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Ray Horton Says Browns Will Run Multiple Fronts, Bring Plenty of Blitzes

Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton had his introductory press conference Tuesday morning, accompanied by head coach Rob Chudzinski. Horton was firing on all cylinders when it came to describing some of the things he has in store for the Browns' defense and the personnel currently in place. Here are a few highlights from Horton's press conference:

  • Multiple Fronts Confirmed: Horton said that he doesn't want the Browns to be "pigeon-holed" into running just the 3-4 defense. He emphasized that they will run a multi-front system, which could alternate from a 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, or a 4-4 on any given snap.
    "We may be a 3-4 on one snap. We may be a 4-3 on another snap. I guarantee you we’ll be a 5-2 sometimes, and we’ll be a 4-4 sometimes. We are a multi-front, attacking defense, and that’s the most important thing, not what player lines up where, how he stands, what stance he’s in."
    In terms of the transition, Horton doesn't think it'll be a problem. "I would hope biggest transition is terminology," stated Horton. "You've played football before. Trust us to put them in great positions."
  • Attacking and Blitzing: It's clear that Horton envisions the Browns' defense being aggressive, as he continued the notion of referring to it as an "aggressive, forward attacking defense" defense that plans to blitz a lot. "We are gonna be a defense that gives offenses problems," said Horton. "We will take away what the offense does best." He discussed bringing corner blitzes and dropping big guys back into coverage.
  • Having the Right Personnel in Place: There will always be roster turnover from year-to-year, but Horton feels he has a lot of the pieces he needs on defense already. "I love this team," said Horton. "I love the way it's constituted right now."

    Horton said he sees "big men who can run and little men who can hit" on the roster and wants to utilize players to their strengths. He doesn't want to limit what the defensive linemen can do; regarding Jabaal Sheard, Horton said, "I want him to tell me what he can do best and not put a label on what it is." Horton was very complimentary of T.J. Ward, referring to him as a player who can both run and hit very well. Per the ABJ, Horton said that, "big, athletic guys like Billy Winn gives him flexibility to move guys around."
  • Other Notes: When asked if he was concerned about the lack of minority head coaching hirings in the NFL this season, Horton said, "I wasn't disappointed for minorities, I was disappointed for Ray Horton." Head coach Rob Chudzinski wasn't thinking ahead to the possibility of losing Horton to a head coaching position next year. Horton also confirmed that Daron Roberts would be the team's defensive quality control coach, and that one more assistant -- probably a linebackers coach -- will be hired.