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Browns reportedly “on track” to hire Joe Woods as defensive coordinator

Coach Kevin Stefanski wants 49ers defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Joe Woods to be his defensive coordinator.

ESPN reported Sunday Woods is “on track” to be the Browns’ coordinator if the sides can agree on a contract.

The 49ers beat the Packers on Sunday in the NFC championship game, so Woods won’t be eligible to finalize a deal with the Browns until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

Woods would replace Steve Wilks, who was informed he won’t be retained, Cleveland.com reported. The Browns ranked 22nd in yardage (361.6) and 20th in points (24.6) in Wilks’ only season.

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The Browns will hire former Dolphins offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea, a source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram. NFL Network reported he’ll be receivers coach and passing game coordinator.

Offensive line coach James Campen won’t return, ESPN reported. He worked with the Packers from 2004-18 before joining the Browns last season.

Stefanski, who was hired Monday, hasn’t announced any staff decisions.

Stefanski and Woods worked together with the Vikings from 2006-13. Woods was the defensive backs coach, as he’s been throughout his career.

He’s in his first season with the 49ers after four years with the Broncos, including serving as coordinator in 2017-18 under coach Vance Joseph.

In 2017, the Broncos ranked third in the NFL in total defense, allowing 290.0 yards a game. The Broncos and Vikings were the only teams in the top five in run defense (89.4 yards) and pass defense (200.6). The fifth-ranked run defense was 40 yards better than the previous season, when it ranked 28th.

The Broncos ran a 3-4 scheme under Woods. The Browns have run a 4-3 defense the last three years, and the 49ers use a 4-3 under coordinator Robert Saleh, who interviewed for the Cleveland coaching job that went to Stefanski.

During Woods’ time as Broncos defensive backs coach, all four starters in the secondary went to the Pro Bowl. The Broncos held opponents to the fewest net passing yards (185.8), yards per attempt (5.8) and passing touchdowns (13) and the lowest passer rating (69.7) in 2016.

Woods, 49, played cornerback and safety at Illinois State. He coached defensive backs at Kent State in 1997.

O’Shea, 47, spent 2009-18 as receivers coach for the Patriots. He followed Brian Flores to the Dolphins as coordinator but was fired after one season.

The Dolphins ranked 27th in yardage (310.0) and 22nd in points (19.1)

O’Shea worked with Stefanski and Woods in Minnesota from 2006-08.

DAVIS DIES

Bill Davis, who was vice president of player personnel for the Browns from 1981-86, died Saturday. He was 81.

Davis, a native of Youngstown, played quarterback and defensive back at Mount Union and started in the NFL as a coach before switching to the personnel side.

He was part of the personnel department that built the Browns teams that went to three AFC championship games in the late 1980s, helping to acquire Bernie Kosar, Hanford Dixon, Frank Minnifield, Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner.

His son Bill was Cleveland’s linebackers coach in 2011-12.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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