The Cleveland Browns announced on Friday that former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton is now their new defensive coordinator. Horton will replace Dick Jauron, who was not retained by the Browns after Rob Chudzinski was named their new head coach earlier this week.
Horton was let go by the Cardinals after reportedly being upset that the organization passed him over for their open head coaching job that eventually went to Bruce Arians on Thursday. Horton had reportedly interviewed twice for position .
Prior to taking the job with the Cardinals in 2011, Horton spent seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers as their defensive backs/assistant defensive backs coach. His arrival in Cleveland now means that he will be tasked with stopping the Steelers offense twice a season.
Horton of course learned from one of the best defensive minds in the game in the form of Dick LeBeau during his time in Pittsburgh, and it just so happens that the two played golf together on Friday. Horton reportedly told LeBeau during the outing, “we\’re going to have some really good battles.\’\’
Per the Browns press release on the hiring of Horton, the Cardinals 2012 defense led the league in passer rating allowed (71.2) and interception percentage (4.4%). They also ranked second in the league in interceptions (22) and third-down efficiency (32.9%), third in red zone defense (44.4%) and fourth in takeaways (33). The defense also ranked fifth in passing defense (200.8 ypg), first downs allowed (288) and points allowed per drive (1.42).
The hiring of Horton by the Browns is a good one and he certainly has great talent to work with in the Cleveland secondary in the form of cornerback Joe Haden and safety T.J. Ward.
While Horton did not indicate what type of defense he will run in Cleveland, it will most likely be the 3-4 that he has become very accustomed to over the years.
“I\’m a coach of men, whether it\’s a 3-4, 4-3, 5-2,\’\’ Horton said following his hiring.
In addition to hiring Horton on Thursday, the Browns also named NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi as their new vice president of player personnel. Lombardi worked with Bill Belichick in Cleveland during the \’90s.