January 22, 2016 - Aaron Wilson
Browns hire Ray Horton, Pep Hamilton, Kirby Wilson, Al Saunders
The Cleveland Browns made it official: Ray Horton rejoined the team as defensive coordinator. He was previously with the Browns in 2013 as defensive coordinator. Horton was the Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator. As a player and coach, he has made it to the Super Bowl five times, where he has three wins. “I have always watched Ray from afar,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “We have known each other. I have competed against him. I remember my time in Cincinnati competing against him when he was here. The guy is a tremendous football coach. He knows this division. He was raised in this division. He played in this division. He understands what needs to be done to get our defense back to where it needs to be. I wanted somebody that knew the lay of the land and understood the division, understands the culture here and understands the change that we need to make and someone who can lead our young players and develop players to get better. “His defenses have gone after the quarterback. They have been effective in stopping the run. They had a very good pass defense when he was here. That is what we need to do. We have some of the premier passers in this division when you talk about Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco. We are going to have slow those guys down to have a chance to compete in this division. That is what we expect from our defense.” “I am really excited to be back,” Horton said. “I love the fans of Cleveland. When I was here last time they really embraced me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met Cleveland fans in different cities. It is a great fan base. I am excited to come back and help Coach Jackson win. We haven’t worked together previously, but I think there has been a mutual respect from across the field. It’s one of those things where you appreciate the challenges from matching up against each other from opposite sides of the field.” Meanwhile, the Browns made the following hires: Pep Hamilton (associate head coach-offense), Al Saunders (Sr. offensive assistant/wide receivers), Kirby Wilson (running backs/run game coordinator), Hal Hunter (offensive line), Mark Hudson (assistant offensive line), Greg Seamon (tight ends) and Bob Saunders (offensive quality control) will round out the offensive staff, while Shawn Mennenga (special teams assistant) and Stan Watson (special teams quality control) rejoin special teams coordinator Chris Tabor. “I think we’ve been able to assemble a really good group thus far,” Jackson said. “We are very excited about the men who have decided to come here to Cleveland and join the organization in our quest to win football games. As an offensive staff, I think first and foremost we have to work together. Our players need to see a staff that is committed, that is together and will do anything and everything to help them become better football players. What we wanted to do is try to hire the best staff that was going to give us a chance to teach, motivate, instill discipline and drive our players. The other thing that I love about this group of coaches is they all want to be here with the Browns. They want to be a part of the change. "I want a bunch of guys who really want to be in Cleveland because they have to understand there is a lot of work ahead. We are going to have to roll up our sleeves and get some work done and just put our head down and go. Do it the right way. We need guys that are going to be loyal, guys who can be totally trusted and guys when I turn my back I am not worried about what they are doing. They are trying to do one thing, which is improving this team to help us win. I have made the decision to call plays. I think I have to start that way for our team. When you take these jobs you get them for a reason. You have to be aware of what you’ve been successful at and what got you this opportunity. You want to make sure the team is really good at what got you here, first and foremost.” Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.