Joe Woods Discusses What He Wants to Do With Browns Defense

Pete Smith

The press conference for new Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods focused on topics including the base front, what he likes about the current personnel, his philosophy for the defense and a few outstanding issues that need to be addressed. He also seemed to put a priority on disrupting and stopping the pass before stopping the run.

When he was asked on the state of the defensive roster that will be returning in 2020: 

“Just from last year, playing against these guys and having a chance to look at the tape, we have a talented roster. There are some guys who are very talented on the defensive side of the ball at the right positions so I feel like I am really coming to a very fortunate situation where we have some of the pieces in place.”

He was asked for the key positions on defense, which is where he gave an indication what his priority is to stop on defense, responding, “Rushers and cover guys.”

Discussing those roles as they pertain to the Browns, Woods said the following:

“I think our front is very good and is very talented. It is going to be our job as coaches to get them to play as good as they can and to their ability level. The back end, we have some young corners. I have coached corners my whole career and the back end. When you have some young, talented corners, that excites you.”

In explaining what he hopes to do with his defense:

“Really with defenses, everybody really runs the same stuff. It is just how you do it. Everybody is going to run three-deep, everybody is going to run man, man pressure and fire zone, but I think it is about how you put the package together. I want to make sure I give offenses a lot of the same looks but play different coverages and make them figure it out at the line of scrimmage. That has always kind of been my mindset so that is what I am going to try to do here.”

When he was asked about balancing disguising defensive coverages with trying to avoid overloading players and getting too cute:

“That exactly how I view it. Just putting packages together, the first thing you want to make sure you are doing is trying to stop what the offense is trying to do. Then when you get to third-down situations, you want to make sure you are attacking with pressure. We will have different ways to do that, but I think just trying to coordinate it all together and try to help it work better. We do not want to do so much that our players can’t play fast, but at the same time, I want them to figure it out on Sunday not during the week. We will always have some little wrinkle from the week.”

Regarding Myles Garrett and coming back from his suspension, the type of player he is:

“It is an unfortunate situation what happened. I think sometimes emotions of the game get to you. I am sure it is something he has learned from and wants to put behind him. My job is just to coach him. He is very talented. I coached another player from Texas A&M, (Broncos OLB) Von Miller. I see them both as the same type of player so I just look forward to getting him on the field just to see what he can do.”

Woods acknowledged the issues at the safety position, which currently has only Sheldrick Redwine under contract and J.T. Hassell in their offseason program:

 "Based on free agency, we are going to have to add some pieces and same thing in the draft. I feel like there is young talent there, and that is all you want as a coach is some players that when you watch tape that you feel like they are good enough to do what you need them to do. We are going to have to add some pieces. We lost a few guys so we will see what happens here.”

He was also asked about the free agent elephant in the room in linebacker Joe Schobert:

“I just had a chance to start looking at those guys to be honest with you. I got here so late, and I am way behind when hiring a staff and all that stuff. I did get a chance to go look at a little bit of tape. He is a good player. This is the NFL. The organization (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager) Andrew (Berry) is going to make the best decision for the Cleveland Browns, whether that is him being here or moving on. I trust him with what his decision making is going to be, but I know he is a good football player.”