Browns Defensive Coordinator Hoping To Return Next Season

Browns Defensive Coordinator Hoping To Return Next Season

FILE – Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods celebrates an NFL team's second half win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Cleveland Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. On Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, Woods said he was exposed to criticized during the season for a division that fared worse due to injuries and didn't necessarily finish Cleveland's offense, he plans to return next season. "I hope I get a chance, but it's not my decision," said Woods, one of Kevin Stefanski's first three seasons. (AP Photo/David Richard, files)

Berea, Ohio (AP) — Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods wants another shot.

Woods, who has been criticized for an underperforming team, suffered multiple injuries and didn't always finish Cleveland's offense, said he was looking forward to returning for a fourth season.

He may not get the chance.

"I hope I get a chance, but it's not my decision," said Woods, one of the first players to sign Stefanski in three seasons.

Stefanski must decide his friend's fate after a season that didn't go as Brown predicted (7-9).

They missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season, and defensive deficiencies played a major role in Cleveland's decline.

As he prepares to face the (8-8) Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of the season, Woods said he received no guarantees to keep his job.

“I believe that after the season we will have discussions, as we do every year ,” Woods told reporters before leaving the podium after his press conference. “I wish I could talk to you again.

Early in the season, the Cleveland defense struggled with a high school flop in the opening weeks that resulted in a soft touchdown. The Browns extended their lead to 13 points in the final two minutes of their loss to the New York Jets in Week 2.

The Browns have also been hit hard by injuries, especially at quarterback, as starting players Anthony Walker Jr., Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoa, Jacob Phillips and Shioni Taketake were injured late in the season.

Then there's the running defense that's lost at least 150 yards in seven games and betrayed opponents week after week.

There have been some improvements over time, but Woods admits it may not be enough.

“I know things didn’t go the way we wanted this year,” he said . “I think we played better and the players got the experience of playing together and I feel like the players that we have on our team because we have a young squad that will be back next year.”

Woods cited his experience in San Francisco as an argument in favor of staying.

In head coach Kyle Shanahan's first two seasons, the 49ers led 6–10 and 4–12, but retained defensive coordinator Robert Saleh after the 2018 season. Woods joined the coaching staff the following season, and the 49ers went 13–3 and won the NFC title. .

“There were a lot of people calling for Salih, they were a bit defensive, ” Woods said. “We had some big signings in the off-season and we went from last to first in this division… So I feel like maybe here with the lineup we have. And the players will be better next year."

How will the Cleveland Browns players react to the news of the return of Damar Hamlin and Jadevon Clooney in 2023?

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