Woods could be another rising star on coaching staff
Not many average fans have heard much about him, but Vikings defensive backs coach Joe Woods could very well follow in the footsteps of one of his mentors, Mike Tomlin.
It was Tomlin who brought Woods to the Vikings when head coach Brad Childress made Tomlin his first hire as defensive coordinator when he took the Vikings job.
After 12 years in the college ranks, he was hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a defensive quality control assistant, where he worked closely with Monte Kiffin, one of the original gurus of the Tampa-2 defense.
When the Vikings hired Tomlin a year ago, Kiffin couldn’t have spoken more highly of the young coach who is now the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach after just one season with the Vikings as their defensive coordinator.
At the time, in regard to Tomlin, Kiffin told VU: “You just knew that eventually he would be a defensive coordinator and he’ll have an opportunity to be a head coach some day. He’s a great teacher, a great motivator. He has very good people skills. He’s just an exceptional coach. He’s got the whole thing.”
But Kiffin also raved about the upside potential of Woods. “You got another good coach, a secondary coach by the name of Joe Woods, who’s going to be outstanding,” Kiffin said. “He was our quality control coach. He worked with me really close the last two years. He was so good that Mike took him as his secondary coach.”
On the field, Woods shows perhaps the most energy of any of the team’s coaches. He has a lot of bounce in his step and exudes enthusiasm, confidence and intensity. The players seem to really respond to him and it would appear that he gets the very most out of his entire group of players.
The rapid development of Cedric Griffin as a rookie last season is one example of the influence Woods has on his players. The shining star from this year’s rookie crop is third-round pick Marcus McCauley, who has looked like a first-round pick from the very outset.
It helps to have some talent, and the team’s personnel department has given Woods plenty of talent to work with, but he has done a really nice job of teaching the fundamentals and building the confidence of his players so that their natural athletic ability can simply take over.
That said, don’t be surprised if Woods is eventually pursued to become a defensive coordinator in the not-to-distant future.
Wade looks like a fit at the “Z” catch-and-run position
Free agent acquisition Bobby Wade looks like a nice fit for the Vikings offense based on training camp practices and his early preseason action. In practices, Wade has consistently navigated his pass routes effectively and has rarely dropped a ball, with only an occasional look down the field. While technically a starter, the key role for Wade is as the slot receiver in three-wide receiver sets.
“That's what you need out of that position,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “He is playing the "Z" position for us and that is a catch and run position.”
The coaches have also been impressed with Wade’s leadership and other intangibles.
“The first thing you have to point to is his leadership,” according to Bevell. “He has great work ethic and great leadership with the young guys. He's played, guys know that he's played; he's done a nice job when he has been in there so they already respect him as a player. He was able to come in here quickly and kind of take over that leadership role, which was lacking at the position and he was able to help out right away.”
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