New Orleans Saints add five to coaching staff

Browns Woods Football
Posted at 3:36 PM, Feb 15, 2023

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Dennis Allen has announced that the club has hired Joe Woods as defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham as defensive line coach, Marcus Robertson as secondary coach, Clancy Barone as tight ends coach, and Kevin Carberry as assistant offensive line coach.

A 31-year coaching veteran, including the last 19 in the National Football League, Woods will enter his sixth NFL season as a defensive coordinator in his first campaign in New Orleans. He spent the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns.

In 2022, the Browns tied for fourth in the NFL in passes defended (85) and ranked fifth in pass defense (196.2 ypg.). Several individual contributors also enjoyed standout campaigns and made strides as young professionals. DE Myles Garrett tied his own team record first set in 2021, of 16 sacks, tied for second-most in the NFL. He became the only NFL player to record 16 takedowns in each of the past two seasons, as he was selected to the Pro Bowl and as an Associated Press second-team All-Pro. S Grant Delpit showed significant growth in his second season, when he led the team in interceptions (four) and tackles (101), as one of only three NFL players to have at least four picks and 100 stops. CB Denzel Ward led the team with five takeaways, including two fumble returns for touchdowns, and tied for the team lead in passes defended (15). Rookie CB Martin Emerson Jr. tied Ward for the team lead in pass breakups and was selected to Pro Football Journal’s All-Rookie team, as Cleveland was one of only two teams to have two players with at least 15 pass breakups.

In 2021 under Woods’ supervision, the Browns finished fifth in the NFL in total defense, marking just the third time since 1970 the team ranked in the top five and the club’s highest finish since 1987, one of just three NFL teams to finish in the top-12 in total defense, run defense and pass defense. Garrett earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors with 16 takedowns and Ward earned his second career Pro Bowl selection.

Upon arriving in Cleveland in 2020, Woods helped the opportunistic Browns reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002, as they led the NFL with six red-zone takeaways and finished tied for second in the NFL with 17 forced fumbles. The team was 6-0 when it forced two or more turnovers in a game and 8-1 when it had at least one takeaway. In the team’s Wild Card Playoff win at Pittsburgh, the Browns recorded five takeaways, including four interceptions. The club finished ninth in run defense after finishing 30th in 2019, prior to Woods’ arrival. Garrett earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors as he ranked among the league leaders in strip sacks (tied for second with four), forced fumbles (tied for third with four), fumble recoveries (tied for third with two), and sacks (sixth with 12). Along with DE Olivier Vernon (nine), the Browns were one of just four teams to have a pair of teammates each recording at least nine sacks. Ward finished tied for second in the NFL with 18 passes defended, despite only playing in 12 games.

Prior to his tenure in Cleveland, Woods served as defensive backs/pass game coordinator for the Super Bowl LIV finalist San Francisco 49ers in 2019, when they held opponents to 169.2 passing yards per game, ranking first in the NFL in 2019 and the lowest total allowed by an NFL team since 2009. San Francisco also led the league with 21 forced fumbles and finished in the top eight in nine other major defensive categories.

Woods spent four seasons in Denver from 2015-18, where he served as defensive backs coach his first two seasons and as defensive coordinator his final two.

Under Woods’ tutelage in 2018, LB Von Miller and rookie LB Bradley Chubb combined for 26.5 sacks as Miller’s 14.5 were the second-most in a single season in his career and Chubb’s 12.0 set the Broncos franchise rookie record.

The 2017 Broncos finished third in the NFL in total defense and were one of only two teams to rank in the top five in both run defense and pass defense. Under his supervision, both the 2015 and 2016 Broncos were ranked first in the NFL in opponent net passing yards per game and the 2015 team captured Super Bowl 50. Woods also tutored the Oakland Raiders secondary in 2014 and coached defensive backs for the Minnesota Vikings from 2016-13. His first two seasons of NFL experience were in the NFC South with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2004-05 as a defensive quality control assistant, preceded by 12 years in the college ranks at seven different schools. A native of North Vandergrift, Pa., Woods played cornerback and safety at Illinois State University, where he served as team captain as a senior in 1991 and earned first-team All-Gateway conference honors, and earned a criminal justice degree.

A 33-year coaching veteran, including an 11-year NFL coaching career, Grantham joins New Orleans after spending 2022 as an analyst at the University of Alabama and running the defense at the University of Florida from 2018-21. From 2018-20, the Gators' defense registered 65 takeaways, tied for 11th-most in the nation over that span. With a turnover margin of plus-12 in 2018 and plus-five in 2019, UF also finished with a turnover margin of at least plus-five in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2014 and 2015. The Gators also ranked in the top ten in the nation in sacks in 2019 (49-fifth) and 2020 (35-tied for seventh), leading the Southeastern Conference each season.

Grantham came to Gainesville after serving in the same position at Mississippi State in 2017 and at Louisville from 2014-16 where he tutored former Saints first-round pick Sheldon Rankins. He first entered the college coordinator ranks in 2010 at the University of Georgia, where he enjoyed a four-year stint, first as defensive coordinator/outside linebackers coach from 2010-11 and adding the title of associate head coach from 2012-13. In 2012, Grantham led a unit that contributed to only Georgia’s third 12-win season all-time, as the Bulldogs allowed just 19 points (one touchdown, four field goals) in their last three SEC regular-season victories and had a streak of six scoreless quarters. In 2011, the Georgia defense finished fifth nationally in total defense, third in third-down defense, fifth in interceptions, and seventh in forced turnovers (32), which also ranked first in the SEC.

Before returning to college in 2010, Grantham enjoyed an 11-year NFL coaching stint. He served as the defensive line coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 2008-09. In 2009, the Cowboys ranked second in the NFL in scoring defense (15.6 points per game), fourth in rushing defense (90.5 yards per game), seventh in sacks (42), and ninth in total defense (315.9 yards per game). The Dallas defensive unit finished eighth in the NFL in total defense in 2008 and led the league with 59 sacks.

Prior to his tenure in Dallas, Grantham served three years as Cleveland’s defensive coordinator from 2005-07. Following his arrival in 2005, the Browns ranked fourth in the NFL in pass defense (179.2 yards per game). In 2007, the Browns' defense finished ranked eighth in third-down efficiency (36.7%) as they improved from 4-12 to 10-6. Grantham started his NFL coaching career as a defensive line coach for the Indianapolis Colts (1999-2001) and the Houston Texans (2002-04).

For the first nine years of his coaching career, Grantham had additional significant experience on the college level, serving three seasons as the defensive line coach at Michigan State (1996-98), and one as assistant head coach (1998). He also spent six seasons (1990-95) at his alma mater, Virginia Tech, coaching defensive ends, inside linebackers, and defensive linemen. In 1995, the Hokies ranked first nationally in rushing defense, fifth in scoring defense, and tenth in total defense.

Grantham played guard and tackle for the Hokies from 1984-88. He earned second-team All-South and honorable mention All-America honors as a senior, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sports management.

Robertson comes to New Orleans after serving as the defensive backs coach of the Arizona Cardinals for the last four seasons. He has spent the last 32 seasons in the NFL as a player, coach, and administrator and has tutored defensive backs for the past 15 seasons with Tennessee (2007-11), Detroit (2012-13), Oakland (2014-16), Denver (2017-18) and Arizona (2019-22).

Under Robertson’s tutelage in Arizona, Budda Baker has been the only NFL safety named to the Pro Bowl each of the last four seasons. In 15 games in 2022, Baker ranked seventh among defensive backs with 111 tackles and added seven passes defended and three takeaways. Robertson also developed S Jalen Thompson, who in 2021 was one of just five NFL players with 100-plus tackles (club-best 120), three-plus interceptions (three) and five-plus passes defended (seven). In 2022, Thompson finished second on the team with 109 stops and added two takeaways and a club-best eight passes defended. CB Byron Murphy Jr., a 2019 second-round pick, posted a career year in 2021 under Robertson, when he was just one of four players in the NFL with four-plus interceptions (four, including one returned for a touchdown) and 12-plus passes defended (12) and had two fumble recoveries in his first nine appearances in 2022, before being sidelined in the second half of the season. In 2022, second-year CB Marco Wilson led the Cardinals with the first three interceptions of his career, one returned for a touchdown and ten passes defended.

Robertson came to Arizona after serving in the same position with the Broncos from 2017-18 on Woods’ defensive staff. He helped the 2018 Broncos tie for fifth in the NFL in interceptions (17) after Denver ranked fourth in the NFL in pass defense (200.6 ypg.) and second in third-down defense (31.5%) in 2017. CB Aqib Talib earned his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl selection in 2017 and CB Chris Harris was selected to his fourth career Pro Bowl in 2018. Saints CB Bradley Roby led the Broncos in 2017 with a career-high 17 passes defended, and Denver's secondary had all ten of the team's interceptions that season.

Robertson spent two seasons (2015-16) as the Raiders' defensive backs coach after working as the assistant defensive backs coach in 2014 on Allen’s coaching staff. During his last two seasons in Oakland, the Raiders ranked eighth in the NFL with 30 interceptions and sixth in the league with 163 passes defended, while Hall of Fame DB Charles Woodson (2015) along with S Reggie Nelson (2016) were each selected to the Pro Bowl. Woodson's five interceptions in 2015 were the most in NFL history by a player in his 18th season or later.

Robertson served as Detroit's secondary coach in 2013 after being promoted from assistant secondary coach in 2012. The Lions finished ninth in the league with 88 passes defended and held opponents to a 59.1 completion percentage in 2013.

He began his coaching career with the Titans as assistant secondary coach for two seasons (2007-08) before being promoted to secondary coach from 2009-11. In 2008, the Titans had three first-time Pro Bowl selections (CB Cortland Finnegan, S Chris Hope, S Michael Griffin), while Tennessee defensive backs had 19 interceptions, second in the NFL. As secondary coach, the Titans ranked second in the NFL in average passing yards per completion (10.6) between 2009-11. In 2009, Tennessee finished eighth in the NFL in interceptions (20), and second in the league with four interceptions returned for touchdowns. Following his playing days, Robertson spent four seasons (2003-06) as the Titans' director of player development before starting his coaching career. He and his staff won the Winston and Shell award in 2006 for their innovation and commitment to player development in the NFL.

Robertson played in the NFL for 12 years with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans (1991-00) and the Seattle Seahawks (2001-02) after entering the league with Houston as a fourth-round selection (102nd overall) in the 1991 NFL Draft out of Iowa State. Robertson was a first-team All-Pro at free safety in 1993 and 1997. He finished his career by appearing in 162 games (144 starts), collecting 24 interceptions, 72 passes defended, 11 fumble recoveries, nine forced fumbles, and 795 tackles (638 solo).

During his four seasons at Iowa State as a cornerback, Robertson totaled 257 tackles, six interceptions, and nine forced fumbles. He was inducted into the Iowa State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. Robertson earned a bachelor's degree in Management and Organizational Development from Bethel University in 2012.

Barone has 34 years of coaching experience, his first 17 at the collegiate level and his last 17 in the NFL. New Orleans will be the sixth NFL stop for Barone, having most recently served as tight ends coach for the Chicago Bears from 2020-21. Prior to his Bears tenure, Barone has coached either tight ends or offensive line with the Falcons (2004-06), Chargers (2007-08), Broncos (2009-16), and Vikings (2017-18). As a tight ends coach, Barone has had four players voted to the Pro Bowl with four different teams: the Falcons’ Alge Crumpler, the Chargers’ Antonio Gates, the Broncos’ Julius Thomas, and the Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph.

In his two seasons in Chicago, Barone oversaw high-level performances from veterans, as well as developing younger players. In 2021, Cole Kmet posted a career-high 60 receptions for a career-best 612 yards in his second season. In 2020, the Bears returned to the postseason after a one-year absence as Jimmy Graham led the team with eight touchdown catches, the second-most among NFC tight ends and his most since 2017-on 50 receptions, adding one more scoring grab in the playoffs.

Prior to Chicago, Barone served as the tight ends coach (2017) and co-offensive line coach with the Vikings. His tight ends were a valuable part of the club’s 13-3 season in 2017, where Minnesota advanced to the NFC Championship, as Rudolph was selected to the Pro Bowl when he recorded 57 receptions for 532 yards with eight touchdowns.

Prior to his time in Minnesota, Barone spent eight seasons in Denver coaching tight ends (2009, 2011-14) and offensive line (2010, 2015-16). The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 and played in Super Bowl XLVIII against Seattle during his tenure. Thomas was selected to back-to-back Pro Bowls under Barone’s supervision from 2013-14, a period when he ranked second in the NFL in touchdown receptions (24), tying for the league lead in 2014 (12).

From 2007-08, Barone coached tight ends for San Diego, as the Chargers captured back-to-back AFC West titles and Gates was selected to the Pro Bowl each season. During Barone’s two seasons in San Diego, Gates was tied for the league lead among tight ends in touchdown receptions (17) and was ranked in the top four in receptions (135-fourth) and receiving yards (1,688-third).

In 2004, Barone got the call for his first NFL coaching position as the assistant offensive line coach in Atlanta. The Falcons led the NFL and set franchise records in both yards per rush (5.1) and rushing yards per game (167.0) on their way to an NFC Championship Game berth. The Falcons went 11-5 in the regular season to capture the NFC South title. The 2005 season marked Barone’s first as a tight ends coach at any level when he took on that role for the Falcons. Crumpler was selected to the Pro Bowl both seasons under Barone’s guidance, first posting a career-high 65 receptions for a career-best 877 yards and five touchdowns in 2005. In 2006, Crumpler posted 56 receptions for 780 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns, ranked second among NFL tight ends.

Barone’s coaching career began in the college ranks, serving 17 years coaching offensive lines at seven institutions. Barone spent the final seven years of his collegiate coaching career serving as offensive coordinator from 1997-2003 at the University of Wyoming (1997-99), University of Houston (2000-02), and Texas State (2003). He also served as the offensive line coach at both Wyoming and Houston and was the assistant head coach for his season at Texas State. The San Andreas, Calif. native attended and played on the offensive line first at the University of Nevada and later at Sacramento State University, where he holds a place in the Hornets Athletic Hall of Fame.

Carberry comes to New Orleans after spending the last two seasons as the offensive line coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Under Carberry's guidance, the Rams finished the 2021 regular season tied for sixth in least sacks allowed with 31, as Los Angeles captured Super Bowl LVI. The unit started the same five offensive linemen in 13 of 17 games played. There were two weeks of the regular season where the offensive line unit did not allow a sack and they allowed just one takedown on only seven occasions in 2021.

Carberry's unit also finished seventh-best in QB sack rate (4.9%) and third-best in pressures allowed per dropback (26.8%). In 2021, the Rams' offensive line finished on top of the league rankings in average time to pressure allowed on offense (2.67 seconds) and 14th in average time to throw (2.79 seconds).

Carberry joined the Rams after spending the prior three seasons at Stanford as the run game coordinator/offensive line coach. Despite playing just six games in 2020 compared to 12 in 2019, Stanford saw improvement in rushing touchdowns (15 in 2020 vs. eight in 2019), on third down (48 percent in 2020 vs. 39 percent in 2019), and in red zone offense (touchdowns on 78 percent of attempts in 2020 vs. 47 percent in 2019). The Cardinal offense finished third in the Pac-12 in total offense, averaging 420.0 yards per game. Across Carberry's tenure, the Cardinal offensive line produced three All-Pac-12 selections.

Carberry spent the 2016-17 seasons as the assistant offensive line coach with the Washington Commanders and the 2014-15 seasons as an offensive assistant with the Dallas Cowboys. While with Washington, Carberry and offensive line coach Bill Callahan presided over one of the league's top units, producing two Pro Bowlers (T Trent Williams and G Brandon Scherff) for the first time since 1991. The unit helped power Washington to the third-ranked offense in the NFL, allowing the team to average more than 400 yards per game for the first time in team history and allowing only 23 sacks -- fourth in the NFL.

The tutelage and guidance of Carberry and Callahan were paramount in helping the Washington offense overcome a season-long rash of injuries and still average nearly 325 yards/game in 2017. Washington used 36 unique groups of offensive linemen (including seven different combinations of six-lineman groupings), as well as eight different starting lineups along the line. Scherff earned his second Pro Bowl selection and Williams earned his sixth consecutive nod despite battling a knee injury. Together, Scherff and Williams became the first Washington offensive line duo collectively named to the Pro Bowl in consecutive seasons since the 1983-86 seasons.

In Dallas, Carberry assisted Mike Pope in coaching the tight ends in 2015, when Jason Witten led the team with 77 receptions and finished second with 713 receiving yards. The Cowboys finished fifth in the NFL in rushing yards/attempt (4.6). In 2014, Carberry assisted Callahan with the Dallas line. The Cowboys won their first NFC East title since 2009 and finished second in the NFL in rushing (147.1) with running back DeMarco Murray leading the league in rushing and setting a franchise record with 1,845 yards.

Carberry spent the first five seasons of his coaching career at the collegiate level, serving as a defensive graduate assistant at Kansas (2009-11) and coaching defensive ends at Stephen F. Austin (2012-13). He helped the Lumberjacks defense lead the Southland Conference with 31.0 sacks in 2012 and he also assisted with special teams. At Kansas, he coached with the defensive line and outside linebackers.

Prior to entering the coaching ranks, Carberry competed in training camps of the Cleveland Browns (2005) and Carolina Panthers (2006) and spent the 2005 season on the Detroit Lions practice squad. He also played for the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe in the spring of 2006. From 2007-08, he played in the Arena Football League for the New York Dragons and Philadelphia Soul and was a member of the Soul's 2008 Arena Bowl Championship squad.

Carberry also coached during his playing career, serving as the defensive coordinator, defensive line, and inside linebackers coach at St. Ignatius College Prep (Ill.), during his AFL years in 2007-08. In 2006, he was a varsity assistant for Illinois state champion St. Rita High School in Chicago, his alma mater.

Carberry, a four-year letterman at Ohio, earned All-MAC honors as senior team captain. The defensive lineman graduated from Ohio in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in marketing and earned his master's in sports administration from Kansas in 2010.
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