When Dick Jauron was hired as the Browns’ defensive coordinator on January 21, 2011, he brought 26 years of coaching experience at the National Football League level to Cleveland. A former head coach with the Chicago Bears and later, the Buffalo Bills, Jauron is looking forward to coaching the Browns defense in 2011.
“Coach (Pat) Shurmur and (Browns president) Mike Holmgren have really given me an opportunity to be with a great organization, a great history, the team itself, the name,” Jauron said. “There was a period of a few years when it was dormant, but it’s back and the history is back with us. It goes way back. Obviously, you’ve got a very loyal fan-base, very supportive fans that want to win.”
The Browns switched to a 3-4 defensive alignment under the direction of former head coach Romeo Crennel during the 2005 season. However, Shurmur, Holmgren and Jauron will transition back to a base 4-3 defensive scheme, which the team used from 1999 through 2004 after returning to the NFL.
In addition to being the leader of the defense, Jauron was one of several coaches with playoff experience to join the Browns staff this off-season. One of Jauron’s special assistants is former Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers head coach Ray Rhodes.
Both Jauron and Rhodes are former NFL Coaches of the Year.
“Because it is total from the 3-4 to the 4-3, we’re repersonneling it to some degree,” Jauron said. “Some things fit. Certainly, some players fit, some others don’t, unfortunately. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ll have a good time doing it. We’ll get ready.
“I really like the staff that Coach Pat and Mike put together,” he continued. “I really enjoy working with them. They’re a great group of people, a lot of the knowledge and a lot of information, so we can take from everybody and piece the thing together. I really enjoy Cleveland and being here.”
During the 2011 NFL Draft, the Browns added four players to both the offensive and defensive sides of the football. They spent their first two selections on defensive linemen, tackle Phil Taylor from Baylor University with the No. 21 pick overall and end Jabaal Sheard in the second round.
Later in the draft, the Browns selected cornerback Buster Skrine and safety Eric Hagg to add depth in the secondary.
“Like every defensive coach, probably in the world, you want a really aggressive defense, a really physical defense. These guys are physical players,” said Jauron. “They’re very aggressive. They play with an attitude. They’re both hard workers. Phil’s a giant inside guy. We need that. Our division is a tough division, not that there are any out there that aren’t tough, but ours is very physically tough. People pride themselves in this division on their physical play and their ability to run the football. We’ve got to be able to stop that to some degree, control that. Phil’s a big, physical force inside. Jabaal is a physical player on the edge. He’s got pass-rush skills, as does Phil. Different, obviously, but Jabaal’s got speed off the edge. He’s got an attitude; he comes to the ball; he hits people.
“Buster and Hagg are two defensive backs that we like a great deal,” he added. “Buster’s got great speed and, we thought, great athletic ability. We love the way he played. He was a tough guy that fit us too. He’s not a big man like the two up-front guys, but he doesn’t have to be. We’re anticipating contributions from both he and Eric Hagg. Eric has a great feel for the game. He didn’t run a great time at the combine, but every time you watch a Nebraska football game on tape, he just made plays. He continued to make plays and he was a smart player. He played in their Nickel package as a nickel and in their Dime sub-package. We think he can play some safety too, probably either one, free or strong.”