In a move first reported on Jan. 15 by Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the San Francisco 49ers have officially announced the addition of Joe Woods, former defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, as defensive backs coach.
Woods, 48, will also assume the responsibilities of former secondary coach Jeff Hafley, who left to take over as co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State. Woods spent the previous four seasons with the Broncos as defensive coordinator (2017-18) and defensive backs coach (2015-16). Before that, Woods spent 11 years as defensive backs coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004-05), Minnesota Vikings (2006-13) and Oakland Raiders (2014).
“In addition to being a tremendous coach with a wealth of knowledge, Joe is a great person that we believe will help bring the best out of our players,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said in a statement. “Since we first worked together in Tampa, Joe has continued to gain invaluable experience in different schemes and coverages that will benefit our defense. Anybody who is familiar with Joe as a coach knows that he is passionate about the fundamentals of the game and we look forward to seeing the impact he has on our team.”
Woods will take over a unit that, aside from veteran Richard Sherman, is very young, featuring 23-year old Ahkello Witherspoon, 22-year old Tarvarius Moore, 22-year old D.J. Reed and 25-year old Adrian Colbert. The unit — ravaged by injuries — was only able to produce two interceptions, which led to the 49ers having the worst turnover differential in the NFL.
Before his time in the professional ranks, Woods served as defensive backs coach at Western Michigan University (2001-03), Hofstra University (1998-2000), Kent State University (1997) and Grand Valley State University (1994-96). He began his coaching career as defensive backs coach at Muskingum College in 1992, followed by one season as a graduate assistant at Eastern Michigan University (1993). He also spent the spring of 1994 as linebackers coach at Northwestern State University.
A native of North Vandergrift, PA, Woods played cornerback and safety at Illinois State University where he was a team captain as a senior in 1991 and earned First-Team All-Gateway Conference honors.NFL