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Chudzinski, Horton press conf. transcript - 1/29

Posted Jan 29, 2013

The transcript of coach Rob Chudzinski and defensive coordinator Ray Horton's Tuesday morning press conference.

Browns Head Coach Rob Chudzinski and Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton

Press Conference 1-29-13

Rob Chudzinski

(Opening statement)- “Good morning. Thanks for coming. I want to take this opportunity to introduce Ray Horton as our defensive coordinator. I’m extremely excited that Ray is here. He’s had success as a player, as a coach and obviously, the last two years as a defensive coordinator at Arizona. He’s an outstanding person and coach and comes highly recommended and highly regarded from people that I’ve talked to as I went through my research in finding out about Ray. People have great things to say about him. He’s a very competitive, fiery guy as a coach. He relates very well to the players and is an outstanding teacher and those are all three qualities that will bode well for us here and help us be the best we can be. As I’ve mentioned from the beginning, my vision of the Browns defense and what I want the Browns defensive to be is an attacking style defense where guys are flying around, we’re getting after it, playing fast and playing physical. I want an emphasis on fundamentals, tackling, covering, rushing the passer, playing run defense and that’s extremely important for me as well. I want us to be innovative in our ability to put our guys in position for them to be successful and be able to make plays and do what they do best. Ray’s demonstrated these things as a defensive coordinator and as a defensive coach throughout his career and those are the things that, really, I want to be the Browns defense and define the Browns defense. From an offensive perspective, I’ve always felt that the 3-4 multi-front, multi-look defenses are the toughest ones to play against because of the reasons that they show multiple looks that you have to prepare for, they create confusion in your blocking schemes and then also in the pass game as well. The flexibility that they give in terms of the blitz packages that they can play and then just not knowing, basically, what they’re doing. They really attack the offense and are in position to attack the offense and play that style. I’ve used the word hybrid to describe that as a descriptive term for that style of defense as that defense has become more common in moving away from the traditional 3-4 single front defense. That style of defense, the multi-front attacking defense is the defense that I’ve looked at as the toughest to play against from an offensive perspective and the defense that we want to be here as the Browns defense. As I’ve looked at Ray and studied Ray for what he’s done at Arizona, it fits perfectly and meshes perfectly with the vision that I have for this defense and that’s what this Browns defense will be. Again, I’m extremely excited for Ray to be here. I can’t wait to get started and I’ll introduce Ray now as the new defensive coordinator.”

Ray Horton

(Opening statement)- “Thanks Coach. First off all, I’d like to say I’m excited to be here in Cleveland. I’d like to thank Mr. (Jimmy) Haslam, Mr. (Joe) Banner and Mr. (Michael) Lombardi for the opportunity to come here and be a part of Coach Rob’s (Chudzinski) team. What are we? I don’t really care what we are on defense. I want to know, what are we going to look like? We’re going to look like an aggressive, forward attacking defense that has big men that can run and little men that can hit. I’ve seen that on tape and that’s the most important thing to me is what do we look like, not what we line up in. We may be a 3-4 on one snap. We may be a 4-3 on another snap. I guarantee we’ll be a 5-2 sometimes and we’ll be a 4-4 sometimes. We are a multi-front, attacking defense and that’s the most important thing, not what player lines up where, how he stands, what stance he’s in. Attacking, aggressive defense and I’m excited because I’ve been in the airport here in Cleveland, I’ve been around the city and I’ve met season ticket holders. I met a guy last night in the airport that was flying out. He said, ‘I’m in the Dawg Pound three rows up on the right hand side.’ I’ve met baggage handlers that are saying, ‘Hey, we’re excited to have this group of men here leading the Cleveland Browns team.’ So I’m excited about the fans’ excitement about the Cleveland Browns and what Coach Rob’s going to put together here with a fantastic staff. I just want to take the opportunity to thank the fans out there that have been truly welcoming to me, new into Cleveland and I’m excited to be on Coach Rob’s staff. I’ve coached against him a number of times here in Cleveland, in San Diego, in Carolina and he’s always given me fits with his offense so I’m just glad I don’t have to defense him anymore. With that, I’d like to open it up to any questions you may have.”

Ray Horton

(On what it is like for an old Steeler to wear brown and orange)- “I’ll tell you what, the day I walked in, everybody’s been supportive. I’m excited about the Dawg Pound, about Cleveland, about the fan support, the fan base welcoming a team back and welcoming winners. What we’re trying to do here is just improve every day and the fans’ support is already there. I’m excited to be here on the other side of the field now.”

Ray Horton

(On if he thought he would be a head coach right now after going through the interview process)- “I had hoped that, but you know it’s a process and I didn’t make the saying, but you can only control what you can control. I can’t control that other than myself interviewing well. It’s really, I think a factor and I think Coach Rob can echo this, it’s really a reflection of your men, how they perform on the field for you and that’s really what my resume is. My resume is the players we have on the field and how they perform. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I excited to be here? I’m absolutely excited to be here and I think as you go through that process, it was a great learning experience for me, myself and I think, hopefully, Mr. Haslam and Mr. Banner, they learned something too. It’s important, I think, that you do go through the process because it opens up avenues of the ability to get yourself in front of some owners, some GM’s, some CEO’s that go, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize this person was that.’ And Coach Rob may echo that, but it is important to go through the process and most importantly, to respect the process.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On if he is concerned that this might just be a one-year deal and that Horton may leave to be a head coach next year)- “Not at all. I feel like, as a head coach, you want to bring the best people and if you’re doing a good job of bringing those people, they’re going to have opportunities down the road. I’m excited about Ray being here and bringing what he brings from an expertise standpoint, some of the things I’ve talked about from a defensive style standpoint. We’re building the Browns defense and I would hope that Ray, along with any other coach on the staff, will have opportunities to have their day and rise up the ladder.”

Ray Horton

(On if he combed through the defensive side of the Browns roster before he accepted the job)- “Yeah, I did. Both sides actually. I think you have to be diligent. Yes, I did and what I saw was one of the opening statements. What I saw was big men that can run and little men that will hit and if you give me those two things, we’ll be a good defense.”

Ray Horton

(On what he saw from looking at the Browns defense and if he is excited about what he has)- “I’m very excited. I think you’ll hear this, probably all through spring, it’s a combination of big men that can run. When you watch our defensive line, they get after the quarterback and then they turn and run and make multiple plays downfield. Then you see our little guys, who you know can run, but the thing that impresses you is that they can hit. I’ll say that repeatedly, if you can give me these two things, big men that can run like our guys can and little men that will hit, we have a chance to be a very successful defense.”

Ray Horton

(On how much of an overhaul he has to do to the defense to turn it into a 3-4)- “Going back, I use the word multiple front. Coach Rob uses hybrid. They’re the same term. They’re just different semantics of language. We are going to be a defense that gives offenses problems. Our guys can play a multitude of things. I don’t like to get pigeonholed into, ‘Well, he is this.’ Here’s what we’re going to be. We’re going to be a team that looks at the offense and tries to take away what they do best. Now, that may mean one snap being a 5-2. The next snap it may be a 4-4. It will be predicated by what the offense does and we have athletes that can stand up, that can put their hand in the ground and that can run. That’s why I go back to the multi-front defense. I can’t tell you what we’re going to be right now, it depends on who we line up game one against. What do they do? What do we need to take away? The thing I’m most excited about is I have a group of athletes that can run and hit and they’re not limited to just saying, ‘Coach, line me up in a specific front, number system and play.’ Just run and hit.”

Ray Horton

(On what type of defense Arizona was running before he got there and how much did it change when he arrived)- “They were running a hybrid 3-4, 4-3 and we came in and ran my package of a multiple front attacking so there was a difference. As Coach Rob said, some traditional 3-4’s are what you would call a zero and two fives. They don’t move. We move so again, I think a lot of people would get caught up in semantics of, ‘What are you?’ We’re an attacking, multi-front, multi-coverage defense.”

Ray Horton

(On if he understands why there is so much trepidation about changing the defense scheme because of so many changes here in the past)- “No, I’m not aware of the trepidation because Coach Rob and I are just new here. We’re going to build a Cleveland Brown foundation from the top with Mr. Haslam, Mr. Banner, Mr. Lombardi and Coach Rob. Something that’s going to be very successful here because the fan support is fantastic, the leadership support is fantastic. I don’t believe we have any trepidation about what happened in the past, we’re just looking forward to getting better every day and we’ve got some very good players.”

Ray Horton

(On how long it takes players to get up to speed to play all of the multiple defensive fronts)- “Hopefully not long. I would hope the biggest transition is terminology because if I’m a nose tackle, I’m somewhere in the vicinity of the center. If I’m an end, I’m somewhere in the vicinity of the guard or the tackle. Now, whether you line up on the outside shade, head up or the inside shade, you’ve played football before. All I’m asking my players to do is trust us as a coaching staff that we’ll put them in great positions. So whether you’re a guard, center, tackle on offense or on defense whether you’re on the center, guard or tackle, it’s still football and I keep going back to my point, I’ve got big men that will run, little men that will hit. That’s all I need and it’s still football.”

Ray Horton

(On if his defense will really be a mirror image of Pittsburgh)- “I didn’t say that, I don’t believe. This will be a mirror image of Coach Rob and his wishes, his likes and his desires of having a multi-front, attacking defense. I’m not sure what Pittsburgh is. I know what we will be.”

Ray Horton

(On if he has been influenced by Dick LeBeau)- “Quite a bit. I have a big influence by him. Probably the biggest influence I have from him is how you treat people.”

Ray Horton

(On if Jabaal Sheard can play outside linebacker and drop back into coverage)- “I would hope my answer would be, ‘Let’s not put limits on what players can or cannot do.’ Jabaal is a guy that I’ve seen on film that can rush the quarterback, is athletic so what we’re going to do as a coaching staff is try to put each one of our players in the best position. Now, I don’t want to put limits or expectations on anybody other than I know that they can run and that they’ll hit. So from that form, I’ll go back to my original thing of, I’m really predicated by the offense that we’re playing. What do they do best? What can I do to take it away? He may be a strong safety sometimes, he could be a linebacker or he could be a d-end. I want him to tell me what he can do best and not put a label on what he is.”

(On what he thinks of T.J. Ward)- “What I see in T.J. is a player that’s dynamic in the run game, a player that’s going to get better because he’s a smart player that will hit. He’s one of those, I’ll keep going back to it, little men that will hit and that’s what he is. He’s a smaller man, he’s not a big man, but he’ll hit you. I’m excited to have T.J., to be able to coach him and grow with him and understand what he does best. He’ll tell me what he does best by the way he practices, how he plays and again, it’s limitless what we can do with players that can run and hit.”

(On if the Cardinals’ high interception total last year was because of the players or the because of the defensive scheme)- “It’s a by-product of both. Understanding what the players can do best and putting them in the position. That’s why I go back to, I’ll use Coach Rob’s term, a hybrid of what do you do best? It’s what they do best and sometimes it's a 4-4, sometimes it’s a 3-4, sometimes it’s a 4-3. I think that’s one of the things that I do well is I let the players tell me what to do because they will by how they play, how they react, what they do on the field, what they do in the meeting room. I like to be malleable where I’m not so rigid that this is it, this is the only way to do it. You’ve got to be flexible and let your players tell you what they do best in the certain forms of how they tell you.”

Ray Horton

(On how disappointed he was that minorities were overlooked in all the head coaching and front office hires this year)- “I wasn’t disappointed at all for minorities. I was disappointed for Ray Horton. I can’t speak for anybody, but myself. That’s another label and I’m not one to put labels on people, I talk about players. I respect the process and the process this year appeared to be offensive minded coaches for the most part. That’s what the ownership wants. You can’t control what they want, you can just control yourself and how you prepare just as I do each week. I’m just disappointed because you have expectations. I have expectations for our team, for our defense and if you don’t meet them, you’re disappointed. I’m not mad, I’m not frustrated. Disappointment is the right adjective for me because I was disappointed and you move on.”

Roy Horton

(On if he thinks his time will come as a head coach)- “I hope and you know something, if it doesn’t, right now I’m very happy with this defensive team that I’ve inherited. With the ability of Coach (Norv) Turner and Coach Rob to lead the offense, I’m just hoping to get sucked up in the draft and put a good defense out there.”

Ray Horton

(On elaborating on his previous comments about how Dick LeBeau treats people)- “If you’ve ever spent any time with Coach Lebeau, there’s an old poem that you can be with kings and still walk and have a common touch. He does. He treats every single person like they’re the most important person in the room and it’s a gift that not everybody has to really care, genuinely, about strangers, about other people, about your fellow coaches, about your players. There’s a word, it’s man-love if you will. Players love playing for Coach LeBeau and I think that’s the highest form of respect that you can get is that your players love playing for you.”

Ray Horton

(On if he is excited to match up against the great defenses in the AFC North)- “I know the Baltimore Ravens are in the Super Bowl and that’s, I believe, our ultimate goal. You’d love to be that kind of team year in and year out. You love to be talked about year in and year out of having a great offense, great defense, great special teams, great team. I know we’ve got great fans. I’ve met them out there so that parts done. All we’re trying to do is be in the same breath of the great team’s year in and year out whether it’s the AFC North, whatever division. It is a competitive division and we’re going to try to produce as well as we can day in and day out of getting better and better every day.”

Ray Horton

(On how many key players they need to add to the defense to run his style)- “Of what I’ve seen on film, I’ve got big men that can run, little men that can hit. I love this team. I love the way it’s constituted right now because they give effort. I saw the first game from Philadelphia all the way through to the last game against Pittsburgh and I don’t see a drop off of effort. If you give me that for 16 weeks like they did, you don’t need anything else. You need big men that can run and little men that can hit.”

Ray Horton

(On how much of his attacking defense is purely blitzing)- “It goes back to Coach Rob, again, with what his desires are, first of all and then this hybrid defense. I bring a lot. I bring little guys, the corners, they blitz. I bring big guys, I drop big guys into coverage and that’s what Coach Rob is saying in this – as he’s prepared for defenses, this hybrid of, ‘What are you looking at?’ We’re a little bit different. We bring little guys because they can run and they can hit. I bring big guys and I drop big guys because they can run. I’ve got the perfect mix here of big guys that can run and little guys that can hit.”

Ray Horton

(On how he can convince fans that this change will not be a step back in the win-loss column)- “You know something, I don’t think it’s my job to convince anybody. I think the fans that I’ve met, they’ve been very supportive. They’ve done an excellent job of supporting the Cleveland Browns and our job is to get better every day and they’ll see it. They’ll see the effort and those things come, they really do. It’s not my job to convince anybody. I think it’s our job to keep putting out the best product we can every day - getting better and better and that will take care of itself.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On if he sees a big period of adjustment for the defensive players switching to a new scheme)- “There’s always a period of adjustment anytime there’s a new scheme or new terminology put in place and I think Ray spoke to that. As far as the roster itself, we felt like from the very beginning that this roster, that this group of players had some flexibility. As we get into the process a little more deeply of looking at specifics and different guys playing specific positions, we’ll get to those and have those discussions at that time. But, if you’re a good football player, you’re a good football player. I don’t think that in what we talked about that the scheme is so different that good football players won’t fit and be able to play in this scheme.”

Ray Horton

(On his impressions of Billy Winn and if he would envision him more of a defensive end now)- “I’ve seen Billy quite a bit during the season and he came up with a fantastic interception where he was rushing, the ball was tipped, he came back and made a great diving catch. That goes back to my point of what these big men can do. They can all run and they’re athletic so it just gives us the ability to move guys around where, as Coach Rob said, when you prepare for somebody, that’s the hardest thing of, where are they going to be because we don’t know and it just gives me more flexibility. Maybe Billy’s inside, maybe Billy’s outside, maybe he’s dropping because he’s so athletic and that’s what we’re talking about in this defense. You can’t predict what we do because we are a multiple-front, multiple-coverage defense and I’ve got great flexibility because of the big men that can run.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On if Ray Horton was always on his radar for the defensive coordinator position)- “Yes, absolutely.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On if he had a personal relationship with Horton previously)- “I hadn’t known Ray personally until after we had the opportunity to talk and talk on the phone. We talked at length about philosophy and I had done a lot of research on Ray prior to that. Specifically talking to people that I knew very well and trusted very well that knew Ray. I spoke to the kind of person that he is and that kept coming up over and over again. The type of coach that he is as an outstanding coach, that’s his track record and you can see it. All you need to do is turn the tape on to find those things out and I just felt like it was such a great fit and we’re so fortunate to have Ray here, that things worked out that he’s here. I’m extremely excited with both Ray and with Norv (Turner) that we have two men that are leaders of men and have done a great job and will do a great job here.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On if he talked to Dick LeBeau about Horton)- “I did not.”

Ray Horton

(On if the Rooney rule works)- “This is my personal opinion and I can’t speak for anybody else whether minority or not or whatever that label may be, to me I believe that every NFL team owner is trying to get the best coach for their team. I don’t think anybody goes into it thinking, ‘I’m going to hire this guy because of X reason other than he’s going to lead the team to victory.’ So from that standpoint, I respect the process. Does it work or not work? I think it worked because I think every NFL team this year hired a guy they thought was going to lead them to victory. I don’t think there was one owner that said, ‘I’m hiring this guy because I think he’s going to run my program into the ground.’ So does it work? Sure it works.”

Ray Horton

(On bringing up his hair during interviews and if that was an issue)- “I don’t think it’s an issue. As you look at me, is it an issue? I mean, am I tall, short, fat, skinny, white, black? I’m just a person, but I think I’m a little different looking than most people. I’m different than everybody in this room from the way I look, but it’s not an issue. Sometimes it is and you want to be forward with how you present yourself. I’m sure the 3-4, 4-3 was an issue here. That’s not an issue to me. I just wanted to be upfront and open because it is an abnormality if you will.”