Joe Woods’ defense is a major responsibility


The Cleveland Browns are now 3-3 at the start of Week 7, and at the moment it looks like Joe Woods’ tenure as defensive coordinator is over.

The Cleveland Browns suffered a painful 37-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday. The Browns now 3-3 enter Week 7 on a short rest with a bruised, bruised roster ready to face the Denver Broncos. Still, the team’s only glaring problem is called Joe Woods – and that could hold this team back.

As Week 7 approaches, the Cleveland Browns defense now ranks 25th in the league. A team filled with top talent like Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, John Johnson III and Denzel Ward have so far allowed opposing teams 149 points, averaging 307.7 yards per game.

After narrowly escaping their clash with injuries to Baker Mayfield and Kareem Hunt, among others, it’s clear that the Browns’ defense needs to take over from a suffering offense. Yet Joe Woods, the Browns second-year defensive coordinator, has yet to establish a consistent game plan leading to success.

Cleveland Browns: Joe Woods’ defense is a major handicap

The Cleveland high school to date has looked confused and out of sync, and this resulted in two consecutive weeks of games where opposing teams broke huge distances resulting in scores (i.e. Mike Williams or the entire Arizona Reception Hall).

On a team that spent a lot of space on John Johnson III and Troy Hill, and used high draft capital on Greg Newsome II and Grant Delpit, there is no reasonable explanation as to why the the team allowed 1,324 passing yards in six games.

To add salt to the injury, the Browns rank among the worst in allowing third and fourth down conversions, many of which have resulted in fatal touchdown games.

Beyond high school, the Browns’ defensive line has yet to perform consistently. While defensive end Myles Garrett currently leads the league with eight sacks, the top four have struggled to put constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks to help the secondary. With the talent available, there is no excuse for Joe Woods not to find an answer to help the team.

Between a bad game decision – whether it was muddled zone-to-man coverage or lack of rush – the Cleveland Browns allowed way too many runs and far too many yards for this team to qualify for the playoffs. When Cleveland’s defense under former DC Gregg Williams looks better (with less talent) than it does now, there’s a glaring problem to be resolved.

Despite the lightening of the Browns’ schedule over the next three weeks, their attack is hurt – and seriously. As it stands, Joe Woods should be considered a handicap for the Cleveland Browns. Offense needs to heal, and they’ll have to rely on their defensive talent to keep games close at hand.

Players can be blamed for their poor performance, but coaching philosophies are much harder to change. Defense practice and time to heal can heal a few injuries, but Woods’ inexcusable call is not something that will change over the next 10 weeks of football.

Why the Cleveland Browns haven’t addressed the Joe Woods issue is beyond comprehension. Maybe head coach Kevin Stefanski is having a hard time coming to terms with his misjudgment in coaching appointments. Maybe the front office really thinks things can be fixed with what they have.

But regardless, anyone who has watched six weeks of Browns football knows the defense is a gaping wound for the franchise in its current state – and the only person to blame is Joe Woods.

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