Next Orleans is set to appoint Joe Woods as their new defensive coordinator. A source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Monday that the New Orleans Saints plan to hire Joe Woods as their new defensive coordinator.
Woods will rejoin former Browns head coach Dennis Allen after being let go from his position as defensive coordinator with Cleveland at the end of the season. When Allen was the head coach of the Raiders in 2014, Woods served as the defensive backs coach.
Ryan Nielsen and Kris Richard shared defensive coordinator duties for the Saints last year. A source revealed to ESPN last week that Richard and the Atlanta Falcons parted ways on February 1. Nielsen was hired on January 27 as the team’s defensive coordinator.
In his first year at the helm of the Saints, however, Allen was responsible for calling defensive plays. Additionally, Nielsen oversaw the defensive line, with Richard in charge of the secondary. Another source told ESPN’s Chris Low that the Saints are planning to sign Todd Grantham. Former NFL defensive line coach Grantham, who spent last year as Alabama’s defensive analyst, last worked for the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 and 2009.
Woods, 52 years old, served as defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns from 2020 under coach Kevin Stefanski. Because to Woods, the Browns made the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and won their first playoff game in 26 years.
However, the Browns’ defense has been hindered by weak starts the past two seasons. Cleveland was ranked 31st in defensive efficiency at one point during the season, in the middle of October. The Browns struggled a lot because of how poorly their run defense worked. In terms of total defensive rush projected points added, Cleveland was dead last in the league (minus-23.11).
The Browns concluded the season ranked 20th in defensive efficiency, large thanks to a second-half surge by the defense, especially in pass coverage. There were 12 takeaways thanks to the security in the last half of the season, including eight picks. The Saints had trouble with it in 2022, ranking 30th with seven interceptions and 20th with ten forced fumbles.
However, more was needed to prevent Woods from losing his job or keep Cleveland in the postseason hunt. Woods was let go following the season’s final four games when the team’s run defense struggled significantly. In that time frame, the Browns allowed 157.5 rushing yards per game.
After a solid defensive performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17, the Saints allowed an average of 148.3 rushing yards per game over their next four games.
For two years, Woods was also the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos (2017-18).