Cleveland Browns fire defensive coordinator Joe Woods

The Cleveland Browns fired defensive coordinator Joe Woods on Monday morning after back-to-back losing seasons, a league source told ESPN.

The Browns finished with a 7-10 record, capped by Sunday’s 28-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Woods had been Cleveland’s defensive coordinator under head coach Kevin Stefanski since 2020.

In Woods’ freshman season, the Browns qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2002, then won their first playoff game in 26 years.

But slow starts have hampered the Browns’ defense the past two seasons. At some point in mid-October this season, Cleveland ranked 31st in defensive efficiency.

A porous run defense particularly plagued the Browns. Cleveland finished second to last in the league in the defensive rush in expected total points added (minus-23.11).

Cleveland’s defense, including pass covering, improved dramatically in the second half of the season, with the Browns finishing 20th in defensive efficiency. But that wasn’t enough to save Woods’ job or keep Cleveland in the hunt for the playoffs.

Before coming to Cleveland, Woods coached defensive backs for the San Francisco 49ers, most notably during their Super Bowl LIV run. Prior to that, he served as defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in 2017 and 2018.

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