CLEVELAND — Former San Francisco 49ers defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Joe Woods is coming to Cleveland to be the Browns’ new defensive coordinator and he is not coming alone, either.
According to SiriusXM NFL Radio host Alex Marvez, the Browns have hired Chris Kiffin to be their new defensive line coach.
Last year, Kiffin was San Francisco’s pass rush specialist and the results were positive, as end Nick Bosa earned a Pro Bowl selection, while fellow linemen Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner were named alternates.
With the reported hires of Woods and Kiffin, the Browns are building up the defensive side of the staff to go along with Bill Callahan (linemen), Alex Van Pelt (coordinator), Chad O’Shea (pass game coordinator/wide receivers), Stump Mitchell (run game coordinator/running backs) and Drew Petzing (tight ends) on offense, as well as Mike Priefer (coordinator) and Doug Colman (assistant) on special teams.
In the 2019 regular season, the 49ers averaged three sacks per game, finishing the year with a total of 48 stops of opposing quarterbacks behind the line of scrimmage.
Armstead led the way with 10.0 sacks, while Bosa was right behind him with 9.0. Buckner added 7.5 sacks and despite missing time due to injury, Dee Ford registered 6.5. Along with the 49ers’ starting defenders, the rotational players got in on the act, too, as defensive ends Solomon Thomas and Ronald Blair combined for five sacks.
The defensive line combined for 39 of San Francisco’s 48 sacks during the regular season.
During their run to the NFC Championship and an appearance in Super Bowl LIV last week, the 49ers registered 13 sacks, with Bosa, a rookie out of Ohio State University, leading the way with 4.0. In addition to the pressures, they forced seven fumbles in the postseason.
The son of long-time NFL coach Monte Kiffin and brother of college coach Lane Kiffin, Chris Kiffin has three years of experience within the professional ranks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2007) and 49ers (2018-2019), as well as 11 seasons at the collegiate level.
Kiffin has been an assistant at Idaho (2006), defensive quality control coach at Nebraska (2008-2009), defensive assistant at USC (2010) and defensive line coach at both Arkansas State (2011) and Ole Miss (2012-2016). Also, Kiffin was Florida Atlantic’s defensive coordinator during the 2017 season.