The Cleveland Browns announced the the hiring of Ray Horton as their new defensive coordinator on Friday.
“I have always watched Ray from afar,” Jackson said. “We have known each other. I have competed against him. I remember my time in Cincinnati competing against him when he was here. The guy is a tremendous football coach. He knows this division. He was raised in this division. He played in this division. He understands what needs to be done to get our defense back to where it needs to be. I wanted somebody that knew the lay of the land and understood the division, understands the culture here and understands the change that we need to make and someone who can lead our young players and develop players to get better.
“His defenses have gone after the quarterback. They have been effective in stopping the run. They had a very good pass defense when he was here. That is what we need to do. We have some of the premier passers in this division when you talk about Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco. We are going to have slow those guys down to have a chance to compete in this division. That is what we expect from our defense.”
“I am really excited to be back,” Horton said. “I love the fans of Cleveland. When I was here last time they really embraced me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met Cleveland fans in different cities. It is a great fan base. I am excited to come back and help Coach Jackson win. We haven’t worked together previously, but I think there has been a mutual respect from across the field. It’s one of those things where you appreciate the challenges from matching up against each other from opposite sides of the field.”
Albert Breer of NFL Media reports that the Browns have finalized deals to make Ray Horton their defensive coordinator and add Pep Hamilton and Kirby Wilson to offensive coaching staff.
Hamilton had been linked to the Browns since they hired Hue Jackson, so this doesn’t come as a complete surprise.
According to Breer, Hamilton will coach the team’s quarterbacks with Wilson working with their running backs.
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Browns are close to hiring Ray Horton as their new defensive coordinator.
The Browns brought in Horton for an interview on Tuesday, despite Horton recently saying that he was discuss an extension with the Titans.
Early indications were that new Browns HC Hue Jackson had interest in hiring Horton, but it appeared as though there was at least a chance he could be back with the Titans.
Tennessee hired Horton a few years ago when they brought in Ken Whisenhunt as their head coach. Last year, the Titans bolstered their defensive coaching staff by hiring long-time Steelers DC Dick LeBeau, who could be a candidate to take over for Horton.
In 2015, Horton’s unit ranked No. 15 in total yards allowed, No. 7 in pass yards allowed, No. 18 in rushing yards allowed, and 27th in points allowed.
We’ll have more regarding Horton and the Browns as the news is available.