The Cleveland Browns defense struggled to stop reigning MVP Lamar Jackson just like most other organizations.
They will face off against Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in the season opener.
The Browns will need to find a way to slow down Jackson if they want to have a chance to be a legitimate threat going forward.
Cleveland’s new defensive coordinator Joe Woods is on a mission to stop Jackson next season.
#Browns DC Joe Woods says coaches have spent time during offseason working on ways to deal specifically with Lamar Jackson.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) May 28, 2020
It’s not an easy task stopping a player like Jackson, but the new Browns defensive coordinator is ready for the challenge.
The Browns were able to beat the Ravens once last season, but can they create a reliable gameplan against Jackson going forward?
Can Jackson Be Stopped?
The Browns went 6-10 last season, but one of those wins was against the Ravens.
Baltimore was only beaten twice during the regular season before losing to the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs last season.
Jackson threw for 3,127 passing yards with 36 touchdowns and six interceptions through 15 games in 2019.
He also rushed for 1,206 yards on 176 attempts with seven touchdowns during the regular season.
The 23-year-old dual-threat quarterback has been causing problems for every team around the league.
The Browns were able to limit Jackson to 247 passing yards and 66 rushing yards during their meeting in late September last year.
Cleveland also came away with two interceptions during that game, which went a long way to helping Cleveland secure the win.
Jackson is one of the most dynamic players in the league, but he is not unstoppable.
Can Joe Woods Help Cleveland Stop Jackson?
The new defensive coordinator believes he can develop a system to help stop Jackson.
Before joining the Browns, Woods spent time with multiple other professional organizations.
Most notably, he was the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos for two seasons.
Then he joined the San Francisco 49ers organization last season as the defensive backs coach.
Both of those teams had elite defenses when Woods was there, so he appears to be the right man for the job in Cleveland.
The Browns already have a talented young group of players on defense, but weren’t able to put it all together last season.
Hopefully Woods can be the guy that can help the Browns actually become an elite defense in the NFL.
What Has Changed for Cleveland?
The Browns did find a way to beat Jackson once last season, but weren’t able to pull off the victory the second time around.
Having a new defensive coordinator and a new head coach in Kevin Stefanski should bring life to the Browns organization.
They also made some key moves on the defensive side of the ball that should help their team in the long-term.
"What I am really putting together is a combination of what I feel like has been the top defenses of the last 10 years."
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 28, 2020
He is expected to be their future at the free safety spot going forward.
Woods might be able to create a top tier defense in Cleveland that may end up being the only answer to stopping Jackson.