It’s another year of high expectations for the Cleveland Browns.
That’s not a bad thing as the team looks to make a run at the Lombardi Trophy.
However, with bigger expectations come bigger stakes.
With so much riding on this current Browns core, the evaluation of personnel is constant.
This leads to less job security and increased pressure.
Someone who’s felt that pressure via fan scrutiny is defensive coordinator Joe Woods.
If the Browns give up over 24 points, you better believe Twitter is coming for him.
Joe Woods should be fired immediately
— Offseason Chopz (@Pchopz_) November 29, 2021
Caller on sports talk radio in Cleveland just called for #Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods to be fired. After one game.
Welcome back, football season.
— Nick Camino (@NickCaminoWKYC) September 13, 2021
If the defensive shines, however, it’s back to singing his praises.
And folks wanted good brother Joe Woods fired SMH https://t.co/uyOZ9KMZ4Q
— jordan (@Jordan_T729) October 3, 2021
Don’t expect things to be much different for Woods and his defense this season.
Is he under the most pressure of anyone on Cleveland’s coaching staff?
One fact Woods can boast is the improvement his unit made from 2020 to 2021.
In 2020, the Browns’ defense finished 21st in yards allowed per game.
Last season, they jumped all the way up to third-fewest allowed.
Deeper and better personnel across the depth chart played a huge role.
But Woods improved as a coordinator as well.
His unit’s performance against the Packers in December kept them in the ballgame.
Unfortunately, the offense let them down a bit.
However, there’s no question that Woods had his defense take a major step forward last season.
Even if the leash is short for him in 2022, he deserves credit for that.
If Woods doesn’t feel the heat from fans, he’s feeling it from himself.
Last November he detailed the kind of pressure he puts on himself following the infamous “we don’t make adjustments” comment from Myles Garrett.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure that the gameplan is right… but I always look in the mirror first”, Woods told reporters. “As I’m grading the players, I grade myself. So, number one, I always look at myself and what I can do better.”
One of the toughest things to do in the NFL is to be consistent.
That’s what helps separate Hall of Fame level players from just great ones.
It’s part of what Woods talks about in the video clip above as well.
As he mentions, there are good to great players on both sides of the ball.
Someone must make a play, and it’s not always your side.
That makes being consistent tough.
The Browns’ defense hit a low point with that last year in Week’s Five and Six.
They allowed 84 total points to the Chargers and Cardinals in back-to-back losses.
The defensive breakdowns during this stretch were mind-numbingly bad.
This type of miscommunication and blown coverage should not be happening in Week 6. And why is Joe Woods calling a soft cover-4 when the opponent is on their 9 yard line?? #Browns pic.twitter.com/WuYnvp6Uwf
— Roberto Shenanigans (@Rob_Shenanigans) October 17, 2021
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 10, 2021
Just two weeks prior, however, they were holding opponents to single digits in consecutive weeks.
That’s the nature of the NFL schedule sometimes.
Avoiding those abysmal stretches this season will be key for Woods in terms of keeping some heat off himself.
Not Out of the Woods
As it stands, Woods faces more pressure than anyone on the Browns coaching staff.
That could absolutely change as the season progresses.
However, fans are thin on patience with him.
Despite improving last year, a bad 2020 still doesn’t sit well with many.
This season is make or break for Woods regarding his future in Cleveland.