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Woods plans only ‘tweaks’ for Broncos’ elite defense

As they say, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Joe Woods’ introductory presser as the new defensive coordinator was rather mundane.

And that was a really good thing.

Because the one unit of the Denver Broncos not requiring any more swagger or needing a shift in philosophy is the defense.

And Woods has no intention of changing what’s already been working.

“For two years we’ve been an elite-level defense; that blueprint isn’t really going to change,” Woods said on Tuesday. “There are some things we want to tweak to add to the defense to help enhance it, but we don’t want to change what we’ve done the last two years.”

When the “obvious question” was posed about what does need some tweaking, Woods laughed and said, “I’ll give you the obvious answer...the run game.”

Woods didn’t have an answer on what it was about the run game specifically that broke down, but the coaching staff is evaluating that now to see where scheme, execution and coaching contributed to the problems.

“Run defense is the one area we fell off, but teams played us different than the first year,” Woods said. “We’ll go back and look at what we were doing with the scheme, look at the execution by players, and look at how we were coaching them.”

Whether free agency contributes to this “tweak” is for John Elway to ultimately decide, but Woods and his staff will certainly be giving Elway ideas on players they think could help improve the defense. So it is likely some defensive linemen are acquired at some point

“Our role is to evaluate players on free agent market, tell John who we really like, and based on our needs, he’ll make the decisions,” Woods noted.

Helping Woods will be mostly the same defensive staff that served under Wade Phillips - Bill Kollar, Reggie Herring and Fred Pagac - plus the addition of Marcus Robertson to take Woods spot coaching the defensive backs.

Having the core group of coaches back was a key for Woods.

“It was really important to have the same coaches,” said Woods, who has been a DB coach for the past 12 years but a coach of some kind for the past 26. “I’ve been around a lot of good staffs and had a chance to grow under those coaches. I’m definitely ready to take the next step.”

Under Phillips, Woods and the other position coaches were always involved in the game planning and often were called upon to present to the entire defense.

“I’ve been in front of the whole group. Those guys know me, know my personality, know how I am as a coach, so I don’t have any issues standing in front of the room and leading this defense,” Woods said. “I’m a passionate guy, I’m a high-energy guy and that’s the way I’m going to coach.”

The more interesting exchange with Woods came in a followup interview with Broncos TV where Woods gave his three main philosophies for coaching defense:

  • Do your job - “First and foremost.”
  • Make plays - “We draft guys to make plays at their position. You have to make plays you’re supposed to make.”
  • Play fast - “If we can get 11 guys running to the play, there may be some mistakes along the line, but if we’re flying to the football, we’re going to be successful on defense.”

It seems simple - and it is - but executing at an elite level is often the difference in coaching. And Woods believes he has the staff and the players to continue building from the elite defense the Broncos have had for two years.

Now enjoy listening to the new defensive coordinator do what he loves - coach defense.