Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods (9.15.22)


On if the Browns defense took K Cade York out this week following the game-winning FG:

“I hugged him after the game, and I was like, ‘I love you’ (laughter). It happens like that sometimes.”


On preparing for the NY Jets and NY Jets QB Joe Flacco, who had 59 pass attempts last week:

“I don’t think that is what they really want to do. I think they really want to establish the run game and build their play-action pass game off of that. Teams that throw the ball like that, it usually means that they are behind. I am sure we will see a little bit different gameplan early, but I definitely do not think they want to throw the ball that much.”


On CB Martin Emerson Jr.’s first NFL game:

“I thought he played really well. There are a couple of things there that we have to tighten up in terms of technique, but overall, I don’t think the game was too big for him. The penalty, he had the guy covered. It is like, ‘You have him covered. Why are you grabbing him?’ on the sideline. It is just going through those things and growing up being in those situations.”


On what leads to miscommunication that results in big plays in the NFL and how to prevent it:

“I can’t speak for anybody else, but it is something that we work on all of the time. Just on that particular play, I don’t know why there was miscommunication. The situation in the game, they were behind so they probably had to throw the ball. That is why I made the call I made. We just have to play better, and we have to communicate better, but we can’t let those plays happen like that ever.”


On Panthers TE Ian Thomas’ long reception in the second quarter:

“I take responsibility for that. That was my fault. It was third-down-and-[3 on the previous play]. They were in 12 personnel so I put a certain package on the field. They changed the personnel group but kind of got on the ball. Instead of just staying with the group that I had in there, I tried to change to a different personnel package, and I did not really cleanly communicate that or I do not feel like I got the call across so I told the guys, ‘That is my fault. That play is on me.’”


On the Browns defense playing well for the bulk of the game but surrendering a few big plays having a significant impact:

“That is life in the NFL. It is two or three plays, and it always seems like the game goes down to the last series. You have to play really well and error free just to giver yourself a chance. I was happy the way we started. I thought everything with gameplan went really well, but after that, the plays with the bad substitution on my part and the end of the second half, there were just two or three plays we didn’t execute well on and we got in that type of game.”


On the Browns DL playing aggressively last week and also batting down some passes at the line of scrimmage and if that is the desired style of play:

“Absolutely. I want those guys to be able to rush the passer, but to me, there are certain things you have to do. Whether you pressure and create one on ones or whether you try to play coverage to try to get them to hold onto the ball, we are trying to mix all of those things, but I really feel good about our defensive line and I feel like they are going to continue to grow and get better. That was part of the gameplan is really trying to get our hands up and bat the ball down.”


On taking accountability for Thomas’ long reception due to the substitution and his reaction to it:

“I really, really focus on trying to stay calm during the game, trying to block out all of the noise and don’t let the circumstances of the game affect the decisions I am trying to make. After each series, I go down and I go through everything, but I get away from everybody because you are trying to get your thoughts together. When things start going bad, you don’t want to panic. You want to just make the adjustments within your gameplan that the guys understand, and at some point, you will make a play and get off the field. I don’t want to get into that emotional rollercoaster situation mentally.”


On if it is challenging to not react emotionally after bad plays or if he is used to being controlled in those circumstances:

“I do not want to say I am used to it. It has happened a few times. When a game gets close like that, you really just have to rely on the adjustments you made, speaking with different coaches and trying to put ourselves in good position. You don’t want to panic, and you definitely don’t want to the players to see you panic. I just really try to stay calm.”


On if he potentially was more emotional earlier in his career and has learned not to do so for the benefit of him and the team:

“Honestly, you get tight sometimes. I am not going to lie about it, you get tight sometimes. At the end of the day, you have to trust the players. You have to trust the players, and you have to trust the calls that you make. I think earlier on in my career, it was just going through that experience the first time when I was at Denver, but as you learn getting the trust of the system and trust your players, then you build more confidence, and it makes it easier to make those calls.”


On the message to DT Taven Bryant after the roughing the passer penalty:

“I just said, ‘Hey, keep playing hard.’ They make the call. Obviously, the weight came down on the quarterback so we try to correct that. That is the nature of the game. Things like that are going to happen. I just told him, ‘Hey, keep playing hard.’”


On if it is frustrating when a roughing the passer penalty like the one is called, including given the fact the team practices rolling off of the QB after hits to not put weight on the QB:

“That is part of the game. We just make sure that we show the things that we do and we did really well in the game and things that we need to improve. That is one of the plays that we showed. Hopefully, we can make that correction. I am just happy he was hitting the quarterback.”


On evaluating DE Alex Wright’s performance in Week 1, including a PD at the line of scrimmage:

“It was good. I thought he went in and executed well. We knew he was going to be part of the rotation. It did not seem like the game was too big for him. When he first got here, it was kind of like the wide-eyed look. This isn’t UAB. I think he has grown through that, and I think he will continue to get better the more experience and the bigger games that he plays in.”


On Wright’s willingness to ask questions benefitting development:

“He wants to be good. He is sitting in the room with Myles and (DE Jadeveon) Clowney. You have two good guys to ask questions. I think he is a sponge. He is learning a lot from those guys. These game situations now and now it is real, I think he will really develop at a higher rate.”


On the performance of the Browns DTs in Week 1:

“We did a good job. We saw a couple of runs. It was unfortunate the one run he (Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey) had, he just picked it up, and I think JOK (LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah) just shot the A Gap because the ball was on the ground. He ended up picking it up and running the play. Overall, I felt like we did a good job. I know there was concern about our defensive line. I didn’t have that concern because I really felt like the talent was there. I saw (DT) Jordan Elliott get better and (DT) Tommy Togiai get better. I know when Taven came out [of the draft], he was very highly thought of. I just thought it was time for those guys to work together, whether it is stunts, pass-rush games or things of that nature. I thought they played well.”


On Garrett needing two sacks to set the Browns all-time sack record despite playing in 69 career games:

“In my time, it is really impressive because he is a talented player. You see it. I said it last week, he looks like a tailback playing D end. It is freaky looking sometimes. It is the speed and his ability to bend off of the edge. We know teams are going to put a lot of protection towards him so there are certain things we are trying to do in terms of defensive scheme and the ability for him to move around to try to create some matchups to get him away from that, and we will get better at that over time. Just everything he has been able to do, it just speaks to who he is as a player and his mindset.”


On when up 20-7 in the third quarter the mindset is one third-down sack from the game being over or if the philosophy is to play coverage:

“You have to be smart in situations, but I want to make sure we run our defense. All of our calls, they are built not to give up big plays. You hope the guys execute their technique. I want to stay aggressive. When you have guys like Myles and JOK and guys who can cover, I think you have the ability to be aggressive. We just didn’t execute.”


On the counterargument to being aggressive that coverage could be better in that situation type of situation with a 13-point lead entering the end of the game:

“There are times based on situation where you play more coverage and you let your guys rush up front. Obviously, we do that. At the same time, I think with the mixture of calls we had, I feel like I could call anything in that game.”


On S John Johnson III receiving some external criticism for not providing over-the-top help to CB Greg Newsome II on the 75-yard TD reception last week and if Johnson should have done that on the play:

“No. Just the way we play in that coverage, just miscommunication. We cleaned it up. It was nobody’s fault in particular. We have to work together better on the backend on that particular play.”


On Stefanski noting the Browns and NY Jets defense sharing similarities:

“There are parts of our defense that are very similar. I know there are different things they do because I have talked to him (NY Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh). I talked to him about a week ago. There are different things that they do and there are different things that we do because I have pulled from different systems where I have been. There is some carryover, which I know will help our offense just in terms of practice. It is going to help us, too, because we know what they like to do at times.”


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