Joe Woods

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spun for several weeks, many teams made coordinator changes as well. Teams seeking new head coaches are conducting OC and DC searches, and a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

This is a big year for offensive coordinator hires, with nearly half the league making changes. Here are the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 3-1-23 (3:31pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals 

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Carolina Panthers (Out: Ben McAdoo)

  • Thomas Brown, tight ends coach, (Rams): Hired
  • Jim Bob Cooter, passing-game coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Kellen Moore)

  • Brian Angelichio, tight ends coach (Vikings): Interviewed 2/2
  • Thomas Brown, tight ends coach (Rams): Interviewed
  • Jeff Nixon, running backs coach (Panthers): Interviewed
  • Brian Schottenheimer, offensive consultant (Cowboys): Hired

Denver Broncos (Out: Justin Outten)

Houston Texans (Out: Pep Hamilton)

Indianapolis Colts (Out: Parks Frazier)

  • Jim Bob Cooter, passing-game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Tee Martin, wide receivers coach (Ravens): Interview requested

Kansas City Chiefs (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Matt Nagy, quarterbacks coach (Chiefs): Hired

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Shane Steichen)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals (Out: Vance Joseph)

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Leslie Frazier)

Carolina Panthers (Out: Al Holcomb)

  • Ejiro Evero, former defensive coordinator (Broncos): Hired
  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): Interviewed
  • Marquand Manuel, safeties coach (Jets): Interviewed
  • Kris Richard, co-defensive coordinator (Saints): Interviewed

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans 

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Renaldo Hill)

  • Derrick Ansley, defensive backs coach (Chargers): Promoted
  • Doug Belk, defensive coordinator (Houston): Interviewed
  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Interviewed

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Ryan Nielsen, Kris Richard)

  • Joe Woods, former defensive coordinator (Browns): Hired

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Jonathan Gannon)

San Francisco 49ers (Out: DeMeco Ryans)

  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): On radar
  • Chris Harris, defensive backs coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/31
  • Kris Kocurek, defensive line coach (49ers): On radar
  • Steve Wilks, former interim head coach (Panthers): Hired

Saints Expected To Hire Joe Woods As DC

The Saints’ search for their new defensive coordinator is reportedly set to come to an end. New Orleans is expected to hire Joe Woods to lead the unit, replacing the departed co-DCs in place in 2022 (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler).

The Saints had both Ryan Nielsen and Kris Richard in place last season, but neither will be returning in 2023. Nielsen has been hired by the Falcons in an intra-divisional move, while Richard has yet to land his next NFL opportunity. That vacancy has very quickly been filled by the Saints.

Woods interviewed with New Orleans last week, and was the only known candidate for the position in the wake of Nielsen’s and Richard’s departures. It comes as little surprise that he was the team’s ultimate choice, and the Saints can now move forward in the offseason with an experienced staffer at the helm. Woods most recently served as Cleveland’s DC.

That three-year tenure came to an end after the 2022 season, as the Browns fired the 52-year-old. Cleveland had a strong showing in terms of total defense in 2021, but otherwise put up middling numbers with Woods at the helm. He was increasingly thought to be on the hot seat as this past season progressed, though his unit did show signs of improvement down the stretch.

Eyeing a turnaround in front seven play in particular, Cleveland has turned to Jim Schwartz to guide their defense. That move left Woods free to explore other vacancies, including the one in New Orleans which will allow him to reunite with head coach Dennis Allen. The pair briefly worked together with the Raiders in 2014, the time which immediately proceeded Woods’ four-year stay in Denver.

That tenure saw him play a notable role in the Broncos’ suffocating defense during their Super Bowl season, coaching the team’s defensive backs. His time after being promoted to Denver’s DC did not go according to plan, but this New Orleans position will allow him to return to his coaching roots in terms of positional expertise. Nick Underhill of tweets that Allen will call plays on defense, allowing Woods to primarily focus on the Saints’ defensive backs.

As a result, assistant Cory Robinson – whose contract with New Orleans has expired – is likely headed elsewhere, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). Woods will provide the team with an experienced voice on the back end, as he looks to help the Saints build off of their success in a number of categories from 2022 (including ranking top-10 in both total and scoring defense) while taking a step forward in others (including interceptions, in which the team finished 30th with only seven).

Joe Woods To Interview For Saints’ DC Job

The Saints used a co-defensive coordinator setup in Dennis Allen‘s first season, which featured the defensive-minded head coach carrying both Kris Richard and Ryan Nielsen as his top lieutenants. Both are now gone, and the Saints are looking for a new coach to work with Allen.

Allen has reached out to one of his former Raiders coworkers. The Saints are set to interview former Browns and Broncos DC Joe Woods for the job, Tom Pelissero of tweets. The Browns fired Woods just after the season ended, ending a three-year stay.

Woods, 52, and Allen did not exactly overlap for long in Oakland. Allen hired the ex-Vikings assistant in 2014, months before being fired early in the season. Woods finished out the year with the Raiders but was a one-and-done with the organization. Woods then played a part in one of this era’s most dominant defenses, coaching the Super Bowl-winning Broncos’ secondary in 2015. But his time as Denver’s DC did not go as well.

Denver did not renew Wade Phillips‘ contract in 2017, promoting Woods. But the team declined defensively and ended up replacing Woods with Vic Fangio to lead the defense. Woods was also on the 49ers’ staff during their most recent Super Bowl year, putting him back on the radar for DC posts. His Browns stay generated mixed results.

While Cleveland’s defense ranked fifth in yardage in 2021, the unit struggled this past season. Woods drew criticism for miscommunications and his scheme overall and hinted at a potential firing ahead of the Browns’ Week 18 game. Cleveland ranked 23rd in defensive DVOA. New Orleans, conversely, is coming off a season in which it DVOA measured its defense eighth. Nielsen is now the Falcons’ defensive coordinator, while the Saints parted ways with Richard on Wednesday night. Allen called the signals for the 2022 Saints defensively, despite moving up to HC, so it will be interesting to see how much will change once he fills the DC post.

Browns Fire DC Joe Woods

The Browns are not making a head coaching change during ‘Black Monday,’ but they are nevertheless going ahead with a notable shake-up on the sidelines. Cleveland has fired defensive coordinator Joe Woods, per a team announcement.

Woods arrived in Cleveland in 2020, the first season of head coach Kevin Stefanski‘s tenure with the team. Over the course of their time together, the Browns’ defense has has been up-and-down at times, but the unit underperformed throughout the 2022 campaign in particular, leaving the former on the hot seat. Cleveland ended the season ranked 14th in yardage allowed, and 20th in defensive scoring, surrendering an average of 22.4 points per game.

That, in turn, came one season after the Browns posted the fifth-best total defense in the league, something which was not enough for the team to make the postseason but did lead to heightened expectations relative to their performance this year. Cleveland ranked fifth against the pass in 2022, but allowed over 135 yards per game on the ground; despite the presence of All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett, the team also managed only 34 sacks, good for 27th in the NFL in that category.

Recently, Woods has been involved in the controversy surrounding defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and the team’s decision to send him home following public remarks about his usage. The former No. 1 overall pick stated that he had a 5% chance of re-signing with the Browns this offseason, adding that Woods being let go could help his chances of wanting to return. Regardless of the team’s handling of Clowney, Cleveland is likely to pursue additions at all three levels of the defense in the coming months, in addition to their search for Woods’ replacement.

“I’d like to thank Joe for his hard work and dedication in his three seasons as our defensive coordinator,” Stefanski said in a statement, via the team’s website. “I will always have the utmost respect for Joe, the person, and the coach. Unfortunately, we didn’t perform up to our standards enough this season, and we all share in that responsibility. We all wish Joe and his family the best in the future.”

Given his age (52) and previous DC experience with the Broncos, Woods could still have a future in the NFL as a top assistant, but the Browns’ inconsistency this year will no doubt hurt his prospects in at least the short-term future. Cleveland, meanwhile, will turn their attention to that side of the ball as they look to improve on this year’s 7-10 campaign.

Browns Send DE Jadeveon Clowney Home Following Remarks About Usage, Cleveland Future

Jadeveon Clowney has signed one-year contracts with the Browns in each of the past two offseasons, waiting weeks into free agency to do so on each occasion. While a recent report indicated another such scenario should not be ruled out, events of the past two days certainly point Clowney out of town.

The former No. 1 overall pick told’s Mary Kay Cabot there is roughly a 5% chance he returns to the Browns in 2023. These comments do not look to have gone over well with Browns brass. The team sent Clowney home Friday, Cabot reports, adding his status for Sunday’s season finale is uncertain.

Ninety-five percent sure I won’t be back,” Clowney said, via Cabot. “But there’s still that 5%. You never know what can happen. I just feel like I need to be around somebody that believes in me and my ability. [It can’t] just be me believing in myself. I believe in myself more than anybody.”

Clowney, 29, played well opposite Myles Garrett in 2021, staying mostly healthy and registering nine sacks. This season, Clowney has been less productive. He has posted just two sacks in 12 games, totaling just four QB hits — his lowest total since a rookie season that ended after four games. While a 13-game season would represent a fairly decent participation rate for the injury-prone talent, he is displeased with how the Browns have used him. During the 12 games in which he has suited up, Clowney has played 63% of the team’s defensive snaps.

The three-time Pro Bowler said he believes the Browns, at certain points, have opted to showcase Garrett by aligning him opposite beatable tackles. Garrett, the team’s top player who is pushing for another All-Pro nod, has 15 sacks this season and is continuing on a Hall of Fame trajectory. Garrett’s 15 sacks lead the team by a staggering margin; no other Browns performer enters Week 18 with more than three.

You’re all trying to get somebody into the Hall of Fame when all that matters is winning,” Clowney said. “Everybody got here for a reason, and we can all make plays. I know I am. I don’t even think [Garrett] notices [the position switches]. I ain’t trying to say it’s him. I try to get along with everybody I play with. Me and him don’t have a problem. It ain’t his fault, and it’s B.S., and I don’t have time for it.

Clowney’s status as Garrett’s sidekick has been fairly clear since he signed with Cleveland, but his comments regarding the team prioritizing Garrett stats over wins obviously have not gone over well. Clowney pointed toward DC Joe Woods‘ potential departure as a reason he could be back. Woods is on the hot seat, Cabot adds, and said Thursday he is uncertain on whether he will be asked back for a fourth season. The Browns, who have played better defensively as of late, rank 18th in points allowed and 12th in yards yielded.

The former Texans, Seahawks and Titans pass rusher is finishing out a one-year, $10MM deal; he played for $8.25MM in 2021. Clowney, who played on both the fifth-year option and franchise tag, never secured the long-term deal that once seemed certain. Injuries intervened, and he has not quite lived up to expectations despite displaying versatility during his pro career. Interest will come his way again in 2023, but his comments ahead of the Browns’ season finale could throw a wrench in a third Cleveland campaign.

Browns, DE Jadeveon Clowney Interested In Continuing Relationship; Latest On Coaching Staff

Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney joined Cleveland on a one-year contract in 2021, and he signed another one-year deal to remain with the team last offseason. Per Mary Kay Cabot of, player and team are interested in continuing their relationship in 2023, and perhaps beyond.

Clowney never landed the massive, $20MM/year contract he was targeting when he hit free agency for the first time several years ago, but after a disappointing 2020 season with the Titans, he appears to have found a home with the Browns. Last year, he posted nine sacks — the second-highest total of his career — and proved to be a worthy complement to superstar DE Myles Garrett. That landed him a contract worth $10MM for 2022.

While he has again missed time due to injury this season and has posted just two sacks in his 11 games, his contributions — as has often been the case with him — go beyond his surface-level stats. Pro Football Focus has assigned him a strong 75.9 overall grade, the 29th-best mark among 121 qualified edge defenders, and it rates him as a quality performer against both the run and pass.

Garrett himself lobbied for a new contract for his running mate last offseason, and his opinion on the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft has not changed. “When [Clowney]’s out there, you can feel his presence,” Garrett said. “He’s setting the edge, he’s making [tackles for loss]. He’s making big plays.” Defensive coordinator Joe Woods added simply, “we need him.”

Clowney said in June that quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s decision to join the Browns impacted his own decision to remain in Cleveland. Due to Watson’s lengthy suspension and Clowney’s recent concussion, the former Texans teammates have shared the field for just three regular season games this year, and Cabot suggests that Watson’s presence could convince Clowney to return. The Browns will have plenty of work to do to reinforce the interior of their defensive line this offseason, so finances will be a factor in determining whether they authorize a third contract for Clowney. Nonetheless, it appears that another deal is very much in play.

Woods, however, may not be so lucky. According to Cabot, the third-year defensive coordinator “will be looked at closely” this offseason, and he could receive his walking papers. The Browns are in the middle of the pack in terms of total defense, which is a steep drop-off from their top-5 showing in 2021, and their run defense has been particularly porous. Cleveland gives up 134.3 rushing yards per game, the eighth-worst figure in the league, and the team ranks 24th in the NFL in defensive DVOA. Their scoring defense (22.9 points allowed per game) ranks 21st.

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is also on shaky ground, per Cabot, though head coach Kevin Stefanski will be retained (despite recent reports that he might be on the hot seat).

Browns Hire Joe Woods As DC

It’s a done deal. On Thursday, the Browns formally hired Joe Woods as their new defensive coordinator (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of 

Woods has been connected to the job for several weeks, though the Browns had to wait until the 49ers’ season was officially over before they hired SF’s defensive backs coach. Many expected that Woods would be announced as the Browns’ DC immediately after the Super Bowl, but things took a little longer – on Wednesday, he met with the Browns for an additional interview. Hours later, it’s signed, sealed, and delivered.

The 49ers were keen on keeping Woods, so it’s possible that they were looking into ways to hang on to him. Ultimately, the 49-year-old coach opted for a step up the ladder and a move to the Midwest. With the Browns, he’ll have an opportunity to run a talented unit that underperformed in 2019 and unraveled in an ugly brawl against the Steelers. There’s no official word yet, but Woods should have defensive end Myles Garrett in uniform for 2020, and the front office has ample cash to spend across the entire D.

Woods’ history with new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski should make the transition fairly easy. Stefanski, an offensive guru, will likely keep the focus on his side of the ball while Woods handles the defense. Last year, Woods’ 49ers pass-defense finished second in the league in DVOA. The Browns, meanwhile, sagged to 17th. A little bit of that magic would go a long way towards helping the star-studded Browns reach their full potential.

Browns To Interview Joe Woods

The Browns will interview 49ers defensive backs coach Joe Woods for their defensive coordinator job today (Twitter link via’s Tom Pelissero). We’ve heard that Woods already has a handshake deal in place for the position, but it’s not necessarily a done deal until Woods puts pen to paper. 

In late January, we heard that the 49ers had not given up on retaining Woods, despite the enormous opportunity in front of him. It’s possible that the NFC champs are still looking for a way to keep Woods on their staff, which would mean that the coach is not necessarily ticketed for Cleveland. By the end of the business day, we should know the outcome. We still expect Woods to become the Browns’ new DC, but stranger things have happened.

Woods has a strong relationship with new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, dating back to their days with the Vikings. If he joins up with Cleveland, it’s expected that Woods will bring some of his assistants from SF along with him, which gives the 49ers even more reason to try and hang on to him.

Woods, 49, has 16 years of NFL coaching experience for five different teams. During his run in Denver, he spent two years as their coordinator. This past season, he helped the Niners’ D go from 23rd in pass-defense DVOA to No. 2 in the NFL. That was a huge key to their success in 2019 and the Browns (No. 17 in pass-defense DVOA) are hoping to bring some of that magic to their defense.

Browns Notes: Hunt, Brown, Woods, Staff

The Browns’ scrutinized gamble on Kareem Hunt went fairly smoothly this season, with the running back playing in eight games after serving his suspension for his actions during his Chiefs run. But Hunt ran into some more off-field trouble this week. Rocky River (Ohio) Police pulled him over for speeding and found small amounts of marijuana in three locations in the vehicle, Kaylee Remington of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. Hunt was placed in the backseat of a police cruiser but only charged for speeding. The NFL is aware of the incident, per a statement. This would mean far less were it not for Hunt’s history. A video showed the former rushing champion shoving and kicking a woman at a Cleveland hotel in 2018, leading to Hunt’s Chiefs departure. Hunt signed a one-year Browns contract but can be retained via RFA tender. However, with John Dorsey out of the picture, the talented back’s standing with the Browns may be less certain.

Here is the latest out of Cleveland:

  • Joe Woods is expected to become the next Browns defensive coordinator, though the 49ers have not given up on keeping him. The Browns are not expected to have a finalized agreement with Woods until after Super Bowl LIV and are holding off on making some hires to their defensive staff, Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer adds. Woods becoming Cleveland’s next DC would stand to result in the ex-Denver DC and current San Francisco DBs coach bringing him some handpicked staffers.
  • On the subject of Browns staffers, Kevin Stefanski is bringing in one of his former Vikings coworkers. Six-year Minnesota staffer Drew Petzing will become the Browns’ new tight ends coach, Cabot reports. Petzing coached quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs in Minnesota. The 32-year-old coach worked under then-quarterbacks coach Stefanski in 2018 and moved from assistant QBs coach to wideouts coach last year. Prior to his Vikings stay, however, Petzing spent the 2013 season as a Browns intern.
  • Fired less than two seasons into the radical rebuild Jimmy Haslam green-lit, Sashi Brown expressed concern about the Browns’ constant turnover. Currently working with the Washington Wizards, Brown hopes the next Browns GM will have a chance to build something. “I hope they get the time to do it and that there’s true alignment throughout the building and some conviction and what I would say the organizational faith that maybe hasn’t been there across some of the rash of change that’s been spinning around here for the better part of the last decade,” Brown said, via the Akron Beacon Journal’s Marla Ridenour. The Browns have moved on from a staggering five regimes since Haslam took over in 2012, and the instability has shown no signs of slowing down. GM frontrunner George Paton withdrew his name from consideration for the job Friday afternoon.

Coaching Notes: McCown, Kitchens, Woods

Whenever Josh McCown decides to hang up his cleats, it sounds like he’ll have an opportunity to pursue a new career path. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Eagles discussed “the idea of [McCown] returning to the team in a coaching role” next season.

Notably, the exit meeting was attended by the 40-year-old quarterback, head coach Doug Pederson, general manager Howie Roseman… and owner Jeffrey Lurie, who rarely makes an appearance at those meetings. It’s uncertain if McCown was offered a definitive coaching gig, and the 40-year-old ultimately couldn’t commit to retirement. At the very least, it sounds like the organization is optimistic about the veteran’s coaching ability.

McCown had retired following the 2018 season and caught on with ESPN as an analyst. However, he later signed with the Eagles following injuries to backups Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler. The 18-year veteran ended up appearing in three games for Philly, and he filled in for Carson Wentz during the team’s playoff loss to the Seahawks.

Let’s check out some more coaching notes from around the league…

  • Earlier this month, we heard whispers that former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens could land with the Giants. However, Dan Duggan of The Athletic writes that the coach “isn’t a lock” to land in New York. We learned yesterday that the two sides still hadn’t finalized an agreement. Kitchens worked alongside new Giants head coach Joe Judge during their time at Mississippi State, and there was speculation that the 45-year-old could join the staff as a tight ends coach. The Browns went 6-10 during Kitchens’ lone season as their head coach, and he was canned following the regular season.
  • Before hiring Patrick Graham as their defensive coordinator, the Giants had interest in Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn, reports Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post (via Twitter). While he missed out on the gig, the 47-year-old still interviewed for another role on the Giants coaching staff today. Prior to this stint with New Orleans, the 1994 first-round pick served as the Browns assistant defensive backs coach.
  • Joe Woods is the favorite to become the Browns defensive coordinator, but the 49ers won’t let that happen without a fight. Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune tweets that San Francisco is making a “late push” to retain their defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator. Woods has coached in the NFL since 2004, and he served as the Broncos defensive coordinator between 2017 and 2018.
  • Speaking of the Browns, head coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed that three assistants will be sticking around next season (via the team’s website): special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, assistant special teams coach Doug Colman and run game coordinator/running backs coach Stump Mitchell.
  • Vikings receivers coach Drew Petzing won’t be back with the team next season, reports Goessling (via Twitter). Petzing had spent the past six seasons with the organization, spending time with wideouts, running backs, and quarterbacks.