The Browns have named Ray Horton their defensive coordinator, the team announced this evening.
Horton spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals and employed a 3-4 system. Horton, 52, replaces Dick Jauron, who guided the Browns’ 4-3 defense the past two seasons.
“We are truly excited that we were able to get someone of Ray’s caliber as our defensive coordinator,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a statement. “He possesses a great deal of experience as a player, position coach and coordinator in the NFL and has been part of some of the top defenses in the league throughout his career. He is an extremely talented coach, and I know that he will work very well with the young nucleus of players we have on defense.”
Horton interviewed with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner for the Browns’ head-coaching position on Jan. 1 in Arizona. Chudzinski was chosen for the job on Jan. 10. Horton also interviewed with the Cardinals, but they hired Bruce Arians instead.
In Horton’s two seasons with the Cardinals, the defense ranked 12th (337.8 yards allowed per game) in 2012 and tied for 18th (355.1) in 2011.
Haslam bought a minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008, so he should be familiar with Horton, who was a defensive backs coach for the Steelers from 2004-10. The Steelers used a 3-4 scheme and finished with a top-10 defense in each of Horton’s seven seasons with the team.
Horton played defensive back in the NFL from 1983-92. The Cincinnati Bengals selected him in the second round (53rd overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys, winning Super Bowl XXVII in the final game of his career.
So with Horton aboard, Chudzinski’s coaching staff is taking form. The Browns named former San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner their offensive coordinator on Thursday.
“As we’ve said before, an important factor in hiring Rob was our confidence in him being able to put together a top-quality staff,” Banner said in a statement. “He has assembled an extremely impressive group of coaches, and that will be very beneficial as we develop our players.”
The Browns still have openings for the following position coaches: quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs. They also have vacancies for quality control and senior assistant positions.