Just hours before the NFC Championship game, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that San Francisco 49ers defensive backs coach Joe Woods is “on track” to become the new defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns:
49ers’ DB coach Joe Woods is on track to become the Browns' next defensive coordinator if the two sides can agree to a contract, per sources.https://t.co/veCiwSBnYa— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 19, 2020
If the 49ers lose later today, the Browns can bring in Woods and his defensive assistants rather soon. If the 49ers make it to the Super Bowl, though, it’ll be another two weeks before they can hire him. Either way, as of now, it seems like Woods is their guy, and that Steve Wilks and Wade Phillips are out of consideration. Our 49ers affiliate, Niners Nation, had some nice things to say about the importance of Woods to the 49ers’ defensive scheme in 2019:
Everything I’ve gathered this season is that Woods is doing a lot of the heavy lifting from a scheme standpoint. San Francisco still ran zone predominantly during the regular season (78% zone). Still, Woods brought over more quarters cover principles, pattern-matching schemes, and checks pre-snap that keep the 49ers defense in a numbers advantage. Simply put, he’d be a significant loss for the 49ers.
Woods was the Vikings’ defensive backs coach from 2006-2013, where he was on the same coaching staff as Kevin Stefanski. He also has two years experience as defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos from 2017-2018.