This much I know, the Cleveland Browns have some very good players on defense that can lead to a really good defensive unit. D’Qwell Jackson, Joe Hayden, Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard are among them, so new defensive coordinator Ray Horton has some of the pieces he needs to implement a strong defense.
In hiring Horton to run their defense, the Browns made a very wise choice.
Ray Horton studied under Dick LeBeau and coached with him for the Pittsburgh Steelers for seven years, so maybe new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam had a little something to do with bringing him in. Horton, who was the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, brings an aggressive style of defense, which he described today.
“I don’t really care what we are on defense; I care about what we look like,” Horton said. “I want to look like an aggressive, forward, attacking defense that has big men that can run and little men that can hit. I’ve seen that on tape, and that’s the most important thing to me.”
That means the Browns will be switching from a base 4-3 defense into more of a hybrid 3-4 defense in which the defense will be more aggressive in rushing the passer. The switch also means a new position for D’Qwell Jackson but it shouldn’t be a problem for a player with his skill set. Horton also stresses the importance of turnovers and his Cardinals defense finished fourth in the NFL in takeaways with 33 last season.
Horton was a great choice for defensive coordinator in Cleveland and head coach Rob Chudzinski has put together an impressive staff that has one thing in common on both sides of the ball, aggression. The Browns are making moves to leave the AFC North basement, and Horton will be a part of that climb.
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