Jim Trotter of NFL Media reports new Browns HC Kevin Stefanski has narrowed the search for the team’s defensive coordinator vacancy down to current DC Steve Wilks and 49ers’ defensive backs/passing game coordinator Joe Woods.
Trotter says the feeling right now is that a decision will be coming sooner than later.
A report from Monday mentioned that veteran DC Wade Phillips was discussed as a potential option, but it appears as though the Browns plan to go in a different direction.
Wilks, 50, began his NFL coaching career with the Bears as their defensive backs coach back in 2006. He spent two years with the Chargers before following Ron Rivera to Carolina as their defensive backs coach.
The Panthers promoted him to assistant head coach in 2015 and then to defensive coordinator last year after Sean McDermott took the Bills’ job. Wilks agreed to become the Cardinals’ head coach in 2018 but he was fired after one season.
Wilks took over as the Browns’ defensive coordinator last year.
In 2019, the Browns’ defense ranked No. 22 best in yards allowed, No. 22 in points allowed, No. 12 in rushing yards allowed and No. 22 in passing yards allowed.
Woods, 48, began his NFL coaching career with the Buccaneers back in 2004 as their defensive backs coach. After a few years in Tampa Bay, Woods took the same position with the Vikings where he remained for eight years before catching on with the Raiders in 2014.
The Broncos brought Woods in as their defensive backs before promoting him to defensive coordinator in 2017. The 49ers hired Woods last year as their defensive passing game coordinator.
In 2018, the Broncos’ defense ranked No. 22 in total yards allowed, No. 20 in passing yards allowed, No. 21 in rushing yards allowed and No. 13 in points per game with Woods as their defensive coordinator.