Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods (11.17.22)


On if the Browns are definitely going to Buffalo to play the Bills:

“I have no idea.”


On improvements to make in run defense and if a significant aspect of last week’s issues were related to missed assignments:

“A little bit of everything. It was a hard offense to gameplan for. When you watched them, they were doing different things versus different teams so you have to prepare for a lot so we really tried to keep the menu small. I felt the first half they were making some plays, but it was 10-7 with 1:22 left and they had that two-minute drive. I felt like they were doing some things, but I feel like we had them under control. The end of the half and the touchdown coming out of the third quarter and they went right down the field, that changed the game for us.”


On if the Browns defense potentially overemphasized the pass, given the Dolphins’ success in the running game:

“No. I think we do a good job of dealing with the runs we feel that we are going to get. There is balance, but we know that we have to defend both.”


On if Browns players need to play more physically and cut it loose, including the DL, and if part of the approach has been related to the team’s gameplan:

“Our mentality is always to try to play physical. That is part of football so we talk to our guys about it all of the time. I think the nature of what they we redoing, you have a lot of stuff going across your face that I think just caused a little confusion for us at times. At times, we played really well. At times, we didn’t. Anything you do defensively, you want to be able to play fast and physical.”


On if the Browns expect to return to playing faster and more physical:

“That is the plan every week.”


On DEs Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney not having as strong of an impact on last week’s game against the Dolphins as usual:

“Offensively, they do good things scheme wise. You have to get them to like second-and-7-plus or you have to get them to third-and-long. The third downs we had early in the game, we stopped the first third down and it was a 2-yard pass, and the ball is coming out of his hand. On second down, it was a lot of play-action so it was max protection for them. You have to get them out of those situations so you can be more creative with what you are trying to do on passing situations and creating one on ones. Didn’t do a good enough job on first and second down to put us in position to rush on third down.”


On if the Browns defense is preparing for two different styles of play due to uncertainty of the weather conditions on Sunday:

“Yes. We have some of those calls pretty much based on the situation so there might be a few more calls that we would add, but you definitely have to prepare if the weather is really bad to potentially get more run game.”


On S John Johnson III’s comment about facing unfamiliar opponents and the team not being as successful as needed with in-game adjustments and the challenge facing unfamiliar opponents presents:

“I think that is part of it. We always try to do our best in terms of what we see and what we are doing. That is why that last game, normal football, it was 10-7 so when you go in and it is 10-7, you know what the big plays are and you address those and then you adjust the defense, but it wasn’t like the game was out of control in the first half and there were a lot of things that we had to change. It was just kind of what direction do we want to bring things based on what they were doing. That is something we are aware of that you try to do the best job you can at halftime, and I felt like we have done that at times, but at other times, it just didn’t seem to work.”


On Browns defensive players talking about watching more film together and if the coaches were involved in coordinating it:

“No, I think that is more player related, whether they want to get together by position group and watch tape. I know Myles has talked about that. We always do our presentations. Different places I have been, sometimes you don’t do any presentations – sometimes you do too much – but we always try to present the different breakdown areas so we can make our points of emphasis in terms of what they are doing run wise and what they are doing in the passing game.”


On Bills QB Josh Allen:

“He is tough to deal with. You see him on tape, you cover guys up and then he scrambles. If you bring pressure, then he is making throws. He can throw the ball I think forever and just flicking it. You have to have multiple things defensively to deal with him, but at the same time, you know there are going to be a few times that he is going to get loose. We just have to be disciplined with our rush lanes. We have to be disciplined with our coverage if he does scramble because he is scrambling and throwing the ball 60 yards downfield.”


On the importance of having a short memory and moving onto the next play moving to the next game or within a game when someone like Allen makes a big play:

“It is just part of it week to week being in the NFL because every week, it is a different matchup. What they are doing offensively is not the same as what we saw last week. There are a few things, but not like we saw last week. You just try to prepare them for the challenges you are going to see, and you kind of put the other game away.”


On making adjustments during the practice week while getting more familiar with the team’s personnel and skillsets:

“If I am answering your question correctly, you are always trying to put your playmakers in position. For us, that is part of what we gameplan, trying to get guys one on one whether it is pressure or trying to get guys certain one on ones if they are matching up in man coverage. We always think that way. I think that way in terms of the gameplan. During the game, you are making adjustments off of what is happening to you, what you are struggling with and things that you are doing well try to do more of it.”


On if the team makes adjustments with film study so players can best understand the goals and their jobs within the defense:

“Yeah. We have our meetings and we do our presentations. At the end of meetings, we go out 15 minutes early, and we walkthrough. First and second down, we go out and walkthrough. Third down, on those days we walkthrough. Then we have our normal walkthrough period after that where we run plays against our scouts and then we have a 10-minute period where we are free defensively where we continue to do walkthrough. In practice, we have two install periods where we go just walkthrough stuff defensively. We also have the opportunity at times after our meetings. There are four or five opportunities that we have been doing all season just walking through different things.”


On preparing for Allen’s runs that are more off schedule compared to designed runs by Ravens QB Lamar Jackson:

“It is similar. They do have some designed quarterback runs, but that is the thing that you see that makes him dangerous. I was at the Senior Bowl, and we had him as the quarterback when I was down there. You could see how big he was then. Just for him, you can see times where he drops back, he sees a hole and he takes off; there are other times where the coverage is good, he is just running sideways but he is hard to tackle, he is stiff arming guys and you can’t bring him down; and then you have the quarterback-designed runs. He does a little bit of everything. It is just guys being aware of it, having proper rush lanes, having guys at the second level who have eyes on him and position to chase him down and you have to mix it up. You have to do a little bit of everything. You are not going to be perfect 100 percent of the time, but everybody has to be aware of what he does.”


On if Allen is someone who you can employ a QB spy against:

“I always say there are things you can do to strengthen yourself defensively, but if you are trying to strengthen yourself in one area, you are weakening yourself in another area. If you spy him, now you have a three-man rush. You have to pick and choose. That is why you always just try to have a little bit of mixture of what you are doing defensively.”


On Allen’s interceptions in recent games:

“You see the turnovers that they have created, but I think some of it was situations. It was fourth down on one of the interceptions, and you are going to try to force the ball in there on fourth down. At the end of the game against Minnesota, it was a situation where they had to score. I think some of the interceptions he had were based on the situations they were in and he had to try to make those throws. It is something we always talk about trying to get takeaways. Just playing good coverage whether it is zone or man, and if the opportunity presents itself, we have to catch it.”


On having strong defensive performances prior to last week and how to recover from a tough performance heading into this week against a strong Bills offense:

“Honesty. We looked at the game, and we talked about what did well and what we didn’t do well and the things we need to do to fix it, whether it is scheme or whether it is execution. I just think being honest. Those guys know that from me. I am just going to tell them the truth – good or bad, it doesn’t matter. In this league, you have to move on. Each week, the challenge is different for what you see offensively. Moving on to Buffalo, we know what those challenges are and feel like we have a good gameplan and the guys have practiced good so far this week.”


On criticism on social media:

“It is a part of the business. For me, you can’t let it affect you. You can’t ride the emotional rollercoaster. I know what type of business I am in – it is a fair business – but we are in the business of winning, and right now, we are not doing it so that criticism is going to come. It is deserved in some instances. I promise you, I am trying to do everything I can to get the thing turned around, but we have to execute and we have to play better on gameday.”


On offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt’s comment about COVID-19 helping teams become more adaptable as it relates to uncertainty about where Sunday’s game will be played:

“I think for us operating, yes because we had to do it so much the first two years. Now, we have some young guys who have not experienced that with us; they have experienced it in college. I think yeah, the previous two years have helped prepare you for anything can happen.”


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