Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods (9.29.22)


On if DE Myles Garrett is expected to play on Sunday after the one-car accident occurred Monday:

“Myles won’t practice today, but I know it is going to be a day-to-day thing. There is a chance, but it will be based on what the medical staff says.”


On confirming whether or not Garrett will practice today:



On the reaction to learning about and see photos from Garrett’s accident:

“We always talk to the players just really about being safe in the building and outside of the building. Fortunately for him, he had his seatbelt on and he is healthy, and that is all that is really important. It is something that he will probably learn from. We are just happy that he is healthy.”


On how significantly the Browns defense will be adjusted if Garrett is unavailable this week:

“It is something over the years that you get used to unfortunately. We have good players – guys who we drafted and guys who we signed in free agency – so we want to keep whatever the best plan is to beat our opponent, and that is what we will do this week and go from there.”


On Garrett and DE Jadeveon Clowney potentially not being available on Sunday with young Browns players behind them on the depth chart needing to step up:

“I really believe – I know I have said this before – it is not that guys have to step up and do anything special; it is just go out and do your job. If we had all of our guys available, I wouldn’t say, ‘Hey, don’t worry about it. You can take it easy.’ I haven’t really talked to them more about the situation we are in. It is just whoever is up and whoever is healthy, let’s just go play the best football we can to give our team a chance to win.”


On DE Alex Wright’s development since joining the team:

“Alex is definitely getting better every week. He is learning what life is like in the NFL, the players he has to go against every week. You can see him from a technical standpoint and from a confidence standpoint improving in terms of playing the run and improving in the pass rush. We move him around a little bit outside and inside. He is definitely getting better every week.”


On if there is a specific area in which Wright has improved most:

“Setting the edges. Running stunts whenever we pressure. His ability to work with others in our pass-rush games, whether he is the guy setting it up or whether he is the guy we are trying to free up. You see all of that with him. We are going to continue to put more on his plate.”


On the Falcons offense:

“They do some unique things. They are definitely taking advantage of (Falcons QB Marcus) Mariota’s skillset. They have talented players around him who have size and can run. You can definitely see there are things where they are trying to get the ball to certain guys and there are things that they are trying to do to take advantage of Mariota and what he is able to do running and passing the ball. They use a lot of different personnel groups, a lot of personnel groups just to make you put different sub-packages on the field. Right now with him, they probably have the scheme where they want it.”


On if it is challenging preparing a gameplan when an opponent like the Falcons uses so many personnel groups on offense:

“It is because you have to make sure that you are doing what you need to defend what you see on tape. There are going to be some un-scouted looks, but it is not like you can just throw the kitchen sink at them because you might want to pressure them, and they run the ball. Now they are running the ball, and there is nobody there. You have to be very careful in terms of what you are doing, and it is really based on what they choose to put on the field.”


On Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson:

“I know Cordarrelle. I was in Minnesota when we drafted him. He was a very explosive returner early in his career, but he is a tough, physical runner. He is going to get north and south. A really tough mentality in terms of his mindset. We know we are going to have to have multiple players tackle him. We have to be able to set edges. You see some of the run game we watched on tape where he is creasing people right now on the edge. We are definitely going to have our hands full, but it is going to take everybody.”


On the challenges when the Browns defense has sustained recent injuries at all levels of the unit:

“Defensively, you don’t want to give them too much where they can’t handle it, but at the same time, that is why they are here. I don’t believe that there are backups in the NFL. I just believe there are starters-in-waiting. Some of the guys are still developing and learning, but I trust those guys. I believe they are good players who are going to fill in for those guys if they don’t play, and we are going to keep doing what we do defensively.”


On how Browns CBs playing against WR Amari Cooper helps the defense:

“It is a battle. You like to look at there and you see our corners, whether it is (CBs) Denzel (Ward), Greg (Newsome II) or Greedy, and it is a battle. It is good-on-good. You have elite players going against each other. They get better.”


On the Falcons offense using Mariota more as was done at Oregon than compared to the Titans:

“I am sure he is reading some of the runs when he is pulling it. The thing he will do is he will challenge your leverage. He is reading is the end closing or is the end coming up the field. There are times where he will pull it and just see if you can contain him. When you see that and you see his athletic ability on tape, he is dangerous. You have to account for him at times in the run game, but you can’t do it all of the time. That is why I think he is a dangerous player with what they are doing with him because of his ability to run the ball.”


On defending against Mariota when with the Titans and Raiders and if he is able to be successful dropping back and running:

“He was with Oakland when we played against him, but he just had a small package. They are doing both, but I think that is what makes it difficult to defend. He is dropping back and there is a lot of play-action, but he is also running the ball in really unusual situations when you are not expecting it. I think the ability to do both is really making him tough to defend.”


On what makes RPOs challenging to defend:

“Guys on defense are responsible for certain gaps. When you get the play fake, they are stepping to their gaps, and now they get a one on one in space. You really have to work on what schemes you are running and who is responsible for the run fit and the leverage of the guy in defense. We talk about that all the time because that is what football has turned into in the NFL, just a little bit more of the college spread.”


On if he was surprised CB Denzel Ward played the whole game against the Steelers and then was on the injury report this week:

“No, the game is so physical. Guys have the adrenaline rush that they play through, and that game was very emotional Thursday night against Pittsburgh. It happens from time to time, but no, I wasn’t surprised.”


On Ward’s status for Sunday:

“It is day to day, but he has been out there. We will see where he is, but I definitely feel like there is a good chance that he will play.”


On if there are things the Browns defense can do to make things easier when DE Myles Garrett is getting a lot of attention from opposing offenses:

“Yeah, we definitely do. We have a plan for him, and it is based on the situation. You can’t always do it, but we definitely have a plan when it comes to chip protection. He is going to see a lot of it. Even if you don’t see it when you are breaking down tape, it is going to happen.”


On Falcons TE Kyle Pitts:

“Big, athletic and fast. He can block. I think the first play preseason last year, he hit us on a boot for about 30 yards. He is a tough matchup because they are moving him all over the place. You have to be careful what you are running and who is responsible for covering him. There are multiple things that we have to do. Sometimes you make him run through zone, sometimes you cloud him and sometimes you double him, but I think you have to do all of them so it makes it harder for them to find him.”


On correcting miscommunication in the secondary from early in the season:

“I think they took ownership just in terms of what happened late in the game and then from a coaching standpoint we took ownership. We have to do it together. If the execution is not there, you have to pull it back and see what is really happening. That is what we took the time to do to really kind of get down to what the nuts and bolts was happening and those are the corrections that we tried to make. Going into the Pittsburgh game at halftime, we had to make some adjustments, and we put a lot of pressure on the players to make it just based on what was happening, and they did a great job. We made the corrections. Moving forward against Pittsburgh, they did a nice job of handling it on the field. That is the thing that you talk about. You show them the things they do well and the errors they need to improve.”


On how much an opponent’s offense may change when not having to account for Garrett, given it could free up players to run routes or other assignments:

“That is possible. You don’t know because there are things we do in blitzing the quarterback and different blitz packages we have. You don’t know if they respect that or like you said, if Myles isn’t out there and now you are getting a lot of guys releasing. It is something that is possible. It is something that we talk about and that we will have a plan for it.”


On opponents scoring more in the second and fourth quarters than the first and third quarters:

“If I remember – it goes fast –against the Jets, I think we played well coming out of halftime and really the whole way until the last two minutes of the game. I think we gave up three points. I think it was really the same thing against Pittsburgh. I think we are doing a good job of handling adjustments those last two games. The first game with Carolina, just making some mistakes in terms of execution and me in terms of putting certain defensive packages on the field and not getting the call out quick enough. It is all those things you learn from. In those critical situations, you just want to make sure that you are calling something that the guys are confident in and they can play fast and execute.”


On if LB Dakota Allen will likely be elevated from the practice squad this week due to injuries at the position:

“Not sure. We practice him. We have some other guys who are ready to step up, but I think it is all going to depend on what happens the rest of the week with JOK (Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah).”


On losing LB Anthony Walker Jr. for the remainder of the season and if LB Sione Takitaki can also play MIKE:

“Definitely. It is a big blow just because of the leadership and what Anthony was doing on the field. Definitely thought that he was playing really well for us, and then guys are confident when he is in there. I definitely feel like (LB) Jacob (Phillips) is ready to take the reins. He is very confident. He is a take-charge type of guy. He is just young. He is learning. Sione, we involved him in teaching him multiple positions so he will be ready to step in our nickel, dime and our ruby package.”


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