Joe Woods Defense

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Douglar

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Mary Kay seems to want to see a very aggressive opening lineup by Woods. Might be too many rookies though.


Defensive coordinator Joe Woods is trying to pump the brakes and manage expectations for his hybrid rookie.
“I’m very excited, but at the same time, you just have to be careful how much you’re doing with him because he is a rookie,’’ Woods said last week. “I have stuff all over the board, but you really have to look at it at Year 1 and Year 2, because you don’t want to do so much with somebody that they’re not playing fast. I just want to be careful I don’t do too much with him this year.”
.....​
If the Browns decide to start Owusu-Koramoah and McDowell, they’ll have three defenders starting their first NFL game, including first-round cornerback Greg Newsome II.
But they have enough experience and leadership on the unit with guys like Garrett, Clowney, Jackson, Walker, John Johnson III and Denzel Ward that they can afford to start three rookies or first-year players with first-round talent.
As the Browns discovered last season, every victory counts and looms large at the end. If the Browns had lost to the Steelers in the finale, they would’ve missed the playoffs. With the AFC North race promising to be tight, the Browns must win every game they can, and it starts Sept. 12 in Kansas City.
And when that day comes, they shouldn’t hesitate to start their multipurpose ‘backer and their big, bruising defensive tackle.
 

Vee-Rex

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Mary Kay seems to want to see a very aggressive opening lineup by Woods. Might be too many rookies though.


Defensive coordinator Joe Woods is trying to pump the brakes and manage expectations for his hybrid rookie.
“I’m very excited, but at the same time, you just have to be careful how much you’re doing with him because he is a rookie,’’ Woods said last week. “I have stuff all over the board, but you really have to look at it at Year 1 and Year 2, because you don’t want to do so much with somebody that they’re not playing fast. I just want to be careful I don’t do too much with him this year.
.....​
If the Browns decide to start Owusu-Koramoah and McDowell, they’ll have three defenders starting their first NFL game, including first-round cornerback Greg Newsome II.
But they have enough experience and leadership on the unit with guys like Garrett, Clowney, Jackson, Walker, John Johnson III and Denzel Ward that they can afford to start three rookies or first-year players with first-round talent.
As the Browns discovered last season, every victory counts and looms large at the end. If the Browns had lost to the Steelers in the finale, they would’ve missed the playoffs. With the AFC North race promising to be tight, the Browns must win every game they can, and it starts Sept. 12 in Kansas City.
And when that day comes, they shouldn’t hesitate to start their multipurpose ‘backer and their big, bruising defensive tackle.
I'm not sure how to interpret those statements. I see what he's saying, but at the same time you don't want to stunt the growth of the defense. If Wu is capable of performing better than the guy ahead of him, then you're hurting the defense by keeping him on limited/simple snaps. I don't like the "don't do too much with him this year" part because he could pick up on everything far more quickly than you anticipate.

I just got that feeling with Woods, man. Like... he just doesn't seem to know what he's doing as much as our other coaches (Stefanski, AVP, Callahan, Stump, O'Shea, Priefer, etc...). I hope he proves me wrong.
 

Douglar

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Defensive coordinator Joe Woods likes to rotate his defensive linemen, each active member of the DT room will log a good number of snaps, and they’ll all need to provide quality play.
...​
Richardson was not worth the $13 million salary he was owed, but he was reliable and consistent, two things that no one in the DT rotation this year aside from Malik Jackson (who is due to show signs of age at some point) is. Moving on from Richardson before the draft, even a weak class, signaled a confidence in the room that had better be justified, otherwise things could get ugly for this revamped defense.
Elliott is extremely important to making that happen, and he'll probably end up seeing 600 snaps or more. Those need to be impactful snaps, not ones where he's getting washed out by blockers or just staying engaged at the top of the pocket, watching the quarterback throw the ball.
...

On 54 pass-rush snaps this preseason, Elliott registered five pressures, looking significantly better against both the run and the pass. He seems to have slimmed down a decent bit, and his hands are much more active. For whatever reason, he struggled in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but played significantly better against the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons. The opposing offensive lines had trouble moving the ball when Elliott and McDowell shared the field, with McDowell playing shade.
..

Jordan Elliott needs to make significant strides in year two, and his preseason performance is encouraging. Now, he needs to keep it up when the games actually matter. If he doesn't, the Browns defensive line is in trouble.
 

Randolphkeys

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“I’m very excited, but at the same time, you just have to be careful how much you’re doing with him because he is a rookie,’’ Woods said last week. “I have stuff all over the board, but you really have to look at it at Year 1 and Year 2, because you don’t want to do so much with somebody that they’re not playing fast. I just want to be careful I don’t do too much with him this year.”

The Wu situation is totally different than the McDowell situation.

I could see JOK as a passing down linebacker to start the season but bumping up to full time as the season progresses. He admitted to making some errors in preseason, so that's going to go away in time.

McDowell just spent 11 months behind bars not too long ago. Is he talented enough to play 70% of the snaps like Garrett and Clowney? Probably. But mentally how much pressure can he take without pushing him to a dangerous level?

The Browns handled Kareem Hunt perfectly when he was going through a similar mental health tipping point. Hunt could have played more snaps physically, but the Browns didn't give him too much too soon.

I'm hoping this McDowell experiment lasts all the way through the season without any setbacks. If that means Billings plays more in the regular season to insulate McDowell, the team will probably still win the game.
 

The Human Q-Tip

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I'm not sure how to interpret those statements. I see what he's saying, but at the same time you don't want to stunt the growth of the defense. If Wu is capable of performing better than the guy ahead of him, then you're hurting the defense by keeping him on limited/simple snaps. I don't like the "don't do too much with him this year" part because he could pick up on everything far more quickly than you anticipate.

I just got that feeling with Woods, man. Like... he just doesn't seem to know what he's doing as much as our other coaches (Stefanski, AVP, Callahan, Stump, O'Shea, Priefer, etc...). I hope he proves me wrong.

I thought Woods was referring to JOK's potential to play multiple positions all over the field. His physical profile makes him incredibly versatile, and enables the disguising of defenses, but LB, and corner, and safety also require knowledge of those specific roles/positions in our defense. So I think what he's saying is that he's not going to overload JOK with having to learn too much all at once. When he's comfortable in his linebacker role, Woods may expand what he does, but he's not going to throw all of that on JOK at once, and expect him to flex as a hybrid LB/safety/corner right out of the gate.
 

Douglar

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Don’t blame Joe Woods for the Browns’ 2020 defensive struggles. He coached through a roster of limited resources, injuries and stopgaps. GM Andrew Berry rewarded Wood’s patience with a 2021 remodel, spending large in free agency on Jadeveon Clowney, John Johnson III and Troy Hill.

Then linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fell to the second round of the draft and Berry pounced….
 

Out of the Rafters at the Q

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Don’t blame Joe Woods for the Browns’ 2020 defensive struggles. He coached through a roster of limited resources, injuries and stopgaps. GM Andrew Berry rewarded Wood’s patience with a 2021 remodel, spending large in free agency on Jadeveon Clowney, John Johnson III and Troy Hill.

Then linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fell to the second round of the draft and Berry pounced….
I think it's perfectly fair to criticize Woods for what he's done so far. I don't think he's shown anything yet. I haven't seen our defense try and keep opposing QB's uncomfortable. I haven't seen exotic fronts, disguised pressures, baiting coverages. There is an aspect of coaching that the great DC's, like Spags, Saban, et al bring to the table that I haven't yet seen out of Woods.

The talent on the field last year never was going to equate to a good defense. I don't blame Woods for that. Nobody is winning with Sendejo, Redwine, MJ Stewart and the rest. However, with more talent this year, and hopefully more health, I want to see him flex a bit. I want to see more out of him.
 

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Don’t blame Joe Woods for the Browns’ 2020 defensive struggles. He coached through a roster of limited resources, injuries and stopgaps. GM Andrew Berry rewarded Wood’s patience with a 2021 remodel, spending large in free agency on Jadeveon Clowney, John Johnson III and Troy Hill.

Then linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fell to the second round of the draft and Berry pounced….

I agree. The key to keeping an offense guessing is having flexibility on defense, and that requires a certain level of player proficiency. We had so many poor players on defense that it was a struggle at times to run even a base defense, much less ask players to go beyond their core positional responsibilities. But Woods will have no excuse this year.
 

Randolphkeys

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I think it's perfectly fair to criticize Woods for what he's done so far. I don't think he's shown anything yet. I haven't seen our defense try and keep opposing QB's uncomfortable. I haven't seen exotic fronts, disguised pressures, baiting coverages. There is an aspect of coaching that the great DC's, like Spags, Saban, et al bring to the table that I haven't yet seen out of Woods.

The talent on the field last year never was going to equate to a good defense. I don't blame Woods for that. Nobody is winning with Sendejo, Redwine, MJ Stewart and the rest. However, with more talent this year, and hopefully more health, I want to see him flex a bit. I want to see more out of him.

Exotic blitzes with crappy players has been done here before. It occasionally works, gives up big plays even more. The silver locks of Rob Ryan are burned into my retinas.
 

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Exotic blitzes with crappy players has been done here before. It occasionally works, gives up big plays even more. The silver locks of Rob Ryan are burned into my retinas.
I don't need tons of pressure all the time--I think that's foolish.

I do think that the mindset of a defensive coordinator has to transition from "This defense can stop the offense" to "Over the course of the game, this defense will cause the offense to make the most amount of mistakes."

Plays like this really stand out to me (starts at 3:00):


I want to see an increased frequency of Woods trying to create situations where the offense makes a mistake because someone makes a wrong read.

Even though I'd call this an exotic pressure, it's still only bringing 5--leaving 6 in coverage.

I don't want things like this to happen all the time. I actually hate the overly-aggressive zone blitz schemes. I will be looking for Woods to add wrinkles like this a handful of times per game though.
 

Vee-Rex

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Don’t blame Joe Woods for the Browns’ 2020 defensive struggles. He coached through a roster of limited resources, injuries and stopgaps. GM Andrew Berry rewarded Wood’s patience with a 2021 remodel, spending large in free agency on Jadeveon Clowney, John Johnson III and Troy Hill.

Then linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fell to the second round of the draft and Berry pounced….
My criticisms of Woods are mostly related to situational football. I didn't like how quickly we shifted to "Prevent Defense" which resulted in nearly costing us games against the Cowboys, Titans, Jaguars, Eagles, and playoff Steelers game.

The Raiders ran all over us in a hurricane and it took until the 4th quarter before we even put 8 in the box. Even moreso, our gameplan against Joe Burrow x2 was awful. Dude is not much of a deep ball thrower, but instead of challenging him there we played soft Cover 4 and allowed him to pick us apart with underneath throws BOTH games. Outside of our games, Joe Burrow's stats look rather average/pedestrian.

Then, on the final game of the regular season, we employ the exact opposite strategy against Mason Rudolph, a guy who is known to connect on those prayer deep balls. Instead of defending deep, we let him repeatedly test the likes of Robert Jackson 1-on-1 with Claypool. Rudolph's the type of guy you want to force to drive down the field, similar to how we defended Burrow. We nearly lost the spot in the playoffs because of that. I think we also ran too much man coverage against Lamar on MNF which led to giving up 47 points. Even with the defensive personnel as bad as it is... 47?

My hope is that with better players he'll feel more comfortable utilizing different coverages and expanding on our playbook. We absolutely have to account for what he worked with last year, but he's still open to criticism.
 
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