Defensive coordinator Joe Woods (10.7.21)


On Chargers QB Justin Herbert:

“In their system, he is doing a really good job. You can see it. He can process. He reads the field well. He has great size. He has the arm strength to make all of the throws. He is doing a really nice job just spreading it out getting it to all of the receivers and involved.”


On if it is apparent on film that Herbert goes to the line of scrimmage with a few plays available and how that impacts a defense:

“I think systematically, that is how they run that system. When you look at it, you see influences from three or four different systems in terms of what they are doing. You can see him checking at the line of scrimmage. He will use signals. I am not big on that – just kind of play ball – but they are giving some stuff to do at the line for sure.”


On CB Greedy Williams’ performance last week:

“He is definitely getting better. You can see the progress he is making in practice. I am always watching him as a DB guy, looking at his technique. Everything is tightening up for him. I think his confidence is really good. The matchups, it was a good game for him to play just to give him that confidence moving forward.”


On if he feels good about the availability of CBs Denzel Ward and Troy Hill this week:



On if he considers last week’s performance more impressive than the Bears game:

“Really, I am just happy we won. I knew going into it that was a tough game. You could see what they were doing in the running game with (Vikings RB) Dalvin Cook. They have the skill players. You had the matchup outside and (Vikings QB) Kirk Cousins was doing a great job. I do not think he had any interceptions going into the game. Getting out of there with a win, it was tough the way we started but then we settled down. That was big for us defensively.”


On trust in LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is growing each week:



On what Owusu-Koramoah has done well to earn more trust and responsibility:

“Everything to be honest. He is playing well in the run game. When he makes decisions, he makes them fast, and we say he shoots his gun. In the pass game, you can see his ability out in space just to make plays, whether he is in coverage or he is just making the open-field tackle. We are doing the same systematically. Just giving him a little bit more each week. We do not want to put too much on him, but he has definitely earned the right to get some more defenses.”


On the impact of DTs Malik McDowell and Malik Jackson:

“A lot. When you have the ability to rush off of the edge like we do, you really want to have that inside push so there are no step-up lanes for the quarterback. It also helps you in terms of running pass rush games with just their ability to set picks and run different things. They have really helped just with their presence inside and what they are able to do.”


On if Jackson is the perfect match for McDowell with the veteran presence:

“Yes. I was with Malik (Jackson) in Denver. He was there with (Broncos OLBs) Von (Miller), (former NFL OLB) Demarcus Ware and (Broncos OLB Bradley) Chubb and those guys. Well, he left before Chubb got there. Just the ability to work with guys like that and just to figure out what games to use and how to communicate, he is a guy who he has learned from just being around those guys to help the younger guys or the new guys with what we are trying to do.”


On if the Browns defense’s performance against the Vikings can help build more confidence and momentum, especially after the Bears game:

“For sure. I think the game against Chicago, that was just one of those games. I have not been involved in many games like that. I probably will not be involved in many after that, just the one yard [net passing] and all of that stuff. To come back the next week, play against a really good football team and be consistent just in terms of executing and making plays, I think that is what is going to provide a lot of confidence. When you can see them stack that back-to-back weeks, now you are going into this third week and say, ‘Hey, let’s continue with what we are doing.’ I think the guys really buy in and believe in what we are trying to get done.”


On if there is a certain point of emphasis this week facing two tall Chargers WRs:

“No, you just understand what their strengths are. I faced those guys while I was in Denver. I saw them twice a year so I know who they are. I feel confident in our matchups, but it is going to be tough. We are going to have to be on top of it technique wise. We are going to have to have the ability to make plays on the 50/50 balls down the field. Those guys do a great job in space just in terms of getting yards after contact. We are going to have to do really everything well to play good against them.”


On the current status of the big dime package with three safeties and if there are still more opportunities for it to grow:

“Oh, there is more for sure. Again, you just want to introduce things slowly. We put a couple of different personnel packages on the field. We have a couple more left. You really want to try to dictate the matchups of the game, and that is what I like about it. I think we have flexibility at the nickel position. We have flexibility at the dime position in terms of what we want to create. We will continue to do that, but we will not put too much on their plate.”


On if there are signs when turnovers are about to happen:

“I am hoping (laughter). That is a narrative that we definitely have to improve. I think some of the areas we are getting better, but for whatever reason – I know we have a lot of sacks – you want to turn over the ball. You want to take it away because it changes the game. We have not been able to do that. We are putting an emphasis on it in practice. We will continue to do that. Hopefully, they start coming in bunches.”


On if McDowell’s performance is even more impressive considering he had not played in a game for four years:

“That says a lot about him. He has come a long way. He is a sponge. Having those veteran guys around him helps him, whether it is Malik Jackson or (DE) Myles (Garrett), just all of those guys give him advice on what to do, how to prepare and the ability to communicate when we are on the field because he is picking things up, and they help him out. It is very impressive what he has been able to do whit his limited time at this point getting back into football.”


On if last week was CB Denzel Ward’s best game this season after saying Ward was potentially trying to do too much in other weeks:

“I think he had four targets and he had three plays, three PBUs. The one down the field, he has to play a little bit better technically, but he made the same play later on. By saying he is doing too much, when you press and try to make plays, if you just execute your technique, then the plays will come. That was the biggest thing just talking to him was worry about your technique, and you will be in position to make plays.”


On LB Anthony Walker Jr.’s first day of practice after returning from injury:

“He looked good. He was probably a little winded – just a little bit. We are smart about how many reps we try to give those guys when they come back, and we will do that in terms of the game. We will put a number on him, just so in the game with tempo, you are sticking your foot in the ground and the acceleration is a little bit faster, so we will make sure we are careful with that, but in terms of understanding the defense and being the quarterback of the defense, he just fell right back where he was at before he got injured.”


On how the Browns defense’s gameplan changes when the front four are producing pressure:

“It is nice to have that when you get home. It depends on what they are doing offensively in terms of their protection schemes, chip protection or max protection, sometimes you have to bring pressure to get them off of that. It just depends on what they are doing offensively, but I like having the ability to play coverage or bring pressure. This makes you feel good and gives you a lot of flexibility.”


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