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Browns DC Ray Horton 'likes hitting the QB when they're getting off the bus if he could'

Browns coach Hue Jackson likes quarterbacks.

His defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, likes to make their lives miserable.

"He likes hitting the quarterback when they're getting off the bus if he could," Jackson told reporters last week at the NFL's annual owners' meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.

"He understands we like quarterbacks that stand in one place — and in pro football — you're going to get exposed. He does a great job of teaching from the top down. Obviously, he played in the secondary and that's one of his interests, but also the front seven he's done a great job of creating mismatches for people he's coached with so they have an opportunity for success."

Horton, who returned to the Browns following two seasons with the Titans, is tasked with shoring up a defense that was marred by inconsistent play and injuries last season.

And he'll do so with a handful of new faces, including linebacker Demario Davis and free safety Rahim Moore, a pair of free agents who signed with Cleveland earlier this month.

The Browns, however, will also need to replace production from the likes of linebacker Karlos Dansby, who was released, and safety Tashaun Gipson, who parted ways with the team in free agency.

Still, Jackson — who has challenged Horton to shape the unit into a "championship defense"— echoed that sentiment once again last week.

"What I said to Ray is we want to be suffocating on defense because we need to be explosive on offense. I think when you're that way, if you are a defense that can slow down some quarterbacks and if we become what my vision is on offense, then we can score enough points to win a lot of games," Jackson said.

"At the end of the day, that's the name of the game. Couple that with playing great special teams as well. I think Ray understands, and I think our whole staff understands what we're trying to accomplish."

Horton has long spoken of a philosophy of "big guys who can run and little guys who can hit," and the Browns are setting the foundation for what they hope is future success.

"When you watched the Super Bowl and the AFC Championship Game, it was a factor of big men who could run, coming around that edge, and then also it's little guys who can get them on the field," Horton said last month.

Horton added, "We're going to preach what we do. We're going to try to pressure the quarterback. As Coach Hue has mentioned more than once, we do, we want to be suffocating. When we are in this division on the defensive side of the ball, you have to be. This is a tough, big-man division. You better be ready to play football on Sunday or you're going to be embarrassed."

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