BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton knows just how important winning is to the fans of the team.
It is a lesson he learned while competing against the Browns many times, first, as a player with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys, and then, as an assistant coach, most notably with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals.
Since joining the Browns’ coaching staff, Horton’s theory has been validated by those fans he has met around Cleveland.
“I think what they want is a winning football team,” Horton said. “The more points we score on offense, the fewer points we have to give up. You have to have a balance. I want the identity to be a winning football program, and everybody, as we say, ‘Eats.’ When you do that, everybody eats.”
Following the team’s rookie practice Tuesday, Horton was asked if he wanted his aggressive defense to be the identity of the Browns. Knowing that it takes all three phases of the game to be successful, Horton focused on being a winning team.
Horton also praised the fans, and said those who endure games in sometimes bitterly cold temperatures with winds whipping through FirstEnergy Stadium are the team’s true identity.
“There’s going to be games where the offense scores 40 points and we may have not the best game on defense,” Horton said. “There’s going to be other games where we score a few points, and maybe the defense holds them. I want a balanced team. If you don’t have that, it’s going to be a long year. The fans want a winning program. I don’t think they care. We want to win.
“I think the identity is the ‘Dawg Pound.’ I remember the old days of batteries and snow balls, and all that stuff, being at the airport and meeting the fans of the ‘Dawg Pound.’ I think they understand what they have.”