Defensive coordinator Joe Woods (11.11.21)

On if he was sprinting down the sideline with CB Denzel Ward during the 99-yard interception-return TD last week:

“I am not fast enough (laughter). I was just cheering. That was exciting. That was good. They were moving the ball on us, and then all of a sudden, you saw him coming out of nowhere just sprinting down the sideline. That was a big play for us, especially early in the game.”


On if last week’s performance exactly what the Browns hoped to see with complementary football between rush and coverage:

“Yes, that is what we always strive for. For us, we really try to get teams into manageable third downs for us so we have to play well on first and second down. Then now, there are multiple things we can do, whether you want to pressure or whether you want to play more coverage. When you are clicking on both ends up front and in the backend, you just feel like you can call anything. That is what it felt like in the game.”


On if the Browns defense has ‘turned the corner’:

“I did not know that we were around the corner (laughter). For us, there have been games, as you guys know, where we play really well and then there are games where we did not. For me, it is more about the consistency. It is really a week-in and week-out type of deal. I think the last couple of weeks, we have done a good job in terms of points allowed, but there are still things that we need to fix. In the last game, we were on the field the first two series for 20 plays. We have to find a way to get off. There are still things we are trying to fix, but I feel like it is definitely starting to come together. In terms of turning the corner, I do not know.”


On if the Bengals game was one of the best performances by a secondary he has been a part of during his career:

“Yes. Definitely here. I think they played extremely well. We had a premium matchup with their receivers. They had three really good ones. They tried to isolate us at times, going one-on-one with (Bengals WR Ja’Marr) Chase. All of our corners – Denzel, (CB) A.J. Green and (CB) Greg Newsome (II) – they all had their chances, and they made plays. That was impressive. I think it is a confidence-booster for all of those guys, just knowing that they have the ability to cover elite receivers in this league.”


On S John Johnson III’s performance last week and if he sees the Browns defense find another level when Johnson is making big plays as hoped when signing with the team:

“John in the last couple of weeks has made a big impact on what we have been able to do defensively. I think you see where his game is. He is playing good in the run game. He is playing good in the pass game. He is taking away the ball. He is creating takeaways for us. That is what we envisioned when we got him. We have a lot of good players at the safety position so it is a matter of how you want to put them out there on the field. We did make some adjustments the last couple of weeks to try to get him more involved, and I think it is definitely paying off for us.”


On how to counter Patriots QB Mac Jones’ success with play action:

“It is the whole defense. Their offense has been the same forever. We talk about the marriage of the run and pass, and they do a great job of running their plays but having their pass plays look exactly like their run plays. I think that is what creates a lot of problems for people, and it is something that we have to be on top of. I think it is a mix of what you do coverage wise. We have to give them different looks. We have to disguise just to try to confuse him a little bit – zone, man and pressure – but you have to do multiple things because they are really good at what they do.”


On one area a team can exploit most when facing any rookie QB:

“It is different. Guys are different. The systems they are in are different. I think the main thing is really giving them multiple looks, like do not make it easy for him. Different coverages, different disguises and pressures, just to try to make them feel uncomfortable. Make it hard for him to understand what you are trying to do in general.”


On the Patriots relying heavily on their RBs in recent weeks and if that could change due to their injuries at the position:

“No, they are going to do what they do, and it is going to be a very physical game. They definitely want to establish the run game. It is really kind of that old Big Ten philosophy – just run it, make them load the box and then take advantage of them with play action. That is what they do. That is what they are always going to do. It is not changing.”


On if the Browns run defense is playing as desired and is up for the challenge against the Patriots:

“Yeah, we go out – I know it is cliché – and we always feel like it about us. It is about our execution. It is about how we prepare. It is about how we perform on gameday. We just feel like we can execute our defense, whether it is run fits or whether it is defending the pass. This game is going to be physical and it is going to be challenging just in terms of everything they do.”


On DE Myles Garrett’s performance this season and Garrett’s status:

“The first thing is he playing really well. That is good for us and good for everybody. It is day-to-day deal with him. I think he feels good. We will get a chance today to see where he is at, and then hopefully, we get him out there on the field on Sunday. He is doing well. Again, he has played very well for us so far this season.”


On NFL defenses crowding the neutral zone, the number of neutral zone infractions and offside penalties and a trend of NFL players seeming to ‘cheat a little bit as far as the neutral zone’:

“I think everybody is trying to cheat (laughter). We are trying to get tighter, and they are trying to get further off of the ball. The pre-snap penalties are totally unacceptable. We talk to our guys all of the time that one of the rules of winning is not to beat yourself. Not only those penalties, some of the other penalties we had, it was not good. We addressed that, but it is just as simple as seeing the ball and getting lined up. I know the guys were juiced up because it was a divisional rival, the Battle of Ohio and all of that stuff, but we have to make sure that we do our job and not put ourselves in those situations.”


On if part of calling DB blitzes was ‘dialing the defense back’ or if that success was the result of the matchup:

“When I say dial it back, it is just making sure the menu is tighter, just that we are doing things that we feel like we can rep successfully in practice and that we can take it over to the game. It is really kind of the calls that we pick and choose or the calls that I pick and choose and I feel like the guys can handle based on the offense they are going against. We are always going to have a mixture of man-zone, man-pressure and zone-pressure. This last game, felt comfortable once we got into the game a little bit in terms of our gameplan so I got more into our menu, and the guys did a good job of executing and creating a lot of negative plays – takeaways and sacks. It is a good feeling when you feel like you can do that.”


On how LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has responded to dealing with injuries early in his career:

“He has done a good job. He takes notes. You look at it and he has his notebook, he has his own little system of how he does things. I think the linebackers coaches – Coach (Jason) Tarver and Coach (run game coordinator Ben) Bloom – do a great job. He is always in the meetings. They make sure he is engaged. There are different type of things they do just trying to create walkthroughs for him. Not only has he still been involved, but hopefully, we can get him out on the field today and kind of see where he is at. I think there will not be a big drop-off – may be a little bit of rust – but we definitely want to get him back as soon as we can.”


On Green’s impressive ability to fill in at CB, particularly when Ward missed a play that resulted in Green’s fumble recovery:

“It was, and it just speaks to the players and what they were able to do on gameday and the coaches just teaching the technique and fundamentals. For me, it is just part of the NFL. When that happens, it is like I do not even think about it. That is just because I have confidence in those guys. It enables me to call from the same menu and not worry about that guy not having the ability to make plays.”


On if he has ever seen a notetaking system like Owusu-Koramoah:

“No, it is something that Coach Tarver talks to me about in terms of how he goes about taking his notes and the conversations that those guys have. I know he gets a copy of the gameplan and goes through it. He looks at all the playbook pictures. Sometimes there might be something wrong in there, and he will find it. He is very diligent just in terms of how he goes about studying the game and preparing himself.”


On if the opponent determines how aggressive the Browns DBs play and what coverages are called and if trust in the players is a factor:

“Part of it is opponent. My nature is to be more aggressive. I think early in the season, I looked at and I was like, ‘I better change it up a little bit.’ I think it is always about the mix of calls. You never want to have somebody to have a beat on you where they know exactly what you are going to be in because they will find a way to steam it up and beat you. We do play a lot of man. I like to play man. I like the guys to get in their face and play press coverage. At the same time, we have to give the offense just a little change up.”


On the balance between building the defensive scheme to maximize the personnel and using personnel to fit within the scheme:

“To be honest with you, that started in the offseason. (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew Berry and his whole staff did a great job of getting the type of players that I feel like I need to run my system. From that standpoint, I feel good. When it comes to game planning, you just always want to put your playmakers in a position to affect the game. For us, we have playmakers on all three levels. For me, when we go through game planning, I am always trying to do something up front just to get those guys certain matchups; the same thing with the linebackers, whether it is a certain coverage we want to run and matching them up or whether it is a certain pressure; and the same thing with the secondary, whether it is the slot, the safety or the corner. I feel like I have the luxury of creating things at all three levels of our defense just based on the personnel that we have.”


On if he sees excitement in Browns players when incorporating different facets into the defense:

“There is no doubt. Once it happens, then they are always asking for it. You have to give them a little change up. Definitely, we do some things that put some guys in position to make plays, and when they make those plays, they want it all the time. We are going to spread the wealth and keep trying to mix it up a little bit.”


On how Newsome played last week and what has is learning about CB Greedy Williams as Williams has had to combat injuries over the past year-plus:

“Starting with Greg, he made several plays. In this league as a corner when you have premium matchups, and really it is every week for the most part you are going to have a premium matchup, when you go out there, you have success and you make plays, I think it builds confidence in that player, and I think it builds trust in terms of our scheme and what we are trying to do with those guys. I feel like Greg is getting better and better each week. With Greedy, I just think it has been tough for him just based on the injury last year, trying to make the comeback and battling through little nicks and bruises and that injury. I think the thing for him is that he has shown a lot of mental toughness. He has gone out there, and he is trying to compete. He is not always 100 percent, but he shows up for practice, he goes out in the game and he does the best he can. For me, I think he is doing a great job. Just want to get him healthy, as healthy as possible.”


On how Owusu-Koramoah looked in his first day back at practice yesterday:



On if he is optimistic Owusu-Koramoah can play on Sunday:

“Yes, I am very optimistic he can play Sunday.”


On what Owusu-Koramoah adds to the Browns defense:

“Speed. Coverage ability. Tackling. Blitzing. Everything. He is a very talented player. There may be a little bit of rust, and we will see where he is at as we progress through the week. I think he just adds another dimension to our defense for sure.”


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