Well, this would be...interesting.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, new Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson already has a candidate in mind to be the team's defensive coordinator: Ray Horton. (Side note: as long as we move on from Jim O'Neil, that's all that matters, right?)
Browns HC Hue Jackson targeting Tennessee's Ray Horton as his DC, but uncertain whether Titans will grant permission to leave, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 14, 2016
Horton was with the Browns during the 2013 season, as he and then-offensive coordinator Norv Turner were paired with one-year-head-coach Rob Chudzinski under the Jimmy Haslam regime. Horton had a tremendous reputation coming over from the Arizona Cardinals, but drew mixed reviews from fans.
In terms of total yards, the Browns were pretty damn good in 2013, ranking 9th in the NFL on defense, including 18th against the run and 9th against the pass. If you don't remember why fans were sour on him, it was because of the team's atrocious third-down defense and their performance in the red zone. Cleveland ranked 31st on third down that year and 29th in the red zone, and Horton never had an answer for it. The club also suffered a couple of late-game collapses due to their defense.
Horton has been the Titans' defensive coordinator for the past two years. Tennessee's defense was not very good in 2014, but they actually made great strides in 2015, ranking 12th in the NFL in total defense, 18th against the run, and 7th against the pass. On third downs, the Titans ranked 25th, and in the red zone, they ranked 26th. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? The team also brought Dick LeBeau in this past season to help the defense.
It's unclear if the Titans will let Horton out of his contract, though. Tennessee's head coaching situation is still up-in-the-air, but if they retain interim coach Mike Mularkey as their permanent head coach, it would seem unlikely that Horton would get the boot.
What do you think, Browns fans? Are you interested in seeing Horton return to Cleveland with his 3-4, "attacking" style of defense?