Defensive coordinator Joe Woods (11.4.21)

On if he needs to have conversations with the Browns defense about the situation with WR Odell Beckham Jr. to ensure it does not become a distraction:

“No, all of our guys are really focused on the game so we are just worried about that. I know it is an unfortunate situation. That is really something (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) and (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) are handling. I think the guys are really focused on playing Cincinnati.”


On takeaways from the Steelers game, given the Browns defense held Pittsburgh to 15 points in the loss:

“I really do not concern myself with the points. Defensively, did you play well enough to win? We left some plays out there. They had some long drives, the time of possession when they end up scoring, the fourth-and-two play that they made – the guy made a great play, but we have to make a great play. We had a chance at the end of the game to really try to get the ball back to the offense, and we did not do it. There are a few play out there, but there are some good things we can build off of. We just have to play well enough for us to win.”


On how Steelers RB Najee Harris and Bengals RB Joe Mixon are similar:

“They are similar. Both bigger backs. They are physical. Joe Mixon has great balance and body control. He will start inside, and he will bounce it and be on the edge. We really have to be gap sound and then we have to gang tackle. You need more than one guy there. It is very similar. They are both good backs, and I know they are definitely going to try and run the ball against us.”


On what the Browns need to clean up this week to improve in run defense:

“For us, it is just more making sure we are gap secure, the guys are doing their jobs and staying their gaps, and then when it is tackling, just getting multiple hats to the ball carrier. He (Mixon) is a big guy so he is falling forward, and we want to hit him with two to three guys and just limit the yardage. We did not do a good enough job of that on Sunday.”


On if Bengals QB Joe Burrow looks different than last year:

“No, he looks the same. I think he threw the ball 128 times against us in two games so he is still throwing it a lot. The thing you see is he is very composed. He goes through his progressions. He will stay in the pocket and take a hit to get rid of the ball. He is spreading the ball out to all of the receivers based on what the coverage is. He is the same guy, a really good, young player, and we have to play at our best to have a chance.”


On what Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase adds to the Bengals offense:

“He is dynamic. He is a playmaker. They definitely put him in positions to try to get matchups one on one. He can beat you vertically down the field. They can throw him the ball short, and he is great at run after the catch. A great addition to their team, and definitely have to have a plan to deal with him.”


On if DE Myles Garrett can take his game to another level, given Garrett’s social media post about ‘good is not good enough’ and needing to do more:

“I just think that is Myles being Myles. I think he wants to affect the game more. If he gets two sacks, he wants four – you know what I mean? It is good when your best player on defense is saying that because I think the other guys will follow, and we are trying to get as much out of him as we can, too, I promise you.”


On if there is anything that is keeping Garrett from recording strip-sacks this season, given Garrett’s production with those early in the year:

“No, it is just we have bee unfortunate just in terms of the takeaways. We have to get them because it changes the game. Myles has had a bunch of sacks, and he has been trying to strip the ball. It just has not come out. Hopefully, it starts this week, and hopefully, we start taking the ball away more.”

On if there is anything else he can do with the Browns secondary to increase takeaways or if it is just a matter of luck:

“We talk about it. I do not think it is luck. I think if you do your job and you play technique, the takeaways will come. I think we are doing more things to emphasize it. We chart them every day, making the cut up and showing the players opportunities where we did ball search and turn the ball over and then opportunities where we missed. I think it comes down to guys running to the ball, doing their job and taking advantage of the situation.”


On what the Browns are doing to emphasize takeaways:

“It is the takeaway circuit that we do. We change it up a little bit of how we do it to make it more about the defense instead of a position group. Getting our chart just really trying to challenge guys to be on the chart every day, whether it is a tipped ball, getting an interception, forcing a fumble or ripping at the ball. You show them the tape because you want to show them examples of those guys doing it the right way and examples where maybe they missed and where they can do a little bit more. Trying to hit them a couple different ways, but really, I do not want to make so much of a big deal out of it that the guys get paranoid. We will see what happens. Hopefully, we get some this week.”


On how it is evident on film that Burrow and Chase have known each other for a while:

“I think it is the timing – the timing of the routes. Whenever you see our quarterbacks out here or anywhere I have been, and I think based on the route they are running, the timing and that connection that they know exactly when that guy is going to break his route off or that receiver knows exactly when that ball is coming out. I think that time they spent together, you can see it based on some of the routes they are throwing.”


On CB Troy Hill covering the opponent’s slot receiver:

“Troy is doing a good job. He shows that he can cover. He has had a few plays here and there that he has given up, but he has also made some plays. The big thing for him too is he is showing up in the run game. He is a little guy, but he will go in there and make some tackles. Just trying to work with him a little more – I am – just to help him on his techniques and the things he is doing just to tighten up his coverage.”


On if he knew Hill was such a good tackler when signed to the team:

“Yes. Yes. He really played one year inside, and he was playing outside corner for those guys (Rams), as well. This is really his first year full-time where he is playing in the slot.”


On if the Browns ask Hill to protect himself or if Hill just has a tough, hard-nosed mentality:

“No, that is him. He has it. He has a little edge to him, and we love it. The players see it, and he has been good for us.”


On if the team has talked to S Ronnie Harrison Jr. about the post-snap penalties:

“We are definitely talking about it. We just do not want to commit penalties where we hurt the team, and that penalty was just unnecessary. That was really the first clip I showed the defense. He knows. I think he is very competitive. I think at times, he gets really emotional, and he just needs to control that.”


On if the team is as focused this year as last season when dealing with intense COVID-19 protocols:

“Yes because it is our job. That is what we are here to do. I think the focus has been really good. There are a couple of games we lost where if we make literally one or two plays, it is a different story. We did not make them, and that is where we are trying to find a way to just play a little bit more consistent and make those game-changing plays to win games.”


On the decision for Browns CBs to play a specific side or shadow an opposing WR:

“For me personally, as a defensive backs coach, in Denver with (former Broncos and LA Chargers CB) Chris Harris and (former Broncos and Saints CB Bradley) Roby, those guys in San Francisco and the guys I had, some guys are more comfortable playing on the left side; some guys are more comfortable playing on the right side. It is that way. We do match, but it is based on how we perceive the matchup. I think we have a good group of corners, whether it is (CB) Denzel (Ward), whether it is (CB) Greedy (Williams) or whether it is (CB) Greg (Newsome II), but we will travel those guys. Sometimes it is matchups. It could be filling the boundary. Tut that is something we gameplan each week.”


On if the Browns CBs will play sides or shadow a Bengals WR this week:

“I am not telling – you will have to wait to see (laughter).”


On if the Browns expect CB Denzel Ward to play Sunday:

“We are going to see. Today is a big day for him. He is going to be out [on the field]. He will take some practice reps. I think he is feeling better just from the conversations I had with him. It would be nice to have him.”


On needing as many CBs as possible against the Bengals:

“Yeah. They are going to throw it so yeah, definitely.”


On if a CB’s height factors into positioning on the field or matchups with opposing WRs:

“No, not really. I think all of our corners, talking about those three, they all have good size and length so that is not really a concern.”


On the status of Browns DTs and DEs on the injury report:

“It is the same thing. It is day to day. Some of those guys are fighting through some little nagging injuries. I think we will be fine come Sunday, but the rest of the week will determine what the answer will be.”


On challenges Stefanski faces as head coach with the Beckham situation and how Stefanski has handled it:

“Kevin, really, we have not really had those conversations. I think Kevin is really focused on what we need to do this week to beat the Bengals. Situations like that can happen. I think he handles that internally with AB (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry), and then he makes the right decisions and focuses on what he needs to for the team. I think he is doing a good job handling it, and it has not been a distraction on the field.”


On the performance of the Browns DTs against the Steelers, given Harris’ production in the running game:

“Again, there are some good things they did, but we just want to be consistent. It comes down to gap control. It is really not all about the defensive tackles. Again, they are in there fighting, and they are doing their job. It is about the whole defense, whether we are fitting from the linebacker standpoint, a safety in a run fit or if it is a pressure and we are executing it. I just think we were a little bit off at times. That is what led to some yards.”


On if he needs to reassure the Browns defense it is doing their job after allowing just 15 points against the Steelers, given potential frustration the team did not win despite limiting Pittsburgh’s scoring:

“Never. No. For me, every week, I try to handle the defense the same way. The process I go through is ‘Here are our goals.’ We have 12 goals that we talk about each week. I know that if we get at least seven if those goals, we will give ourselves a chance to win. I talk about what we did good and areas that we need to improve. I recap the game for them, tell them thigs that we need to correct and tell them things that I need to correct. We do it that way, whether we win or lose. I try to be consistent that way, and I do not try to ride the emotional roller coaster of wins and losses or how well we played and how many points we gave up.”


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