Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton met with the media following the conclusion of the team's first set of organized team activity sessions on Thursday. I have organized the transcript of what he said by topic below:
If It's Tough to Figure Out New Personnel For His Scheme
(On if it’s hard to know what he has on defense since everything is just coming together)- "It may not be hard, but it’s fun. It’s exciting. The guys are working very, very hard and that’s the most important thing – that they are applying what they are learning. They are doing a great job. They are being diligent in the workouts, not only on the field but also in the class room."
(On what the biggest adjustment is for the players switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3)- "It’s a totally different defense so there is a lot of adjustments – terminology, drops, the way I call games, the way I ask them to learn the defense. Right now I am just asking them to trust me and trust the defense and they are doing that. We are pleased with where we are at day three of OTAs."
(On how important the tempo of practice is for an aggressive defense)- "The first thing you need to do is know what to do. The tempo of everything, sometimes we slow it down, sometimes we speed it up. To me, you’ve got to know what to do before you can do something fast."
Utilizing OLB Barkevious Mingo, and His Skills
(On how long it will take for Barkevious Mingo to get into the flow and take a bunch of snaps)- "I don’t know. We are not putting a timetable on anybody. All we are really doing right now in these OTAs is trying to install the defense and trying to get our guys to understand our system and play hard. We aren’t putting a timetable on anybody. We are just trying to get better."
(On what he saw from Mingo prior to the draft and what we has seen since he has been here)- "Before, obviously it was all on tape and it was an explosive player. He is a young man that played with his hand in the ground at LSU and now we are asking him to stand up and do different things. He’s got a learning curve and we don’t want to rush him. We don’t want to say this is what we expect day one or day two. We want it to be a growing process. This is not a simple defense. It’s a complicated defense. He’s got a learning curve and we want to make sure that he learns it."
(On Mingo’s weight and what type of player they want him to be)- "I want him to be a dominating player. Weight? Some guys are too big, some guys are too small. Some guys aren’t fast enough, some guys aren’t slow enough, but they learn how to play. We want athletic players. He is an athletic football player and that’s what we want him to be."
Jabaal Sheard's Transition to OLB
(On Jabaal Sheard’s transition to linebacker)- "He’s been doing great. We ask him to do different things. If you would have asked me what I am most excited and happy about is the way the guys have come in and trusted and applied themselves. We’ve had almost 100 percent participation. The guys are attentive and they are doing what we ask them to do. The participation and the trust factor right now has been fantastic."
"Jackpot" Defensive Acquisitions, and Paul Kruger
(On if he feels he has hit the jackpot with the all of the defensive acquisitions)- "I bought a Powerball ticket last night, I didn’t check it yet (joking). I am very pleased with how Mr. (Joe) Banner, Mr. (Jimmy) Haslam and how coach (Rob) Chud (Chudzinski) have stockpiled the defense. We have got a lot of talent and we are going to try to figure out who fits where best for the Cleveland Browns to play very good defense. Everywhere I go I hear about the Dawg Pound. I meet people and they are in the Dawg Pound third row or this or that and they are excited. We are excited to put a good product on the field that the Cleveland fans will love and be excited about."
(On how much different his defense is than other 3-4 defenses and how much of a change it will be for Paul Kruger)- "In the old days in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and the Jets, we would steal from each other. Rex Ryan, Dick LeBeau and I think you do. You evaluate people and what works best. I think on offense it’s the college read right now with those Washington, Seattle and San Francisco quarterbacks. I think you take a little bit from successful teams and I think that’s what we are trying to do here. Obviously, he (Kruger) stood up so things were simpler for him. He has been in the type of system before so there is a transition or learning curve for him as well, but it’s a little different than it is for a rookie that had his hand in the ground."
Discussing Members of the Secondary
(On the secondary)- "It’s a lot of young men competing for jobs. You hope I think in every situation in every NFL city, is that you get competition at positions. I think that’s what we have. We are going to let it settle, however it does, with guys busting their butt, learning the defense and committing to the Cleveland Browns. That is what they are doing right now."
(On Tashaun Gipson)- "It’s the same thing. He’s come in and he’s taken reps. He is learning the system and he is playing well. He had a nice interception today, showed athleticism. That’s the kind of thing I am talking about. You can name a lot of guys, but you will probably hear the same thing – we have guys that are competing, playing hard and are trying to learn a new system. What we want to do is be a defense that the Cleveland Browns fans can are excited about."
(On T.J. Ward playing closer to the line of scrimmage)- "He’s a dynamic player. He’s another guy that has come in and we’ve asked him to do a different role and has trusted – I keep using that word, trusted – he has trusted us that we are going to put these guys in the right position, whomever they are to play quality winning football."
(On what he saw from Johnson Bademosi in moving him to safety)- "If you guys were here at the press conference, coach Chud was talking about a hybrid defense. That’s part of what we are talking about, moving guys around. Is he a corner? Is he a safety? Is it a 3-4? It’s a 5? It’s athletic men playing. We are trying to let athletic men find a place to play."
(On how Buster Skrine is coming along)- "Buster is competing hard. He is one of those hybrid players that is playing corner, nickel, penny, safety. He’s a dynamic player that can play more than one position. If you can do that in the Cleveland Browns defense it opens up a versatile attack where you can attack from different angles because you have different players on the field."