CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Browns made another announcement Friday as they have officially named Ray Horton the defensive coordinator. Horton replaces Dick Jauron, a fan favorite who has developed the Browns unit over the past two seasons.
Horton, the former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator, comes to Cleveland after leading the Cardinals defense to a statistically successful season in Arizona, despite an awful team record of 5-11, including a 58-0 shutout loss to the Seattle Seahawks on December 9. In 2012 alone, the Cardinal defense ranked 5th in passing yards against and 12th in total yards against.
Browns cornerback Joe Haden reacted to the news by tweeting, “Ray Horton is the man!!!”
It will be interesting to see what style of play Horton infuses in the young Browns squad. In Arizona, Horton ran an aggressive 3-4 style defense that relied on the talent and abilities of the secondary to shut down opponents’ passing games long enough for the rushing linemen and linebackers to get to the quarterback.
However, this Browns defense was built to run the 4-3 scheme for which former GM Tom Heckert stockpiled talent. There will be questions for players like Phil Taylor, Jabaal Sheard and D’Qwell Jackson to see if they can adjust to a new system.
One question no one is asking is whether Horton will fit in the physical AFC North. Prior to working for the Cardinals, Horton spent seven seasons working with defensive backs for the Pittsburgh Steelers where he was especially involved with the development of All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu.
Overall, Horton has 19 years of NFL coaching experience with Washington, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Arizona.