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Ray Horton explains why Browns defense will resemble a 'kaleidoscope' in 2016

Ray Horton likes to compare the Browns defense to an airplane on a runway. And Cleveland is still taxiing out of the gate.

"We've got a long runway," Horton said on Thursday. "It's not like we've got to get off the ground right now."

And Horton, the defensive coordinator whom head coach Hue Jackson described as a "mad scientist" last week, outlined why the Browns could have a "kaleidoscope" defense this season, one aimed at getting the most out of every skillset on the roster after the loss of veteran defensive end Desmond Bryant, who will miss the season after pectoral surgery.

"When you turn it, you're going to get a different picture," Horton said. "And I want us to have guys that are interchangeable … somebody said, 'Well you're a 3-4, would you be a 4-3?' Sure, I would if I can win. So we're going to be an ever-changing defense until we find out what we do best and put the players in that position."

Against that backdrop, the Browns have moved players such as second-round draft pick Emmanuel Ogbah to defensive end (where he excelled at Oklahoma State) and cornerback Pierre Desir to safety among others. Flexibility and versatility, Horton said, will be key as Cleveland enters its sixth day of training camp.

"For me, I love competition. And that's really the only way you get better unless that player is a Michael Jordan or a LeBron or Steph Curry, guys that are highly self-motivated. Competition makes you better so when you get that, your team is going to be better," Horton said.

"And I need guys, just as we talked about Desmond getting hurt, I don't know what the future is going to bring. So the more plays you can get in competition to be the starter and the next guy is the starter in waiting. We say 1A and 1B. It's not No. 2. So the competition is good for me."

The Browns took to the practice fields for the fifth day of Training Camp on Tuesday.

Horton, who enters his second tour in Cleveland after two seasons with the Titans, has spoken about molding a defense that can, first and foremost, stop the run and attack the quarterback.

"I would say in the NFL, one and 1A is stop the run and hit the quarterback. That's our emphasis all the time," he said, adding, "That's fundamental football. When we get done not preaching that or when somebody says that's not important anymore, I guess it's time for me to walk out the door because that's not football anymore. So those are just bedrock idioms of what we do. Stop the run. Hit the quarterback."

While the Browns struggled to accomplish those dynamics last season, hope abounds in Berea that this year will be different with Horton at the helm.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ray. I love the way he coaches. It's a lot of fun. It's nice that it's familiar and just know what to expect," said outside linebacker Paul Kruger, who played for Horton in 2013. "He's a guy that just really respects you as a player. He talks to you like a man and expects you to go get it done. A lot of guys respond well to it."

That approach has seemed to serve the Browns well as they sit on the runway.

"We're going to build this thing and we've got some young players. I'm proudest of our veterans, they've taken ownership of how to teach these young rookies how to be pros," Horton said.

"Not how to run a sprint, but how to come in the classroom, how to take notes, how to be on time. And that's the foundation of having a good team. We have veterans to teach these young players, 'This is what being an NFL pro is all about.'

"So we've got that foundation and we're just going to build it by having good players and go out and compete."​

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