-and-10? Right? They ran the ball. It was a great play call by them. We still had the ability to make it. We had some guys who were just a little bit out of position, but nice job.”


On players being out of position on the Patriots TD run on third-and-long:

“We had some guys pursuing to the ball. It just kind of bounced and hit real quick, and we couldn’t get it down because we were in that pressure where we were bringing guys. It was a good play call by them.”


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