Is the Cleveland Browns defense playing well enough to save Joe Woods’ job? – Factory of Sadness

Dec 17, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; The Cleveland Browns defense tackles Baltimore Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard (42) stopping the fourth down conversion during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns fans are looking for a scapegoat to blame the season on, and instead of going with the obvious person, Andrew Berry, many are going after Joe Woods.  They’re blaming Woods for failures on defense that aren’t solely on him. After all, he’s the coordinator, and Kevin Stefanski is the head coach, you would think if Woods wasn’t doing exactly what Stefanski wanted, he’d already be gone. So clearly, Stefanski has faith in his coordinator.
At one point in the season, however, Woods’ unit was just 31st in the league, now they’re 17th. They’re clearly figuring out things, and this is despite serious injuries to their four top linebackers. The secondary is playing better, and the team as a whole has a better flow, but is it enough to save Woods’ job? Well, if fans have their way, no. But thankfully we don’t let fans make decisions.
Yes, the Browns just got done beating up on Tyler Huntley, maybe the worst quarterback in the league, but they also got their teeth kicked in by Joe Flacco. So beating a bad quarterback should count for something. Not to mention, they held Joe Burrow to two garbage touchdowns in Week 8, meaning the defense can hold good quarterbacks down as well. This unit is inconsistent but that’s not a coaching issue, that’s a talent issue.
The Browns’ defense is playing above their station, whether fans want to accept this or not. They were not supposed to be a good unit this year, so anything they do where they end up looking respectable shows that Woods is doing his job.
The #Browns now rank 17th in defensive efficiency; they were 31st in mid-October
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) December 19, 2022

We told you in the offseason, the preseason, and throughout the season that this defense was bad. The talent wasn’t there. They have next to no defensive line to speak of, and even Myles Garrett, this supposed franchise defensive player, absolutely goes ghost when someone runs the ball.
Denzel Ward, long before Woods arrived in Cleveland, had consistency and health issues, and the team has not done anything significant to upgrade the linebacking position outside of drafting Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who is outsized at linebacker, but a very good coverage guy.
The rest of the team is filled with first, second, or third-year drafted players and patch-job-free-agents. The drafted players have not shown to be impact players by any stretch of the imagination, and most of the “good” players that Berry drafted on defense are, at best, consistent starters but nothing greater.
When your best free agent on that side of the ball is the declining and injury-prone Jadeveon Clowney or the inconsistent safety John Johnson III, it’s fair to say that Berry did the bare minimum to improve a defense, who if were’ being honest, hasn’t been truly great in the last decade.
In fact, the Browns have had just three “great” defenses since 1999 and by great I’m defining it by a Top 10 placing (according to Pro Football Reference).
Those three teams are the 2002, 2011, and 2014 squads. Woods can only do so much with the talent he has, and that’s just a fact. Considering Berry has failed at improving this team since taking it over from John Dorsey, it’s fair to say he’s one of, if not the biggest problems the team has.
If you want to fire Woods, that’s fine, but make sure the firing starts with Berry and takes every other coach with them. Either make a change where it matters most; the GM spot, or just tear down the whole thing, because firing Woods won’t improve the drafting or the offense, nor will it make Stefanski give up play-calling.
Firing Woods is nothing more than a sacrificial lamb to satiate fans’ anger, and considering he’s getting better as the season progresses, that shows you he’s capable of doing well. He just needs better talent.
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