Thearon W. Henderson
Browns' DC Ray Horton said his defense in Cleveland won't be a hybrid "unless you're playing golf." He might want to talk to his head coach about that.
Since the hiring of head coach Rob Chudzinski and his introductory press conference, he, Banner and Haslam had all put an emphasis on an "attacking, aggressive" defense, but until recently withheld any further specification on the scheme. This led to some speculation that the Browns might run some sort of hybrid, using a combination of the 4-3, 3-4 and nickel packages.
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton put an end to that "hybrid" idea, as he opened up on sports talk radio in Arizona. Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer reported on one of his radio interviews:
"It'll be a 3-4 defense, the same defense we ran (in Arizona)," Horton told 910 AM in Arizona. "It won't be a hybrid unless you're playing golf."
He also said his scheme will mirror that of the Steelers, where he worked from 2004-10 under defensive genius Dick LeBeau, who runs an attack-minded 3-4.
Although, as Cabot points out, Chudzinski just said Thursday that the Browns will run "more of a hybrid," with both the 3-4 and 4-3.
So, which is it?
While it's safe to assume the head coach has far more final authority than the defensive coordinator, Horton's comments on the matter appear strong. Chudzinski's also an offensive coach and may relegate these vital defensive decisions to Horton.
This could be a case where they simply haven't hammered it out yet, perhaps at least not what they're revealing to the media. Horton is well-known for being very upfront, as opposed to what has been seen and heard from the Browns' new front office thus far.
You can expect to find out more details in Horton's press conference this Tuesday, Jan. 29.
"Unequivocally," Horton told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo Thursday when asked if he could have brought Turner in as part of his staff.
Horton said he spoke with Turner all throughout the process of the coaching search, and he was looking forward to coming to Arizona.
"Yes, and his wife Nancy wanted to come here," Horton said.
That might have been why it took until the Cardinals hired Bruce Arians as their head coach on Jan. 17 for the Browns to finally land Turner the same day, but whom had been widely speculated as the leading candidate for Cleveland since Chudzinski's hire a week prior.
Browns fans new to Horton should listen to the entire interview, which you can do here, to get a better sense of his personality, confidence and honesty.