The Cleveland Browns have shaken up their coaching staff after a disappointing campaign.
The Browns relieved defensive coordinator Joe Woods of his duties, the team announced Monday.
"I'd like to thank Joe for his hard work and dedication in his three seasons as our defensive coordinator," head coach Kevin Stefanski said in a Monday statement. "I will always have the utmost respect for Joe, the person, and the coach. Unfortunately, we didn't perform up to our standards enough this season, and we all share in that responsibility. We all wish Joe and his family the best in the future."
NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Monday that the Browns have requested permission to interview Steelers senior defensive assistant Brian Flores and Patriots defensive assistant Jerod Mayo for their now-vacant DC job.
Woods joined Cleveland when Stefanski took over in 2020. The Browns' defense has been up and down in Woods' three seasons.
The end of 2021 was an upswing, as Woods' unit showed promise late in the campaign. But 2022 started as a disaster, including several back-breaking busted coverages leading to collapses.
Cleveland's defense struggled to find consistency all season, missing tackles, giving up massive running lanes and allowing receivers to skip wide-open. Sunday's 28-14 loss to Pittsburgh, which included a George Pickens touchdown with no one in his area code, was the rotten cherry on the melting ice cream that was the Browns defense.
Woods was at the center of Jadeveon Clowney's late-season rebellion that led to the edge rusher being sent home from practice and inactive for what could be his final game in Cleveland.
Stefanski brushed aside questions about Woods' future all season but could no longer ignore the issue heading into the offseason. The Browns finished the 2022 season ranked 19th in points allowed, 12th in yards, 25th in rush yards, and seventh in passing yards allowed.
As they look for a new defensive coordinator, the Browns will need to spend the offseason upgrading every level of the defense. Defensive tackle is a massive hole. They need another edge rusher, linebackers who can tackle, and help in the secondary.