As expected, defensive coordinator Ray Horton is leaving the Browns to take the same job with the Tennessee Titans.
Horton has accepted an offer from the Titans, according to multiple reports. Cleveland.com first reported the news this morning.
Horton’s departure was foreshadowed when the Browns fired coach Rob Chudzinski on Dec. 29 after he went 4-12 during his first season on the job. The Browns have yet to hire a new head coach.
Horton, 53, will reunite with new Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt. Horton was Whisenhunt’s defensive coordinator when the two spent the 2011-12 seasons together with the Arizona Cardinals.
Under Horton’s guidance, the Browns switched from a 4-3 system to a 3-4 scheme. They finished the 2013 regular season with the NFL’s ninth-ranked defense (332.4 yards allowed per game).
But the defense tied for 29th in the red zone (allowing touchdowns 64 percent of the time) and ranked 31st on third down (allowing opponents to convert 44.7 percent of the time). Horton's men also struggled mightily at the end of the second and fourth quarters, blowing several leads.
“I’m really disappointed that I didn’t do a better job of helping our team win more games,” Horton said Dec. 26 during his final news conference as a member of the Browns. “You look back at the season and right now, sitting here today, eight wins would get you into the playoffs.
“I’m disappointed that I didn’t get our guys, my guys, better equipped to finish whether it’s the fourth quarter or however that comes out because we didn’t finish, and that falls on my shoulders.”
Horton interviewed for the Minnesota Vikings’ head-coaching gig last week before losing out to Mike Zimmer. Last year, he interviewed with the Browns and Cardinals for head-coaching jobs before settling for the defensive coordinator job in Cleveland.
Like Horton, Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner is on his way out the door. On Thursday, Turner told the St. Paul Pioneer Press he expects to become the new offensive coordinator of the Vikings.
“I think there’s a good chance it’s going to happen,” Turner said.