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Joe Woods’ Influence in Cleveland: The Series (Part 4)

Joe Woods loves calling a zone coverage scheme, so let’s look at how four down linemen can create pass rush.

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November 14th, 2019. The date that stands out in my mind as the official death of the 2019 Browns season.

Some fans knew the season wouldn’t become the retribution Browns backers want so badly at halftime of the Titans home opener. Some fans packed up their Milkbones and face paint when the 49ers dominated the Browns from start to finish on a Monday night game.

For me, the season officially died when Myles Garrett impersonated a Mick Foley Texas Death Match on Mason Rudolph’s noggin. The Browns were 4-6, but the defense had overcome the overconfidence and underprepared launch of the season. The offense might have been running like a ’78 American Motors Corporation Pacer, but Steve Wilks and his Cover 3 with unique blitz packages buried the Bills and Steelers on back to back weeks. However, with Myles suspended, the opponents would no longer be physically dominated at the line of scrimmage. If Browns fans were tired of watching the Myles-less Steve Wilks defense fail to generate a pass rush… well, brother you ain’t seen nothing yet. Joe Woods does not blitz often, instead relying on a combination of fresh legs, talent, and diversification in the front four to generate pass rush.

Will it work? Well, the 49ers rarely rushed more than four down linemen in 2019 at finished tied for fifth in sacks in the NFL. The Joe Woods Series will attempt to answer two essential questions in this fourth installment:

How did Joe Woods and the 49ers defensive coaches generate so many sacks almost exclusively with the defensive front four?

What roles will the current projected defensive linemen fill?

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Lifelong Cleveland sports fan, wherever I have roamed. Writer, bass slapper, Humanities teacher, fur trader, oyster thief, whittler of wooden canoes.

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