Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods (12.8.22)


On if he has been waiting for a defensive performance like last Sunday’s:

“Oh yeah, definitely. Feels good when you get those type of games or you are playing those type of games.”


On the feeling when takeaways start to pile up in a game:

“They do. Sometimes you get in a groove and you feel like every call you make is going to work. It was just that feeling. So it was a good job by the guys.”


On the Bengals offense:

“It is just when you play these guys, they are so explosive on offense. They have players all over the field. I think they won the last four and beat Kansas City three times in a row. Probably nobody has done that. They are playing at a really high level. For us, our playmakers have to show up. Defensively, you just want to have a simple plan where the guys get to play fast.”


On LB Sione Takitaki sustaining a season-ending knee injury:

“Everybody loves Tak. He loves the game. A great competitor and leadership qualities. Him going down, that hurt everybody. I talked to him this morning when I saw him. I know he will bounce back, but we lost a big part of our defense there. At the same time, it is an opportunity for other guys to step up.”


On challenges with the Browns sustaining multiple long-term injuries at MIKE this season:

“It is just one of things. This year just at that position, we had A-Walk (LB Anthony Walker Jr.), then (LB) Jacob (Phillips) and then Sione go down. Again, we have young guys. Somebody is going to have to step up. We have Deebo (LB Deion Jones) so he will play more of a role. (LB) Jordan Kunaszyk will play more of a role. Everybody is going to have to step up try to fulfill that role.”


On the Browns’ plan at LB against the Bengals offense:

“It will be based on what we put out there. We will move guys around in different packages. We will rotate guys. Deion Jones and Jordan Kunaszyk, those guys will be out there at the MIKE position.”


On LB Reggie Ragland’s availability for this week’s game:

“We have to see. He has to learn the system. He didn’t really play in this type of system so it is really just learning the techniques. We will see where he is. A very smart player. He is picking it up pretty fast.”


On the Bengals running game:

“I think the game after ours (Bengals RB) Joe Mixon had five touchdowns and four rushing. That is the thing, we have to prepare for different things based on what we see on tape. Just based on our run defense this year, we go into every game thinking we are going to get run. We have to have a plan for it. We do, as well as some other things they like to do offensively.”


On what the Browns have done to improve run defense in recent weeks and if fundamentals have been emphasized:

“Yes. For me gameplan wise, just always looking at it – not that we can’t do things – based on the team we are playing, what do we need to win? What are the changeups? Trying to keep it to a minimum so that way during practice we can fit multiple runs and those coverages, and the guys feel comfortable and they can play fast. It is a little bit of that and guys just really doing their job.”


On the Browns being 4-0 against the Bengals with Bengals QB Joe Burrow and what the defense has done against the Bengals to be successful where other opponents have not been:

“Honestly – I have said it to you guys before –this league is a matchup league, and I feel like we have good matchups against those guys. I feel along the way we have gotten some breaks as part of it. The ball has bounced our way. The last game, the two takeaways we had are just freak things – a tipped ball and then him moving up in the pocket and us getting the ball out. For us, we are going to have to play at our very best to have a chance to win against these guys. Again, they are playing really well right now.”


On the Bengals having a one-two punch in the running game with Bengals RB Samaje Perine having success in recent weeks when Mixon was unavailable:

“I definitely think we are going to see both of those backs. Perine, he is a load. He gets downhill, very physical, breaking tackles and stiff arming people. I think we will see a combination of both backs for sure.”


On Burrow saying that DE Myles Garrett is what makes the Browns defense different than other opponents:

“That is a good answer (laughter). I am not sure, but I heard somebody say in the last four games [against the Bengals] Myles had six sacks and 21 pressures. When Myles gets rolling and we can create some opportunities for him, he is hard to deal with. Him saying that and just every week to week, we always think of what teams will do to try and block Myles. Are we going to see different protection schemes? Are we going to see more chips? We try to prepare for those things in case it happens.”


On the stats he referenced being from just games against the Bengals:

“Somebody was saying something like that – it could be totally wrong – but I just heard somebody say that. I know he has played well in the last couple of games against them.”


On if the Bengals offense will try to incorporate unique elements that the Browns defense has struggled against this season or if the Bengals will likely  run their typical scheme, given the Bengals don’t often motion or other aspects pre-snap:

“They have all of that stuff. It just depends on how much they want to do it. That is where part of the game for them and for us is making adjustments. All of the jet motions and the different type of runs, they have it. It is just whatever their gameplan is going to be. I definitely know we are going to have to adjust with what we are calling, especially early in the game.”


On if last week was the most Garrett has moved around on the DL:

“We try to move him around a little bit, but it is week to week. We want to try to create the matchups that we feel are favorable for him to win one on ones but also put other guys in position. We had a few things for him last week. He really didn’t get to the quarterback that much, but it is still pressure and the quarterback felt pressure.”


On if Garrett resists wanting to be moved along the DL:

“No. No.”


On moving Garrett along the DL but Garrett also performing well at a designated end position:

“It is a little bit of both. He understands we want to move him around, and he understands week to week where are best matchups are against our opponents. No, hasn’t not been resistant to that.”


On where Burrow ranks among NFL QBs he has faced:

“Very high. Very high. When you watch him play, he is very calm. It is like nothing gets to him. He is very smart. He goes though his progressions. I think for him you can see his growth just in my time being here, he is not forcing the ball. He goes through his progressions, it is not there and you see him get rid of the ball and throw the check-down. He is accurate. If you do everything right, he is going to run. He does it all. I think he is playing at a high level.”


On the Browns’ success creating pressure on Burrow and how the Bengals and Burrow have tried to adjust to it:

“Really, I credit the success to the players. Again, it is a matchup game and when you can create matchups where you feel you have a chance to win… I think that has happened at times against them, but at times, it has been hard. I think back to the first year, they threw the ball like 60 times, and we couldn’t touch the guy. I don’t know why we are having that type of success against them, but I would just say it all goes back to the players.”


On being prepared for the Bengals to run the ball out of three-WR sets:

“You just have to be gap sound. You just can’t say we are going to go double a receiver and not be able to fit the run game. That is where they create problems because they are running the ball and throwing it out of 11 personnel. You have seen it show up a little bit more with Mixon after our game. There are going to be times where we are going to be one on one, and if they choose to throw, then we are going to have to win some of those battles.”


On the challenge with Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase playing in this week’s game after not being available in Week 8:

“A lot harder. I give credit to all of their players. I think (Bengals WRs Tyler) Boyd and Tee Higgins stepped up. They do some unique things to try to create one on ones with their receivers, but now when you get Chase back, now it is a whole different ball game because you can’t take care of all of them all of the time. We just have to have guys who are going to have to win when they are matched up one on one.”


On if LB Tony Fields II could have a larger role on defense after a strong performance last week and Takitaki’s injury, including in the nickel package:

“Everybody is going to have to step up, not just him. When you lose a player of that caliber, the guys-in-waiting and the young guys, they have to step up. For us, it is going to be different packages whether we are in base or sub in terms of which guy gets more reps.”


On the significance of takeaways in games and the mantra that they come in bunches:

“I have to believe that because we need more. You see what happens when we get the takeaways. For whatever reason, they weren’t coming our way early in the season. Hopefully, what we did really the last couple of weeks is a trend and it continues.”


On if it has been frustrating that some of the Browns’ competitive plans in training camp practices focused on takeaways and other elements on defense didn’t reflect in games early in the season:

“Yes, definitely. We work on it in practice. We talk about it. I showed the practice clips and game clips, but it just comes down to creating those opportunities and when you get those opportunities to cashing in.”


On if offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt’s time with the Bengals can significantly benefit the Browns defense this week:

“Not really. I think I got asked that question last time. There are very simple questions that I have asked him in the past, but when it comes to game planning, it is just how we want to gameplan our scheme to what they are doing.”


On those conversations with and ‘simple questions’ asked of Van Pelt in the past about the Bengals:

“I really don’t want to say that or put that out there. Just common-sense type of things, but nothing in great detail. He hasn’t been there in a while. Again, we are going to do what we do.”


On the significance of contributions from young players like CB Martin Emerson Jr. in games like this week’s:

“It is big. It is a big part of what we do. It gives you comfort sometimes when you want to be a little bit more aggressive. We move guys around trying to create matchups so we will continue to do that. As a rookie, they are going after him, but he is making some plays. It has been good for us so far this year.”


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