BEREA—Rob Chudzinski and new Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton cleared up the misconception that they weren’t on the same page immediately in Horton’s introductory press conference.
“I use the word multiple fronts,” Horton said. “Coach Rob uses the word hybrid. Our guys can play multiple sets. We are going to be a team that looks at an offense and take away what they do best. It will be predicated by what the offense does best.”
Horton was interviewed on an Arizona radio station last week after he was hired by the Browns and he appeared to contradict Chudzinski’s claim that the Browns would run more of a hybrid defense than just a 3-4.
“In what he said it was more semantics,” Chudzinski said. “He calls it multi fronts. When we talked, we’re exactly on the same page there are multiple 3-4 systems. It is more of just tagging it. My term from the offensive side is that I’ve always called it hybrid.”
Chudzinski re-iterated in his time as offensive coordinator the defenses that have presented the biggest challenge to him are those that change up their looks constantly.
“From an offensive standpoint, the 3-4 presents the most challenges and the flexibility of the blitz packages that they bring,” Chudzinski said. “I’ve used the word hybrid to describe that style of defense in moving away from the 3-4 bases defense. As I’ve looked at Ray and studied Ray and what he’s done at Arizona, it fits perfectly with what I envision him running.”
Horton said he doesn’t really care what you call his defense, it’s about what each offense the Browns will go up against.
“What are we?,” Horton said. “I don’t really care what we are on defense. We want to be an aggressive, attacking defense. It’s what do we look like? We might be a 3-4 on one snap a 4-3 on another snap. We want to be an attacking, aggressive defense.”
Horton said he’s looked at the Browns roster and it has the two main ingredients on defense that he’s looking for.
“I looked at both sides,” Horton said. “We have big men that can run and little men that can hit. If you give me those two things, we’ll be a good defense.”
Horton said he likes the flexibility to play the type of defense that attacks each opponent’s weakness.
“I’m really predicated by what offense we’re playing,” Horton said. “It’s about putting the players in position to what they do best. Sometimes, it’s the 4-3, sometimes the 4-4 or 3-4. I think the players tell you what they do best.”
Horton was with Steelers as defensive backs coach under Dick Labeau from 2004-10. He was the Cardinals defensive coordinator the last two years and interviewed to be the Browns head coach, as well as the Cardinals head coach.
Horton was pressed a bit on the personnel and he made it very clear he feels the Browns have the type of players he’s looking for.
“It’s a combination of big men that can run and then you see the little guys, who you know can run, but they can hit,” he said. “We have a chance to be very successful defense.”
Chudzinski says he feels that Horton will bring a defense that will present challenges to the weekly opponent.
“I mentioned the word innovative because from one snap to another his pressure packages are outstanding and he’s bringing guys from all over the place,” he said. ”But he’s sound in his approach. He’s sound in tying the coverage with blitz packages.”
Horton was asked if there are any concerns that the Browns personnel might be more suited for a 4-3 alignment and there might be a longer transition time.
“I don’t believe we have any trepidation on what has happened in the past,” Horton said. “We are building a Cleveland Browns defense.
“Hopefully, the biggest transition will be the terminology,” he said. “All I’m asking the players to do is trust us is to put them in the best position to play football.”
“On what I’ve seen on film, I see big men that can run and little guys that can hit,” he said. “I don’t see a drop off in effort from the first game against Philadelphia to the end of the season.”
Chudzinski said he feels that if a player is a good football player he will be a good football player, regardless of the scheme.
“There’s always a period of adjustment when a change is made. Chudzinski said. “As we get more deeply into the roster, if you’re a good football player, you’re a good football player. I don’t think the scheme is so different you can’t use good football players.”
Other questions that came up in the session:
Q: Do you think Jabaal Sheard fits in the 3-4 scheme?:
Horton: “Let’s not put limits on what guys can do and can’t do. Jabaal is a guy who can run and can play.”
Q: Did it bother you that Horton said in interviews that he could’ve delivered Norv Turner as head coach if he was hired?:
Chudzinski: “No, because everyone wanted Norv. I feel fortunate we got Norv.”
Q: How disappointed are you that you didn’t get a head coaching job?:
Horton:“I had hoped that but you can only control what you can control. It’s really a reflection about how your men perform for you. Am I disappointed yes? but am I excited to be here. It was a great learning experience for me. It’s important to go through the process because it gives you an opportunity.”
Q: Are you concerned that Horton might not be here long if he’s successful?:
Chudzinski:“I feel like as a head coach you want to bring in the best people. If you bring in the best people they’re going to have opportunities down the road.”
Q: Thoughts on T.J. Ward:
Horton: “What I see in T.J. is a player that is dynamic in the run game. He’s a smart guy and he’s a little man a smaller man that will hit. I’m excited about working with him. It’s limitless what we can do with players that can run and can hit.”
Q: Thoughts on Billy Winn?:
Horton: “Guys like Billy are so athletic and I have great flexibility because we have big guys that can run.”
Q: Any update on Chris Gocong’s progress from his torn Achilles?:
Chudzinski: “I think he’s progressing and should be ready for training camp.”