New Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton made a definitive statement Thursday during an interview with Arizona radio station XTRA Sports 910-AM.
Horton said he will run a 3-4 defense in Cleveland.
“It won’t be a hybrid, not unless we’re playing golf,” said Horton, who served as the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator the past two seasons. “It’ll be a 3-4. It’ll be the same defense we ran here [in Arizona].”
The Browns used a 4-3 scheme the past two seasons under defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. But Horton said the Browns’ new defensive system will mirror that of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who he spent seven seasons with as a defensive backs coach.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski reiterated Thursday night during the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards that his team will use 3-4 and 4-3 alignments.
“We’re going to do both,” Chudzinski said. “We’re going to have packages where we do both of those.”
However, four-man fronts might be seldom used by the Browns.
After all, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam also said Thursday night he expects Horton to bring a 3-4 scheme to Cleveland. Haslam bought a minority stake in the Steelers in 2008, so he’s familiar with Horton and the type of defense he wants to run.
“Of course, we knew him from the Steelers and when we interviewed him for this job, [he was] fired up, intense,” Haslam said. “I think he’ll relate extremely well to players. I think the players will like him. Probably we’ll switch to the 3-4 defense. I think it’ll be an attacking defense.
“I think he told me in Phoenix with the Arizona Cardinals that he blitzed more than anybody in the league except for the Houston Texans. So I think it’ll be exciting and fun to watch. He’s really excited about the players we have here. We need to add one or two to really round out the team. But I think you’ll like him as a person and like him as a coach.”
Horton is expected to meet with the media Tuesday at the Browns’ headquarters in Berea, Haslam said.