Defensive coordinator Joe Woods (12.31.21)

On DE Myles Garrett playing last week with a groin injury and Garrett’s current status:

“Myles definitely was not 100 percent in the game, but I know just talking to him, he was going to give us everything he had. He knew he was not [100 percent healthy] there, but he was there for his teammates. He tried his best. I think he is doing much better this week. It was just the situation, and he was going to go out there and fight through it.”


On the expected atmosphere at Heinz Field on Monday in what is potentially the final home game of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s career:

“The atmosphere is definitely going to be electric. That is just the nature of Pittsburgh and their fans. For us, the standard is the standard. Whether it is the first game of the year, a game with playoff implications, Ben possibly being his last [home] game, our job is to go out and play our defense to the best of our ability to give us an opportunity to win. That is what of focus is: just going out and try to play the best game we can.”


On S M.J. Stewart’s contributions in recent weeks and versatility:

“M.J. is definitely a Swiss Army knife. That was really the plan. I talked to him in the offseason, and said we are going to train you as a corner, safety, nickel and dime just to get him more value. He stepped up and made some big plays in the games that he has played in. I always talk to those guys and say that we do not have backups; we just have guys in waiting. I feel like all of the guys who had an opportunity to step up and play were just really trying to show their value to the team and what they are capable of doing.”


On the benefit of CB Greg Newsome II returning from concussion and the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“It was good seeing him out there. We are still evaluating him day to day, but I feel like we are going to have him for the game. It just gives you more options. It is all about creating matchups every week in the NFL so just having more bodies, especially Greg with what he is capable of doing in terms of coverage, it gives us more flexibility in terms of our gameplan.”


On if he adopted the phrase ‘the standard is the standard’ from Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin or vice versa:

“I probably just heard it. It probably has just been ingrained in me. Part of Mike, coaching with Mike and the time I spent with him is speaking the language. All of the guys who have worked with Mike, we just have our own kind of language that we speak. It is really just about how you operate. For us, the circumstances of any game we play should not affect what we are trying to do. Whether it is Ben’s last game or whatever the situation, our level in terms of how we play should not change. That is what I try to preach to those guys is just try to be consistent.”


On what the Browns defense needs to improve from the first matchup with the Steelers:

“Execution. Every week when you look at games, it comes down to two, three or four plays. In that first game, there were about three or four plays that we had the opportunity to make that we did not execute. Always stressing the fundamentals, executing your technique better than your opponent, tackling and taking advantage of turnover opportunities. We were just a little off a little bit in that game. We just have to be better.”


On if the Browns are aware of LB Jeremiah-Owusu Koramoah’s availability for Monday after not practicing yesterday due to a non-COVID-19 related illness:

“Not right now. It is day to day. I know he was on the meetings today so that is a good sign. If he is healthy enough, I am sure he will play. You just have to monitor it day to day.”


On if he ever met the late Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden:

“I never did. I know he is a legend. Just with everything he has done in this league, it was sad to hear that news. I know he has touched a lot of people throughout his career.”


On if he would embrace the opportunity to be interviewed for an NFL head coaching position:

“I have always tried to be the best coach I can be, whether it is DBs or being a coordinator. If those opportunities come, they come, but it is nothing I really worry about. Would I embrace it? Absolutely. I think you always want to try to go as far as you can in your career. If it comes, I would definitely accept those opportunities and do the best job I can, but right now, I am really focused on winning this game.”


On if Owusu-Koramoah’s rookie season is what the Browns envisioned when making the second-round selection:

“Yes. You see the dynamic play-making ability. Whether we are blitzing him, whether it is making plays in space or whether it is matching up in coverage, he has the ability to affect the game in a lot of different ways. Throughout the year, I just had to be careful of not doing too much because he is a rookie so you do not want to do so much that you slow him down. Throughout the season, I think he has grown. I think he has improved in a lot of different areas, and we have been able to give him more things on his plate in terms of what we can do defensively.”


On Roethlisberger’s career:

“The word that always comes up is ‘gunslinger.’ He is the guy who can take over a game. I have played and coached in games against him where he has thrown the ball 70 times, but he can affect the game in so many different ways. He is smart. It is hard to fool the guy. I think his durability over the years, and I know just a conversation I had with Mike over the years, just having a guy to be that player and be the leader of your team for so long, it has been really beneficial to Pittsburgh.”   


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