Horton talks OTAs, defensive install

Posted May 19, 2013

Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton has enjoyed installing the team’s new 3-4 defense and working with the players.

Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton enjoys his work, especially when it comes to installing the team’s new 3-4 defensive front and working with the players acquired in the offseason.

Of the Browns’ free-agent signings, the first three were defensive players, linebackers Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves, in addition to defensive lineman Desmond Bryant. Then, through the 2013 NFL Draft, the Browns spent four of their five selections on defense.

“I bought a Powerball ticket last night, I didn’t check it yet,” Horton joked after the Browns’ final organized team activity of the week. “I am very pleased with how Mr. (Joe) Banner, Mr. (Jimmy) Haslam and how coach (Rob) Chud (Chudzinski) have stockpiled the defense. We have got a lot of talent and we are going to try to figure out who fits where best for the Cleveland Browns to play very good defense.

“It may not be hard, but it’s fun. It’s exciting. The guys are working very, very hard and that’s the most important thing -- that they are applying what they are learning. They are doing a great job. They are being diligent in the workouts, not only on the field but also in the classroom.

“It’s a totally different defense so there is a lot of adjustments -- terminology, drops, the way I call games, the way I ask them to learn the defense. Right now, I am just asking them to trust me and trust the defense and they are doing that. We are pleased with where we are at day three of OTAs.”

With the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, the Browns selected former Louisiana State 4-3 defensive end Barkevious Mingo, and moved the 6-foot-4, 237-pounder to outside linebacker in the 3-4.

“(He) was an explosive player,” Horton said. “He is a young man that played with his hand in the ground at LSU and now, we are asking him to stand up and do different things. He’s got a learning curve and we don’t want to rush him. We don’t want to say this is what we expect day one or day two. We want it to be a growing process. This is not a simple defense. It’s a complicated defense. He’s got a learning curve and we want to make sure that he learns it.

“I want him to be a dominating player. Weight? Some guys are too big. Some guys are too small. Some guys aren’t fast enough. Some guys aren’t slow enough, but they learn how to play. We want athletic players. He is an athletic football player and that’s what we want him to be.”

In addition to Mingo, the Browns have switched third-year pro Jabaal Sheard from defensive end to outside linebacker. It’s a transition that Horton said Sheard has “been doing great” through seven weeks of the offseason program.”

Moving players around and finding the best 11 to play on the field when the regular season begins against the Miami Dolphins at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 8 has been the main focus for Horton, and his defensive staff.

“You can name a lot of guys, but you will probably hear the same thing -- we have guys that are competing, playing hard and are trying to learn a new system,” Horton said. “What we want to do is be a defense that the Cleveland Browns fans are excited about.

“Everywhere I go I hear about the Dawg Pound. I meet people and they are in the Dawg Pound third row or this or that and they are excited. We are excited to put a good product on the field that the Cleveland fans will love and be excited about.”

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