CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Joe Woods has teeth. He smiled several times Tuesday.
He can be forgiven when examining his path to become the Broncos' defensive coordinator. After playing defensive back at Illinois State, Woods began his coaching career in 1992 at Division III Muskingum College in Ohio. He made less than $100 a week while staying in the dorm and helping prepare the field.
"Eventually I became a graduate assistant, and I just kept my head down. All of a sudden 26 years later, I am here," Woods told Denver7. "Was it tough? Absolutely. Was money tight? Absolutely. But it all worked out."
Woods, 46, leaves his post as air traffic controller of the No Fly Zone secondary to the boss of the defense. He will keep the 3-4 base. Improving against the run remains a top priority.
"We will fix it," Woods said.
Woods feels prepared to lead the group. Former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips gave his coaches freedom. Woods has addressed the entire defense multiple times over the past two seasons. Denver's 9-7 playoff-free year came with disappointment and disruptions. Cornerback Aqib Talib was involved in two incidents -- one with punt returner Jordan Norwood and another with left tackle Russell Okung -- that hinted of a team divided.
"I really don’t believe there was a rift or that there was a fracture in the locker room. We have a lot of competitive guys who find ways to hold each other accountable. They have done that my first two years here," Woods said. "The main thing we have to do is handle our business. Our job is to get the ball back for our offense, and that's what we plan to do."
Working in Woods' favor is the resume of coach Vance Joseph. Joseph can provide guidance having gone through the transition from secondary coach to coordinator in Miami.
"I can definitely help him with certain instances that I didn't see coming last year," Joseph said. "Again, it's a passing league, and having a coordinator with a secondary mindset, to me, is the way to go."