Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods (10.28.22)


On his reaction to learning Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase would not play this week:

“It was a surprise. Obviously, I heard it yesterday. He is a big playmaker for them. That is a big part of their offense. I know they have other good players so they are going to do what they do, but it is the NFL.”


On the Bengals’ passing numbers being higher in the last few weeks:

“They have a lot of playmakers that are really good after the catch. The running back (Bengals RB Joe Mixon) is playing well. He is running with power. They just have playmakers all over the place, and they are doing a nice job.”


On if the Browns defense played well against the Ravens and what the unit can carry over to this week:

“Just execution. I think we had a tight menu. They are hard to deal with, Baltimore. They are just play after play. They have a big menu of plays. You don’t know what you are going to get so we tried to keep our menu tight. It wasn’t perfect, but I thought the guys had confidence in the plan and they executed. We just fell short on a few third downs.”


On if the Bengals running most of their offense out of shotgun changes the Browns defense’s gameplan:

“No. We have played them, and they have played us different ways so many times. The first year, I think in two games, we got 37 empties, which we may not get in a year. They played us like that. They have run the ball against us. That is what makes them dangerous. They can attack you in different types of ways. It doesn’t change what we do. We just have to be ready for anything.”


On if there was an increased energy and focus last week despite the loss:

“There was definitely confidence from last season playing Baltimore. I think there was confidence going into that game, and again, the gameplan felt like it was good. The guys liked it. They were executing it. I feel the same way. We have played Cincinnati. We played some really good games against them. I think the guys are confident in what we are trying to get accomplished. I feel the energy in the practice. I feel the guys are pushing each other. I feel like we are better in the meeting room. Hopefully, that translates to a good game for us on Monday night.”


On CB Martin Emerson Jr.’s performance and how Emerson can continue to improve, given some teams are targeting Emerson:

“He is going to get better with experience because there are different things that are going to happen to him every game. Once he gets through all of that, which is going to take some time, then he will be more accustomed to what people are trying to do to him. Just told him welcome to the NFL. He is going to get the targets.”


On if Emerson likes when opponents challenge the rookie CB:

“Absolutely. He is very tough minded and very competitive. He wants to be the guy to cover their best receiver. He has that type of mindset. I love that about him. It will help him get through this rookie year.”


On if Emerson would have been able to execute the delayed blitz earlier in the season or if it is the result of good instincts and execution:

“That is part of him developing and understanding the gameplan when he has some premium opportunities, and he definitely took advantage of that one. That is really good to see. That is part of our gameplan sometimes with certain calls, and he executed and had a nice sack.”


On DE Isaiah Thomas’ performance and development:

“He is another just really good football player. Tough. He does everything the right way. He is like a coach’s dream. Never complains. Has a little bit of humor to him. Long story short, just to see a young guy get better and get some reps out there, that is just going to help us defensively.”


On LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s performance last week:

“He helps us when we play teams like that that have a lot of speed on the field. We try to put him in position to deal with (Ravens QB) Lamar (Jackson) at times, but that is his strength. We will see where he is at this week. I know it is going to be day to day for him, but when you have all of those playmakers and they spread you out, you want guys like JOK on the field.”


On if LB Deion Jones is ready to take over as starting MIKE:

“He is. There are not a lot of options (laughter), but he is. He is a veteran who has played a lot. He has played at a high level. I think part of him was just learning our system and our terminology. He is communicating to guys in the huddle. We have a couple of different ways to do it, but he is confident. I feel like he is more comfortable this week with the system so he will be out there.”


On if Jones will wear the green-dot helmet communications system and call defensive plays on the field:

“He may. He may. I have a couple of different options. We are working both in practice.”


On if he was happy with the Browns defense’s pressure last week and if part of incorporating different scheme elements is tied to comfort with players ability to execute in the system:

“Defensively from our system, yes. There are things that we want to do, but we kind of pulled back a little bit and we are trying to add things in a little bit at a time just to make sure guys can execute at a high level. I always want to bring our playmakers. (DE) Myles (Garrett), (DE Jadeveon) Clowney, JOK, (LB) Sione (Takitaki and some secondary blitzes, and the more comfortable they get, the more I will be able to do it.”


On if the Browns defense looked more like what was expected last week:

“It did for that game. Obviously, our record is not good. We have not played well at times, but there have been flashes in all of the games – New England, goal line stand. There have been stretches in different games, but I think we put it together more in this last game. It is good to see. We definitely have to carry that through in the following games.”


On the need to not underestimate the Bengals rushing game:

“You are exactly right. The last two games, as you said, they are going to more shotgun. There was more empty the last two games, but they might come out and run it 40 times. We are trying to prepare for everything, and we try to do that every week. With our experience playing against them, I think we have a good feel of what they are capable of doing, but we are trying to mix in a little bit of everything this week.”


On the challenge with Bengals QB Joe Burrow’s abilities to both get rid of the ball quickly and extend plays:

“We want to be in tight coverage if he is getting rid of it quickly. If he holds onto it, we definitely want to try and affect him with pressure. That is why he is playing at such a high level now. You will know based on the route and based on the pressures, you can’t hit him. You have try to mix in a little bit of coverage and try to make him hold it. He can scramble. You see him have some big runs. He is playing really good. It is going to be hard to deal with.”


On the message to Garrett and the DL with the understanding there may not be many opportunities to sack Burrow due to Burrow’s quick release and mobility:

“They know that. There are different things we are going to try to do to get to him. The biggest thing is if you can get to him, get to him. If you can’t, get your hands up and be ready for him to scramble.”


On if the Bengals offense changes significantly without Chase:

“I definitely don’t think systematically they are going to change. We have played them without Ja’Marr out there. They are just going to run their offense. They may try to target some of their other receivers more, but I don’t think offensively they are going to change what they do.”


On CB Denzel Ward’s status for Monday’s game:

“It is really day to day. Just have to see what the medical staff says.”


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