Browns DC Joe Woods is on a mission to stop Lamar Jackson
The Cleveland Browns get a front-row seat at the Lamar Jackson show, facing off against the AFC North division rival Baltimore Ravens twice a year. Anticipating the duo of yearly matchups with Jackson and the Ravens, Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods has called stopping the defending NFL MVP paramount.
#Browns DC Joe Woods says coaches have spent time during offseason working on ways to deal specifically with Lamar Jackson.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) May 28, 2020
According to Browns beat reporter Scott Petrak on Twitter, Woods, the franchise’s new defensive coordinator hired this offseason, has taken on the challenge of planning to stop Jackson.
The Browns, who finished 6-10 and short of the playoffs during the 2019 regular season, were only one of two NFL teams last season to defeat Jackson and the Ravens before Baltimore lost for a third and final time in 2019-20 to the Tennessee Titans in the postseason. Practically the only thing Cleveland shares with reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs: Stopping Jackson.
In that late-Sept. 2019 game, Jackson threw 34 passes with 24 completions for 247 passing yards and three touchdowns, but the Browns came away with two interceptions, too. The Browns also limited the speedy and versatile Jackson to 66 rushing yards; the former University of Louisville Heisman Trophy winner averaged just over 80 rushing yards a game in 15 games in 2019, for reference.
Woods spent 2019 with the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, before that spending five years with the Denver Broncos — two franchises with elite defenses during his tenures. The Browns have the makings of a great defense, too. Besides speculation that Cleveland could chase free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, another former first-overall NFL Draft selection in defensive end Myles Garrett is on the prowl.
Splitting 2019’s season series with the AFC North champion Ravens may be cause for victory, but Woods has to design Cleveland’s defense in 2020 to keep the success coming.