No. 2: Bring in Joe Woods and the 4-2-5 Defense
Fans like to complain so of course they complain about Joe Wood and his nickel-based defense. But the truth is that most NFL offenses use multiple wide receivers or an extra tight end so it only makes sense to respond with additional pass coverage.
Woods was hired directly from the 49ers disappointing Super Bowl loss to Kansas City. This was the game that convinced the world that Patrick Mahomes was a true franchise quarterback and that Jimmy Garoppolo would just never make it.
Woods has had success wherever he has been, including the 49ers, Broncos, and Vikings. However, in his first training camp with the Browns, he lost Grant Delpit and Greedy Williams and never got them back. That forced him to use Andrew Sendejo, who was supposed to be the smart extra zone defensive back, as the every-down starting free safety, and he got exposed in critical situations.
That was really not fair to Sendejo, because he was never intended for starting duty. By the way, he played for the Colts last year, and although he was a year older, he did a much better job.
In 2021, the Browns added key players like Jadeveon Clowney and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who was the most destructive rookie the Browns have seen since Myles Garrett made the scene.
Getting Delpit and Williams back made a huge difference as well. Even though 2021 was a downer due to an underperforming offense, the defense gave up fewer points, 21.8 versus 26.1 in 2020. How much is 4.3 points per game? That’s probably about the same that you might expect from replacing bad Mayfield (the one with a torn labrum in his left shoulder who is forced to wear a body brace and throws INTs all over the place) with a top 10 quarterback like Deshaun Watson.
That was a huge difference that went unnoticed because of all the commotion surrounding the quarterback position.
Why would anyone want to blow up the defense and start over with a new scheme? We’ve got our man at defensive coordinator, so let’s keep him. Great hire by Stefanski.