HEADLINE

Browns hire Woods as defensive coordinator

Field Level Media

February 07, 2020 at 6:28 pm.

The Cleveland Browns officially hired former San Francisco 49ers defensive backs/run-game coordinator Joe Woods as defensive coordinator on Friday.

Woods was reportedly the favorite for the job for weeks, but he did not want to turn his focus from the 49ers during their run to Super Bowl LIV. He’ll reunite with new head coach Kevin Stefanski, who he knows from the Minnesota Vikings.

“Just from tradition, pride and the fanbase, I know they’re craving for a winner and I know we’re very close,” Woods told the Browns website of his new team. “I feel like if we can get it done, the whole city will erupt. I look forward to that challenge.”

Woods, 49, spent eight years with the Vikings on the same staff as Stefanski, as both joined Minnesota in 2006.

While Stefanski remained in Minnesota in a variety of roles until this January, Woods spent a year as the Oakland Raiders’ defensive backs coach (2014), four with the Denver Broncos (2015-18) — including as coordinator the final two seasons — and this year with the 49ers. He signed a one-year contract with the 49ers, allowing him to go anywhere this offseason.

The 49ers’ defense was one of the league’s best, finishing second in total yards and eighth in points during the regular season. While a coordinator with Denver, Woods’ defenses finished third in yards but 22nd in points in 2017 and then 22nd in yards and 13th in points in 2018.

Woods replaces Steve Wilks, who had joined the team as defensive coordinator under Freddie Kitchens last year. The Browns finished 22nd in yards allowed and 20th in points in 2019.