The Cleveland Browns are reportedly on track to hire 49ers defensive backs coach Joe Woods as their next defensive coordinator according to ESPN.
The two sides can’t officially agree to a contract until the 49ers season ends which could be as early as Sunday but reports over the last week have suggested that Woods was the guy Stefanski wanted to lead the defense moving forward.
Cleveland informed Steve Wilks, the defensive coordinator last season that he wouldn’t be returning under Stefanski although there was some consideration for him to return to keep some continuity on that side of the ball.
Under Wilks despite injuries and the loss of Myles Garrett due to suspension, Cleveland ranked 20th in scoring defense giving up 24.6 points per game and 30th in run defense giving up 144.6 yards per game.
Woods and Stefanski worked together in Minnesota from 2006-13. Since then, the 49-year-old has spent time in Oakland, Denver and currently in San Francisco.
He has had experience as a defensive coordinator spending two years as the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. In 2017, Denver had the 22nd ranked scoring defense but improved to 13th in 2018.
While he’s not the leader on the defensive staff, the 49ers secondary has been one of the best in football this season with the top ranked pass defense in terms of yards while giving up 23 touchdowns and forcing 12 turnovers through the air.