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Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Browns' most improved part of the roster

By Jamison Hensley

ESPN's Gary Horton wrote an Insider piece on the changes for the Cleveland Browns, which includes detailing how the defense will attack under new coordinator Ray Horton.

As Gary Horton explained, the Browns will attack the gaps and blitz from anywhere on the field. In the secondary, the Browns are expected to play more press, man-to-man coverage. This all falls into the Browns' "attack" philosophy.

The pass rush stands out to Gary Horton as the most improved part of the roster, and that's what Cleveland is banking on. The Browns signed Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves in free agency and used the No. 6 overall pick on Barkevious Mingo.
And if it's as productive as advertised, the defensive backs will not have to hold their coverage as long. When the ball is forced out quickly, it usually leads to turnovers and big defensive plays. Again, that's basic stuff, but it's something a lot of teams want to do and don't have the horses to pull it off. Ray Horton also likes versatility in his players, and he will move them around with position changes to give him even more "mix and match" flexibility to his personnel packages.

Last year, with Ray Horton as their defensive coordinator, the Arizona Cardinals blitzed 42.3 percent of the time, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The only other team to send five or more pass rushers in 2012 was the Houston Texans (46.9 percent). Compare that to the Browns, who blitzed 26.5 percent of the time. That ranked 17th in the NFL.

“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," Ray Horton said earlier this offseason. "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."