1. Joe Woods, Defensive Coordinator
There will be no excuses this season for defensive coordinator Joe Woods. Now in his defense, he would never try and place blame on anyone but himself but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have tried to shift the blame for the team’s defensive shortcomings in 2020.
Cleveland went into the season with several talented players but had major concerns at linebacker. The hope was that a strong secondary and defensive line could help mask that. But then, the injuries started to pile up.
Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit were lost for the season and then players such as Denzel Ward, Ronnie Harrison, and Kevin Johnson all started to succumb to injuries and missed time. There were also countless COVID tests that sidelined players and it seemed like every week Woods was throwing a patchwork defense together.
Again, he won’t sit there and point fingers but the truth is, he was the big winner this offseason. He has a lot of talent now with Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Newsome, John Johnson, Troy Hill, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and Anthony Walker among their new defensive players. They’re not only better talent-wise, but they’re much deeper and should be able to handle the bumps and bruises the 2021 season is sure to bring.
While the added players means the talent will be there, it’s all on Woods shoulders now to get them to jell. The new defenders will have to be brought up to speed and he’s going to need to make sure they’re able to communicate and help one another succeed.
If they don’t, there’s no one else who will take the fall. It will be on Joe Woods if this unit can’t get it together.