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The 49ers are reportedly hiring Joe Woods in a defensive backs/passing game coordinator role, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 15, 2019
Woods replaces former 49ers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley, who left earlier this month to become Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator. Under Hafley, the 49ers finished No. 11 in the NFL in pass defense in 2018, allowing 233 yards per game.
According to Garafolo, Woods will play a key role in game-planning with defensive coordinator Robert Saleh on the back end.
It means he's involved in scheming things on the back end of the defense. He'll help Saleh game plan in that regard, more so than a traditional position coach.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 16, 2019
Woods, who worked with Kyle Shanahan in Tampa Bay from 2004 to 2005, met with the 49ers earlier Tuesday, according to Denver’s 9News reporter Mike Klis. Woods had received interest from the Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals for similar roles throughout recent days.
Of Woods’ 26 years of coaching at the college and NFL levels, he has coached defensive backs — at Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Oakland, and Denver — in 13 of them. Three of his secondaries finished No. 1 in pass defense, including two with Denver.
Woods was the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator for the past two seasons after serving as the team’s defensive backs coach. Last week, the Broncos hired long-time defensive coordinator Vic Fangio as their new head coach. The team spent recent days searching for its new defensive coordinator to replace Woods, who evidently was not part of Fangio’s plans. About one after Woods reportedly agreed to join the 49ers, the Broncos reportedly reached an agreement to hire Ed Donatell as their new defensive coordinator.
Woods is the second addition to the 49ers staff in as many days. One day after firing defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina, the 49ers reportedly hired Kris Kocurek in the same role Monday.
The 49ers have also addressed the injury issue that plagued the team throughout the past two years. Forty-one players were placed on injured reserve throughout that span. Last Friday, the team parted ways with long-time head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson. On Jan. 4, the 49ers fired head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright.
As of now, there are no more voids among the 49ers coaching staff that need to be filled. But three assistants — Mike LaFleur, Mike McDaniel, and Rich Scangarello — have received interest from other teams throughout recent weeks. Scangarello, after getting permission from the 49ers to interview with Denver, may be headed to Woods’ former workplace. The 49ers quarterback coach reportedly met with Denver to discuss the open offensive coordinator position Tuesday.