Joe Woods

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.

Coaching Rumors: Giants, Caldwell, Browns

Joe Judge‘s first Giants staff will feature Jason Garrett overseeing the offense and Jerry Schuplinski as quarterbacks coach. The Giants are hiring the former Patriots and Dolphins assistant quarterbacks coach, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post notes. Brian Flores could have blocked the move but opted not to. This will be Schuplinski’s first stint as a franchise’s top quarterbacks coach. He and Garrett have not worked together, but Judge and Schuplinski coached together in New England from 2013-18. The latter’s NFL career began in 2013, after he spent 13 years coaching at alma mater John Carroll, a Cleveland-area high school (Trinity) and Cleveland-based Division III college Case Western Reserve. Schuplinski helped Ryan Fitzpatrick to some surprising performances this season, given the offensive line and backfield situation with which the veteran quarterback was saddled, and will now play a key role in developing Daniel Jones.

Here is the latest from the coaching world:

  • With Bill Callahan set to become the Browns’ offensive line coach, the Giants’ search to fill this position continues. The team will bring in longtime Garrett assistant Marc Colombo for an interview, Jordan Raanan and Todd Archer of report (on Twitter). Colombo will interview on Tuesday, per Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. Given that Colombo worked under Garrett from 2016-19 as Cowboys assistant O-line coach and then O-line coach, it would seem the ex-Cowboys lineman has a good chance of landing this job. The Giants had Callahan on their radar and also interviewed former Judge Pats coworker Dave DeGuglielmo for the position.
  • After taking a leave of absence from Flores’ staff before the season began, Dolphins assistant Jim Caldwell did not coach during the team’s season. And the former Colts and Lions HC will not return to the Dolphins’ staff, Cameron Wolfe of notes. Caldwell, who stepped away for medical reasons, is back to full health and wants to coach again. He was recently mentioned in connection to the Eagles’ OC job.
  • A Joe WoodsBrowns partnership looks to be on hold for the time being. While the former Broncos DC and current 49ers secondary coach is expected to become the next Browns DC, no agreement is expected until Super Bowl LIV’s conclusion, Josina Anderson of tweets. Woods and incumbent Steve Wilks were vying for the job, and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer confirms a Woods-over-Wilks has been made.
  • The Browns will retain run-game coordinator Stump Mitchell, Cabot adds. Serving as running backs coach under Freddie Kitchens, Mitchell helped Nick Chubb to 1,494 rushing yards. Chubb’s seven 100-yard games were the most any Browns back has compiled in 51 years, matching Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly‘s 1968 total.
  • Kevin Stefanski is also considering retaining DBs coach DeWayne Walker, per Cabot. Walker is a holdover from the Hue Jackson staffs, initially joining the Browns in 2017 after four years as the Jaguars’ secondary coach.

Browns To Hire Joe Woods?

49ers defensive backs coach Joe Woods is on track to become the Browns’ next defensive coordinator, sources tell’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). All that remains, Schefter hears, is figuring out a contract. 

The Browns, reportedly, were down to Woods and incumbent Steve Wilks as of last week. Today, the Browns told Wilks that he’s out, as Mary Kay Cabot of tweets. Barring something unexpected, Woods will get the job.

Woods, 49, has history with new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski  – Woods was a Vikes assistant between 2006-2013. All in all, Woods comes with 16 years of NFL coaching experience for five different teams. Before he hooked on as the Niners’ LBs coach, he spent four years with the Broncos, including two as their DC.

While Woods’ two Broncos defenses were solid, the 49ers’ rise from 23rd to second in pass-defense DVOA has obviously been key to the NFC No. 1 seed’s success. The 49ers’ Richard Sherman-led secondary has become a much better unit compared to last season, when Sherman did not play at a Pro Bowl level. Woods also oversaw the Broncos’ dominant No-Fly Zone secondary that helped the team to a championship in 2015, working under Wade Phillips.

Browns Hire Chad O’Shea As WR Coach; Latest On OC/DC Search

The Browns have hired former Dolphins OC Chad O’Shea as their new WR coach and passing game coordinator, as Ian Rapoport of reports. O’Shea lasted one year in Miami and drew some criticism for installing an overly complex offense, and he was recently fired in favor of spread offense guru Chan Gailey.

But despite the talent limitations on Miami’s offense, the team did perform reasonably well down the stretch and actually ranked in the top-10 in passing offense and top-15 in scoring offense after Ryan Fitzpatrick reentered the starting lineup in Week 7. As such, O’Shea’s dismissal came as something of a surprise, though recent reports indicated that, while he is an excellent receivers coach, he is not a great coordinator.

O’Shea spent 10 years as the Patriots’ WR coach, so he comes to Cleveland with plenty of experience. He will also have a great deal of talent to work with, and he will be tasked with continuing to get the most out of Jarvis Landry while also helping Odell Beckham Jr. return to prominence. As passing game coordinator, he will also help develop game plans for Baker Mayfield, who struggled in his sophomore campaign but who still has plenty of potential.

As for the Browns’ vacant offensive coordinator post, Rapoport says the team has interest in 49ers passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur and run game coordinator Mike McDaniel. Cleveland had some interest in both men for their head coaching post but never requested interviews with them. The Browns may not request OC interviews either, because San Francisco is unlikely to grant such requests. The Browns may also go without an official OC given new head coach Kevin Stefanski‘s offensive prowess.

Unlike LaFleur and McDaniel, 49ers passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Joe Woods is not under contract through 2020, so he can join the Browns if he so chooses. We recently heard that Cleveland had narrowed its defensive coordinator search to Woods and incumbent Steve Wilks, though Rapoport says Wade Phillips remains a possibility as well.

Browns Down To Steve Wilks, Joe Woods For Defensive Coordinator

New Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski is considering keeping Steve Wilks in his role as defensive coordinator while also considering former Broncos DC Joe Woods. The Browns are down to Wilks and Woods for the job, Jim Trotter of tweets.

This news comes a day after Wade Phillips and ex-Vikings DC George Edwards were believed to be in the mix. But Stefanski looks to have since narrowed the field. He and Woods worked together for eight years in Minnesota, with Woods coaching the Vikings’ defensive backs from 2006-13 — Stefanski’s first eight years with the franchise.

Wilks has spent one season as Browns DC, coming over after a one-and-done tenure as Cardinals head coach. Woods, who replaced Phillips in Denver as Broncos DC in 2017, is currently serving as the 49ers’ pass-game coordinator and secondary coach.

Freddie Kitchens brought Wilks over from Arizona. The Browns improved from 30th to 22nd defensively from Gregg Williams but dropped from 18th to 23rd in defensive DVOA. Wilks, 50, also oversaw the Panthers’ defense in 2017, being promoted after a five-year run as Carolina’s secondary coach.

Woods received the same promotion in Denver, with the Broncos opting to let Phillips walk in 2017 to elevate Woods. While Woods’ two Broncos defenses were solid, the 49ers’ rise from 23rd to second in pass-defense DVOA has obviously been key to the NFC No. 1 seed’s success. The 49ers’ Richard Sherman-led secondary has become a much better unit compared to last season, when Sherman did not play at a Pro Bowl level. Woods also oversaw the Broncos’ dominant No-Fly Zone secondary that helped the team to a championship in 2015, working under Phillips. Woods, 49, has a chance to collect a second Super Bowl ring and may ride that momentum into another DC job.

Joe Woods To Join 49ers’ Staff

The Broncos’ recent revamp forced 2018 coordinators Joe Woods and Bill Musgrave to look for work elsewhere, and the former found it in the Bay Area.

Woods agreed to become the 49ers’ passing-game coordinator on defense, Mike Garafolo of tweets. The two-year Broncos defensive coordinator interviewed with the 49ers on Tuesday and drew interest from other teams.

Denver’s No-Fly Zone position coach from 2015-16, Woods replaced Wade Phillips as DC in 2017. The Broncos were not able to replicate the success they had under Phillips, particularly in defending air attacks, but Woods’ group remained an upper-echelon unit during his tenure.

Woods spent time in the Bay Area previously, serving as the 2014 Raiders’ defensive backs coach. He has been an NFL assistant since 2004, overseeing secondaries until his 2017 promotion.

The Cardinals and Redskins wanted Woods to coach their respective secondaries, but instead the 48-year-old assistant will join Kyle Shanahan‘s staff. Shanahan interviewed for the Broncos’ HC job that ultimately went to Vance Joseph in 2017. Woods also spent time as the Buccaneers’ secondary coach, which overlapped with Shanahan’s first NFL job — Tampa Bay’s offensive quality control coach from 2004-05.

The 49ers are retaining most of Robert Saleh‘s defensive staff but in recent days added Woods and defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, the latter replacing Jeff Zgonina.

Coaching Rumors: Colts, 49ers, Dolphins

The Colts are letting offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo go elsewhere, sources tell Mike Garafolo of (on Twitter). Even though the Colts’ OL improved greatly in 2018, head coach Frank Reich wants to bring in his own guy, Garafolo hears. DeGuglielmo, who was originally selected by would-be coach Josh McDaniels, is being recommended by Reich to other coaches around the league.

The move comes as a surprise given the results that DeGuglielmo was able to get out of his group last season. However, Reich and DeGuglielmo were not on the same page. You can expect a healthy market for DeGuglielmo’s services and he shouldn’t be unemployed for long.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods will interview with the 49ers on Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Woods is not expected to return under new head coach Vic Fangio, but he’s not receiving DC interest from other teams either. In addition to the SF interview, Woods has also spoken with the Redskins and Cardinals about positions on their staff.
  • New Jets coach Adam Gase says he did not ask for control of the 53-man roster (via Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald). He also says that he never requested that power with the Dolphins; rather, it was something offered up to him during negotiations with Miami.
  • Terry Robiskie is expected to become the Jaguars‘ new running backs coach, according to Alex Marvez of SiriusXM (on Twitter). Robiskie has played and coached the position before at the NFL level and the Jags apparently believe that he can get the most out of star rusher Leonard Fournette.