Cleveland Browns fire defensive coordinator Joe Woods

The Cleveland Browns fired defensive coordinator Joe Woods Sunday night following consecutive losing seasons.

A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Monday that the team has requested permission to interview Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebackers coach Brian Flores and New England Patriots linebackers' coach Jerod Mayo for the position. The team has also requested permission to interview Seattle Seahawks associate head coach Sean Desai, a source said and plans to interview former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, according to a source.

The Browns finished with a 7-10 record, capped by Sunday's 28-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Woods had been Cleveland's defensive coordinator under coach Kevin Stefanski since 2020.

In Woods' first season, the Browns advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2002, then won their first playoff game in 26 years.

But slow starts hampered the Browns' defense the past two seasons. At one point in mid-October this season, Cleveland ranked 31st in defensive efficiency.

A porous run defense especially hurt the Browns. Cleveland finished next-to-last in the league in defensive total rush expected points added (minus-23.11).

Cleveland's defense, notably covering the pass, improved significantly during the second half of the season, as the Browns finished 20th in defensive efficiency. But it wasn't enough to save Woods' job or keep Cleveland in the playoff hunt.

Before coming to Cleveland, Woods coached defensive backs for the San Francisco 49ers, including through their run to Super Bowl LIV. Before that, he was defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in 2017 and 2018.