18 days after having their season ended by the Chiefs, Broncos Country had yet more heartache as the hero of men, and all around legend, Wade Phillips, decided to leave the Broncos and take up the Defensive Coordinator position with the Los Angeles Rams.
Just 5 days later the Broncos promoted DB’s coach Joe Woods. Woods has worked with hall of fame quality defensive backs in his 13 year career such as Rhondi Barber and Charles Woodson as well as improving the careers of Cedric Griffin and Xavier Rhodes, both draft picks from his Vikings days.
Maybe his biggest highlight before joining the Broncos was getting Antonio Winfield to all 3 of his career pro bowl appearances. Woods has been the leader of the ‘No Fly Zone’ since 2015 leading them to the best secondary both years averaging under 200 yards passing yards allowed over the 32 game span.
With pro bowl appearances of 3 of the starting 4 in 2015 – cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, Jr., plus strong safety, TJ Ward, in 2016 Woods’ unit also sent Talib, Harris Jr along with Ward and free safety Darian Stewart as alternatives. Woods’ impact has been phenomenal on the unit. General Manager, John Elway, was put in a position to choose experience and higher salary in Phillips or youth, system experience and a cheaper salary in Woods.
Time will tell if Elway has made the right choice; however, if you ask members of the NFZ, it seems there was a clear winner. Recently Chris Harris Jr was asked how he felt about Woods’ promotion
“We like it. He knows our strengths, so that is a good thing having a guy that really knows how we play and things like that. Him getting elevated to the D-Coordinator, I think it is a perfect fit for us and what we’re trying to do. We’re doing a lot of things that we have done in the past, but we’re kind of adding more wrinkles and taking it to another level. With Wade we were on Level 2 on a lot of things, but now we are on Level 3 on some coverages.
More praise from Darian Stewart, “I felt like there wasn’t a better coach ready for the opportunity. Joe Woods is familiar with us. It’s going on three years with us. I’m happy. No disrespect to Wade, Wade was a great coach, but if you replace him, what better person than Joe.”
TJ Ward gave his thoughts on Woods being promoted:
“I don’t know exactly what I’m getting with him at d-coordinator, but we have a good idea. We’re going to be that same style of defense. Since Wade and Joe came here, it was heart. We were going to be physical, we were going to determine how we play defense and make offenses play based on how we feel like we should play. That hasn’t changed with Joe. It may even have gotten turned up a little more because I know Joe is real fiery. You’re going to see that type of intensity and maybe even more this year because I know guys are hungry.”
Joe Woods has always been more than a defensive back coach, he’s a locker room leader who galvanizes not just all 3 phases on defense, but the whole locker room. The players would run through fire, break down walls and give every single ounce of energy to get the win for Woods.
How many 2nd half performances have you seen the Broncos turn a game around and mentioned to a friend or fellow fan in the stadium and said, wow, what’s got into the Broncos second half? The answer seems to be Coach Woods.
“Joe is a great coach. Phillips will go down as one of the best defensive coordinators to ever coach the game. Joe is a great coach as well. He’s not just going to totally abandon what we did last year and what we did with Coach Phillips. Joe Woods is a great coach. His vision and his beliefs, that is what we’re going to run behind.”~~Von Miller
Woods has always been more than a defensive back coach he’s a locker room leader who galvanizes not just all 3 phases on defense, but the whole locker room. The players would run through fire, break down walls and give every single ounce of energy to get the win for coach Woods.
Coach Phillips might be given a lot of credit for Woods’ efforts, but now the apprentice is becoming the master. The Broncos are going to be in good hands for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be exciting.
With Doss, Roby, Will Parks and Simmons ready to step up at a moment’s notice, the no fly zone looks capable of being top 3 for years to come. Let’s say thank you to John Elway for hiring Joe Woods in 2015. Without him, there’s a strong chance the Broncos don’t lift the Vince Lombardi trophy on the 7TH February 2016.