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January 17, 2017


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos on Tuesday promoted defensive backs coach Joe Woods to defensive coordinator, Head Coach Vance Joseph announced.
“Joe Woods is ready for this opportunity,” Joseph said. “He’s been a long-time NFL assistant coach and has done great work at the secondary position. No one will outwork Joe. He’s got tremendous attention to detail as well as a lot of familiarity with our players.
“It’s his time, and he’s ready for it. I’m very excited to watch Joe grow as a coordinator.”
Woods, who has 25 years of coaching experience, has instructed defensive backs in the NFL for the last 13 seasons with Denver (2015-16), Oakland (2014), Minnesota (2006-13) and Tampa Bay (2004-05).
During his NFL coaching tenure, Woods has coached five players to 10 total Pro Bowl selections. His secondaries have been part of No. 1 pass defenses on three occasions (2004, ‘15-16), and his teams have allowed fewer than three 300-yard passers per season.
With Woods coaching the Broncos’ defensive backs, Denver finished first in the NFL in pass defense in both 2015 (199.6 ypg) and 2016 (185.8). The Broncos also held opponents to the lowest completion percentage (57.8), yards per attempt (5.99) and passer rating (74.3) during that stretch.
No NFL secondary scored more defensive touchdowns (7) than the Broncos during the last two seasons as Denver’s defensive backs found the end zone on six interception returns and one fumble return in that span.
Cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib each made consecutive Pro Bowl appearances while playing for Woods in addition to being named first-team All-Pro selections by the Associated Press in 2016. Safeties T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart were among the most productive NFL players at their positions during the last two years while nickel cornerback Bradley Roby continued his rapid development.
Woods coached the Raiders’ defensive backs in 2014, working with veteran safety Charles Woodson, who led the team with 160 tackles (105 solo) and four interceptions (35 yds.) in his 17th NFL season. He also tutored D.J. Hayden as the second-year cornerback made considerable progress from his rookie season while starting 8-of-10 games played for Oakland.
Before joining the Raiders, Woods spent eight seasons coaching defensive backs in Minnesota. The Vikings finished among the NFL’s top 10 defenses in four of his first five years with the club, capturing back-to-back NFC North Division titles from 2008-09 and making an NFC Championship Game appearance following the 2009 season.
Cornerback Antoine Winfield earned all three of his career Pro Bowl selections (2008-10) playing for Woods, recording 14 interceptions and 58 passes defensed in his six years with the Vikings.
Woods was brought to Minnesota in 2006 along with Defensive Coordinator Mike Tomlin, who worked side-by-side with him as a secondary coach in Tampa Bay from 2004-05.
During his first two NFL seasons with Tampa Bay, Woods helped coach a talented secondary led by cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly. Barber, an NFL 2000s All-Decade performer, earned first-team All-Pro recognition from the Associated Press following each of his two seasons playing for Woods.
In 2005, the Buccaneers boasted the NFL’s top defensive unit (277.8 ypg)—including the league’s sixth-ranked pass defense (183.1 ypg)—while finishing 11-5 and capturing the NFC South Division title. Barber set a team single-season record for most tackles (120) by a cornerback and led the club with five interceptions.
Tampa Bay ranked first in the NFL in pass defense (161.2 ypg) in Woods’ initial season with the club in 2004 and limited opposing quarterbacks to a 77.2 passer rating. Barber was selected to his second career Pro Bowl after finishing the season as one of just four NFL cornerbacks to record at least three interceptions and three sacks.
Before joining the Bucs, Woods was the defensive backs coach for three seasons (2001-03) at Western Michigan University. He coached the same position with Hofstra University from 1998-2000, helping the school make consecutive trips to the 1-AA playoff quarterfinals.
Woods also served as defensive backs coach at Kent State University (1997) and Grand Valley State University (1994-96) following a stint coaching linebackers during the spring of 1994 at Northwestern State University.
He began his coaching career as a defensive backs coach at Muskingum College in 1992 and moved on to become a graduate assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University in 1993.
Woods lettered four times as a cornerback and safety during his collegiate career at Illinois State University, graduating from the school in 1992 with a degree in criminal justice. He was team captain as a senior in 1991 and went on to earn first-team All-Gateway Conference honors following his final season.  
Born on June 25, 1970, in North Vandergrift, Va., Woods and his wife, Ellen, have two daughters, Brianna and Danari, and a son, Geno. 
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