It didn't take long for Dennis Allen to identify his first candidate to replace Kris Richard as defensive coordinator. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport report that the New Orleans Saints will meet with former Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods about that opening on their staff - Woods was let go in January after three years with the Browns. CBS Sports' Josina Anderson shares that Woods will interview with the Saints in New Orleans on Friday.
And he's worked with Allen before, having coached the then-Oakland Raiders' defensive backs in 2014, so there' some familiarity there. Woods went on to find success as the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator under Vance Joseph in 2017 and 2018, and as the San Francisco 49ers defensive passing game coordinator in 2019 under Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh.
Things haven't gone as well for him as a defensive play caller (it's a big part of what got him ousted in Cleveland), but that wouldn't be Woods' responsibility in New Orleans. Allen still holds that responsibility after being promoted to head coach, so Woods would be more of a collaborator in much the same way Pete Carmichael was for Sean Payton over the years. That's if his interview goes well and both sides can reach an agreement.
Allen has some work to do after eroding his defensive coaching staff. He needs a new coordinator, a secondary coach, and a defensive line coach after parting ways with Richard and letting Ryan Nielsen go to the Atlanta Falcons. His defense has been the strength of the team over the last few years, but at some point he'll need to put time and resources into an offense that ranked tenth-worst in the NFL last year.
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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire