Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Woods was fond of the 49ers’ DBs before joining the team, says Richard Sherman won’t stop texting him

May 30, 2019 at 1:17 PM--

Kyle Shanahan added Joe Woods to his coaching staff in January. The longtime defensive backs coach will resume that role with the San Francisco 49ers after a two-year stint as the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator.

Woods didn't jump in with the 49ers entirely blind for what he had on the roster. He was already very familiar with some of the names among the defensive backs. He believes the group is comprised of "outstanding talent."

"Obviously, the injury history is there, but as a coach, you can't think that way," Woods told reporters on Wednesday.

Woods said he remembers evaluating safety Jaquiski Tartt coming out of college. Woods was in his first year as the Broncos' defensive backs coach at the time.

"I thought he was talented," Woods said of Tartt. "I said, 'Man, I wish we could draft that guy.'"

He had similar thoughts about defensive back Jimmie Ward, who entered the NFL when Woods was part of the Oakland Raiders' coaching staff.

Then there is safety Adrian Colbert, who Woods dubbed as his potential late-round steal.

"I remember when they drafted him here, I called them because I knew a couple of guys (with the team)," Woods shared. "I said, 'Man, you got my guy.'"

Another familiar name is cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon who played college football at Colorado while Woods was in Denver.

"Just the guys that I really wanted to coach, I was interested in, they're all here in the room," Woods added. "So it's on me as a coach to get these guys ready, and I'm up for the challenge."

Then you have veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who won't stop texting Woods. It's not the brown-nosing texts that he sometimes receives from other players but legitimate requests for constant evaluation. The messages are just one example of how Sherman has impressed his new position coach.

"He texts me every day after practice," Woods said. "'Coach, how did I do? What do I need to work on?' Every day. So, I get the text, I go through my notes and say, 'Hey, you did this well. Hey, you can improve on this.'

"He's very prideful, and when he gets on the practice field, him giving up a play means something to him. So, every day to him is game-like."

The interaction with Sherman may even be making Woods a better coach. The constant texts mean Woods has to make sure to evaluate and take notes on every practice rep because he knows he's going to get questions from his veteran cornerback.

Fans should see an improved Sherman in 2019. He is two offseasons removed from his Achilles injury and despite playing well through 14 starts last year, was bothered most of the season by a calf injury and the sutures in place as part of his Achilles surgery.

During his film review, Woods said he could see Sherman limping and dragging his leg while trying to cover some of the best athletes in the world and still holding his own.

"He feels better now because he is healthier," Woods said. "He knew last year he wasn't, and you can obviously see that on tape. I feel like he'll be more the Richard Sherman that you guys are used to seeing this season."

You can watch Woods' media session below, courtesy of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Grant Cohn.

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