Black Monday is off to a blazing start for the Cleveland Browns.
Embattled defensive coordinator Joe Woods has been fired.
Kimberly A. Martin of ESPN is among the first to report the news, and she sheds an early light on who the potential replacements may be.
Names to watch in the #Browns interview process for a new DC:
Brian Flores and Jerod Mayo. https://t.co/NN9EaCEf35
— Kimberley A. Martin (@ByKimberleyA) January 9, 2023
Brian Flores was the Steelers’ senior defensive assistant in 2022, and Jerod Mayo has been the inside linebackers coach for the Patriots since 2019.
Tony Grossi indicates that Jim Schwartz is a potential replacement.
Source confirms Joe Woods out as defensive coordinator. I would rank Jim Schwartz as No . 1 contender to replace him.
— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) January 9, 2023
Schwartz was the defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles during their Super Bowl Championship season, and he most recently was a senior defensive assistant for the Tennessee Titans.
Some have openly speculated that the Browns will name a new DC promoted from within, but Mary Kay Cabot’s Monday morning reporting seems to indicate otherwise.
Cabot says that the news defensive coordinator will likely come from outside the building and will have input on his assistants.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 9, 2023
It is believed that some of the current defensive coaching staff will be retained.
Will This Be The Only Firing?
Daryl Ruiter believes that the morning announcement of Joe Woods’ firing implies that this is the only coordinator change planned.
#Browns firing of defensive coordinator Joe Woods this morning likely the only coordinator change meaning special teams Mike Priefer has survived.
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) January 9, 2023
If Ruiter is correct, that means that both special teams coordinator Mike Priefer and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt would retain their positions in 2023.
Many have called for Priefer’s firing in particular given the overall ineptness of the special teams unit this season and arguably extending backward to 2020 with the muffed punt be ex Browns punter Jamie Gillan.
Priefer is a holdover from the Freddie Kitchens era and was perceived to be more in jeopardy of losing his job than Van Pelt but given the Browns disappointing 7-10 season, no one is considered completely safe.