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  1. #46
    Team Player Wulfgar1224's Avatar
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    I didn't want to start a new thread and I thought this thread seemed like the best place for this article. It is a pretty good read about the Browns switch to the 34 defense.

    http://www.draftbrowns.com/2013/01/p...medium=twitter

    DraftBrowns.com Editor: Brendan Leister

    With Ray Horton being brought in as the Cleveland Browns’ new defensive coordinator, a switch to an attacking hybrid 3-4 defense seems to be in the cards. With the switch, most of the players in the front seven are in line for a position change. None of these projections are sure things. I could be way off on a few of them, but I am simply looking at the players’ skill sets and projecting them the best I possibly can.

    Ahtyba Rubin:

    When the Browns previously employed a 3-4 defense, Ahtyba Rubin was the nose tackle. I expect him to return to the position. He may have the athletic ability to hold up as a 5-technique (defensive end in a 3-4), but I feel that his best fit is at nose. Rubin isn’t ever going to be an elite nose tackle, but he’s a solid starter and his skill set fits the position well.

    Phil Taylor:

    When Phil Taylor came out of Baylor, many draft pundits hyped him up as a pure nose tackle. Due to the hype, many expected Taylor to be drafted by a 3-4 team. In watching Taylor at Baylor, I always felt he had the athletic ability and versatility to play anywhere from nose tackle to 5-technique on the defensive line at the next level. Simply using him as a nose tackle and not moving him around at all would be wasting the freakish athletic ability that he possesses for a man his size. I expect Ray Horton to use Taylor in multiple spots on the defensive line, but in the base defense, I think that he’ll start at 5-technique (defensive end). Taylor has the combination of athletic ability and strength to really thrive at the position.

    Billy Winn:

    In being drafted in the sixth round, Billy Winn wasn’t expected to be a big-time contributor during his rookie season. Now that the 2012 season is in the books, his future looks very bright. Winn showed impressive athletic ability for a defensive tackle and also showed a great deal of versatility. He dropped into coverage on 18 snaps and lined up as a defensive end on 43 snaps in 2012. This versatility will help Winn in transitioning to Ray Horton’s defense. I expect Winn to compete for a starting position at 5-technique opposite Phil Taylor. I also expect Horton to take advantage of Winn’s versatility and athletic ability by moving him around.

    Jabaal Sheard:

    When Jabaal Sheard was in the 2011 NFL Draft, many expected him to be a good fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. After playing his first two seasons at left defensive end, it’s time for Sheard to make the switch. Sheard’s role won’t change a ton as he makes the transition. Rather than being in a 3-point stance on most downs, Sheard will be standing up the majority of the time now. He will still be asked to rush the passer most of the time. Also, this may be surprising to many, but Sheard stood up on 22.1% of pass plays in 2012 and dropped into coverage on 6.1% of those plays. Sheard will undoubtedly have to drop into coverage more often and he may have to lose some weight (may not have to), but his skill set fits the position well and I expect him to play well in Ray Horton’s defensive scheme.

    D’Qwell Jackson:

    In transitioning to the new defense, D’Qwell Jackson will likely be moved to the weak inside linebacker position as the Mike linebacker. Jackson’s skill set fits the position well, but not quite as well as it fit the Mike linebacker position he played in the 4-3. Jackson will be asked to shed blocks more often in the 3-4 because there won’t be as many bodies in front of him to keep him clean. Jackson will have to improve his ability to get off blocks and make plays in the backfield if he wants to thrive in the 3-4 defense.

    James-Michael Johnson:

    After starting eight games at strong side linebacker as a rookie in 2012, James-Michael Johnson will likely transition to the strong inside linebacker position as the Ted linebacker in Ray Horton’s defense. Johnson does a decent job of getting off blocks and making tackles. These are both important skills for the position, as he will be asked to take on lead blockers on a regular basis. I don’t expect Johnson to simply be handed the starting job, but I definitely think he will be in the mix for the starting Ted linebacker position.

    John Hughes:

    John Hughes should transition to nose tackle in switching to the 3-4 defense. Hughes is strong at the point of attack and he rarely takes plays off. He should provide excellent depth behind Ahtyba Rubin at nose tackle.

    Chris Gocong:

    Although Chris Gocong tore his Achilles tendon and missed the 2012 season, he is still under contract at this point in time. Gocong’s best fit in the 3-4 is undoubtedly at the Ted linebacker position. Gocong is good at taking on blocks and he can make an impact as a pass rusher from the inside. Horton likes to send his inside linebackers on creative blitzes and Gocong could be very valuable in this role if he is under contract. I expect Gocong to be in the mix for the starting Ted linebacker position with the aforementioned James-Michael Johnson.

    Kaluka Maiava:

    Kaluka Maiava is an impending unrestricted free agent. Although he had a very under appreciated season starting every game at weak side linebacker in the base defense, I don’t expect him to return. If Maiava were to re-sign, his best fit would be at Mike linebacker in the new defense due to his athletic ability. Maiava would bring solid depth behind D’Qwell Jackson.

    Frostee Rucker:

    I am uncertain of how good a fit Frostee Rucker is for a 3-4 defense. Rucker has held up well in the run game as a base defensive end in a 4-3 throughout his career, but the double teams he will face in a 3-4 are a different animal. Rucker’s best fit, position-wise, is undoubtedly as a 5-technique. Rucker will probably be in the mix with Billy Winn to start at 5-technique, but I give Winn the edge due to the fact that he is much more stout at the point of attack.

    Craig Robertson:

    I expect Craig Robertson to keep the same role in the new defense as he had in 2012. Robertson was a nickel linebacker throughout the entire season due to his abilities in coverage. Robertson is a restricted free agent, but he should be back in 2013. In the base defense, Robertson will probably transition to Mike linebacker, but I don’t expect to see him very often, if at all, in that role.

    LJ Fort:

    LJ Fort played 98 snaps in 2012, splitting time at both strong side linebacker and middle linebacker. Due to his length and physicality, I expect him to transition to Ted linebacker in the new defensive scheme. With a strong offseason, Fort could challenge for the starting job at the position.

    Ishmaa’ily Kitchen:

    Ishmaa’ily Kitchen played 212 snaps in 2012, mostly as a 1-technique defensive tackle. Kitchen is strong at the point of attack and his best fit in the new scheme will undoubtedly be at nose tackle. Kitchen should provide solid depth at the position.

    Emmanuel Stephens:

    Emmanuel Stephens was actually putting together a pretty solid campaign in 2012 before being placed on injured reserve with a neck injury. He produced one sack and 8 quarterback hurries in 149 snaps as a rotational defensive end. Stephens will be joining Jabaal Sheard in making the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. It is hard to tell how comfortable Stephens will be dropping into coverage and standing up because he hasn’t done much, if any, of it in his career up to this point. If Stephens is comfortable standing up, he has a chance to be a contributor because the Browns simply don’t have very many pass rushers on the roster at this point in time.

    Other projections:

    Tank Carder- Ted linebacker

    Brian Sanford- 5-technique

    Auston English- Outside linebacker

    In my opinion, the Browns shouldn’t have as much trouble making the transition to a new defensive scheme as they did in the past. The Browns have a lot more talent in the front seven now than they did back then. Additionally, Ray Horton is a great defensive mind and he should do an excellent job of adapting his scheme to his personnel. The Browns currently have two huge needs in the front seven. An elite pass rushing talent at outside linebacker and depth everywhere.
    I think the switch is going to be a little more difficult than this author but he gives a decent projection on how the players will fit.

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  3. #47
    Cleveland Cavaliers Fan Phills14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    The big question about the switch to the 3-4 is Jabaal Sheard's effectiveness and whether he can play OLB in a 3-4. Below is Sheard draft scouting report from ESPN.com. Also I LOVE the story about him throwing a guy thru the window. Makes me laugh every time.

    Overall Football Traits
    Production 2
    2007: (9/0) 3 tackles, 2 PBU.
    2008: (13/13) 45 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 7 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR.
    2009: (13/13) 42 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 3 PBU.
    2010: (12/12) 52 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 9 sacks, 4 PBU, 4 FF.

    Height-Weight-Speed 2
    Possesses average height and bulk along with very good top-end speed for the position.

    Durability 2
    Suffered torn ligaments in his thumb during this past spring and was forced to miss the second half of spring practices. Sat out the 2010 Compass Bowl after undergoing minor elbow surgery.

    Intangibles 4
    Described as a quiet and humble player that leads by example. Awarded a bravery medal for helping an elderly woman escape from a burning home in Florida when in high school. But he was involved in a fight in July of 2010 in downtown Pittsburgh. Reportedly was ordered by police to stop but refused before being struck by a Billy club several times. Continued to fight with suspect before throwing him through a glass door of an art store. Sheard was eventually pepper sprayed, arrested and charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest.

    1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal

    Defensive End Specific Traits
    Pass Rush Skills 2
    First step quickness is good but not elite. Displayed a wide variety of pass rush moves including an affective inside and outside swim move. Possesses quicker feet than anticipated. Possesses enough quickness to get around edge and does a nice job of mixing in a powerful bull-rush to keep tackles on their toes. Possesses quick hands when attempting swim or rip move. Relentless and does not give up once initially rode past the pocket. Closing burst is just average. Does a nice job of getting hands up in passing lanes when seeing QB start his wind up.

    Versus the run 2
    Possesses above-average core and upper body strength. In addition, plays with leverage when defending the edge. Can jar blockers with a strong and explosive initial punch. Also uses hands well in combat to control blockers and redirect to get involved in play. However, can be engulfed by bigger and more powerful OT's when caught in a phone booth situation on occasion. Range is adequate and fights through traffic well in pursuit.

    Versatility 3
    Appears to have enough athleticism to make transition to an OLB for a base 3-4 scheme but will have limitations. Moves well laterally but displays tightness in hips with any sudden change of direction. Can spot drop on occasion but not someone you consistently put in this situation. Going to have some issues holding up in one-on-one situations in the open field.

    Instincts/Motor 3
    Tough and will through pain. Also plays with a consistent motor and hustles in pursuit. Instincts are slightly above-average but can certainly improve. Can be fooled by misdirection both run and pass on occasion.

  4. #48
    Legit Wallhacker Be Nimble's Avatar
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    I asked my dude Matt Williamson of ESPN how he felt about the Browns switching to a 3-4. Williamson is a huge Steelers fan, former Browns scout, and stays very current on the NFL and especially the AFC North. Here's what he had to say:

    With Ray Horton as the new DC in Cleveland, what do you make of the switch to the 3-4? How will Wynn, Rubin, Taylor, Hughes, Sheard, DQ fit in?
    Matt Williamson
    (12:11 PM)


    This transition doesn't bother me as much, as I think Taylor will excel at NT and Rubin could be a very good DE in the 3-4. Sheard is prob athletic enough to play OLB on the strong side, but even before this change, I thought a dynamic edge player opposite Sheard was their biggest need. Now, they really need to nab a stud with that first round pick that can project to OLB. Wynn and Hughes should also be fine at DE and no worries about Jackson at ILB. Another ILB is prob needed though.

  5. #49
    Time For A Title Rob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Hopefully the switch to the 3-4 isn't as brutal as many think it will be.

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    Team Player Wulfgar1224's Avatar
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Quote Originally Posted by Be Nimble View Post
    I asked my dude Matt Williamson of ESPN how he felt about the Browns switching to a 3-4. Williamson is a huge Steelers fan, former Browns scout, and stays very current on the NFL and especially the AFC North. Here's what he had to say:
    That Williamson guy is off on his projections IMO. First off, Rubin is going to be the NT and Taylor will most likely be the DE in the 34. He has both Winn and Hughes at DE which isn't going to happen either. It will be Winn as the DE and Hughes will back up Taylor at NT. No offense but if the guy doesn't even know where the players will be in the new D, then how are we supposed to take his opinion seriously about the transition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrie To The View Post
    Hopefully the switch to the 3-4 isn't as brutal as many think it will be.
    That's what we are all hoping. But, to me, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to switch over when Heckert has done a nice job the last couple years of fortifying the Dline for the 43. But, that is where we are at the present time.

  7. #51
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Quote Originally Posted by Wulfgar1224 View Post
    Rubin is going to be the NT and Taylor will most likely be the DE in the 34. He has both Winn and Hughes at DE which isn't going to happen either. It will be Winn as the DE and Hughes will back up Taylor at NT. No offense but if the guy doesn't even know where the players will be in the new D, then how are we supposed to take his opinion seriously about the transition.
    How can Hughes back up Taylor at NT if Taylor is most likely going to be playing DE? No offense, but if you don't even know where the players will be in the new D, then how are we supposed to take your opinion seriously about the transition?

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    Team Player Wulfgar1224's Avatar
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy Deezy View Post
    How can Hughes back up Taylor at NT if Taylor is most likely going to be playing DE? No offense, but if you don't even know where the players will be in the new D, then how are we supposed to take your opinion seriously about the transition?


    It was a typo. Relax dude.

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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Quote Originally Posted by Be Nimble View Post
    I asked my dude Matt Williamson of ESPN how he felt about the Browns switching to a 3-4. Williamson is a huge Steelers fan, former Browns scout, and stays very current on the NFL and especially the AFC North. Here's what he had to say:
    No wonder why we suck, we're hiring Steelers fans as scouts?
    OU... OH YEAH!!!!

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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrie To The View Post
    Hopefully the switch to the 3-4 isn't as brutal as many think it will be.
    The biggest problem we had with the last transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 is that we didn't have good players, period. We didn't have good players for either the 4-3 or the 3-4 and we didn't draft good players in subsequent years.

    If you believe we have good defensive players now, the transition will go a lot smoother. There's nothing written in stone that says you HAVE to struggle with going from a 4-3 to a 3-4 or vice-versa. Plenty of teams have done so without going into the toilet for 2-3 years.

  11. #55
    Team Player Wulfgar1224's Avatar
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Quote Originally Posted by GreasySpread36 View Post
    The biggest problem we had with the last transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 is that we didn't have good players, period. We didn't have good players for either the 4-3 or the 3-4 and we didn't draft good players in subsequent years.

    If you believe we have good defensive players now, the transition will go a lot smoother. There's nothing written in stone that says you HAVE to struggle with going from a 4-3 to a 3-4 or vice-versa. Plenty of teams have done so without going into the toilet for 2-3 years.
    I think that there area couple of factors in play that won't make it a seamless transition. One thing that people aren't mentioning is that both the Saints and Eagles are switching over to the 34 this offseason as well. That will mean that the Browns will have to compete with players with those guys come draft time for that defense. It has a good chance of leading to reaching and grabbing players earlier than they'd like.

    I guess my main gripe with the whole switch this offseason is that I thought the switch to the 43 two years ago was a smart move and was working. I liked the line depth they had. I think the linebackers they had were adequate for the 43. They do need another CB and a FS but that applies regardless of the defense that they are playing. I think all they needed to do was take a pass rusher at 6 and the front seven was in pretty good shape. I just don't think they gave it enough time. Now, switching over, they have a shortage of LBs for the position and a surplus of lineman. There will be a transition period to get the LBs that they need.

    You make a nice point that we have better players so in theory the switch should go a little smoother. But, the reality is that the defenses are far different and require different skill sets. Since not many teams play the 34 in college, you have to do more projecting with defensive ends in regard to how they'll perform as OLBs in the NFL in the 34. I'm hopeful that the new front office is better at these projections than Savage for example and doesn't force bad fits like he did with Corey Williams and Kameron Wimbley.

  12. #56
    Legit Wallhacker Be Nimble's Avatar
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Oh yeah Wulfgar, I agree that Rubin would be the NT. To be honest, I think Williamson just got it messed up. To be fair though, I think Rubin and Taylor are both fully capable of playing NT. It is just much more likely to see Phil Taylor at DE than Rubin. Wynn will definitely play DE, but as far as the other 3 go, they may be completely interchangeable. I'm not too worried about the line though. It's all about the linebackers which we don't have. Williamson is usually on point so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

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    Team Player Wulfgar1224's Avatar
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Quote Originally Posted by Be Nimble View Post
    Oh yeah Wulfgar, I agree that Rubin would be the NT. To be honest, I think Williamson just got it messed up. To be fair though, I think Rubin and Taylor are both fully capable of playing NT. It is just much more likely to see Phil Taylor at DE than Rubin. Wynn will definitely play DE, but as far as the other 3 go, they may be completely interchangeable. I'm not too worried about the line though. It's all about the linebackers which we don't have. Williamson is usually on point so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
    Agreed. The D will look like this:

    Taylor ----------- Rubin ------------ Winn

    Sheard ---------- JMJ (Maybe gocong?) ------------ DQ --------------- Draft pick at 6 or FA

    Hughes will back up Rubin at the nose and Rucker will fill in for Winn.

    As for Williamson, I don't follow him that much so I'll defer to you on that. I just know a lot of national guys aren't well informed on the Browns since they've been so crappy for so long. They usually give superficial analysis to them and their roster.

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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Quote Originally Posted by Wulfgar1224 View Post
    Agreed. The D will look like this:

    Taylor ----------- Rubin ------------ Winn

    Sheard ---------- JMJ (Maybe gocong?) ------------ DQ --------------- Draft pick at 6 or FA

    Hughes will back up Rubin at the nose and Rucker will fill in for Winn.

    As for Williamson, I don't follow him that much so I'll defer to you on that. I just know a lot of national guys aren't well informed on the Browns since they've been so crappy for so long. They usually give superficial analysis to them and their roster.
    I think Rubin will play DE and Taylor will play NT. I don't think Rubin has the body type you want as a 3-4 NT. Rubin could make an excellent 3-4 DE though. Even in a 4-3, Rubin looked a little on the slender side with his build. The guy is just long and athletic for his size. He looks like a prototypical 3-4 DE, IMO. I'd rather have the bulkier and more explosive guy at NT, which would be Taylor. It's critical to eat up 2 players from the NT position and I think Taylor would do a better job of that.

    Appearance-wise, I don't think it's debatable that Taylor would make the better NT and Rubin the better DE. It will be interesting to see where Horton lines them up.

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    Ohdang Helicopter Race Champion Sneaky's Road Trip - London Champion Ohdang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC

    Quote Originally Posted by billmac91 View Post
    I think Rubin will play DE and Taylor will play NT. I don't think Rubin has the body type you want as a 3-4 NT. Rubin could make an excellent 3-4 DE though. Even in a 4-3, Rubin looked a little on the slender side with his build. The guy is just long and athletic for his size. He looks like a prototypical 3-4 DE, IMO. I'd rather have the bulkier and more explosive guy at NT, which would be Taylor. It's critical to eat up 2 players from the NT position and I think Taylor would do a better job of that.

    Appearance-wise, I don't think it's debatable that Taylor would make the better NT and Rubin the better DE. It will be interesting to see where Horton lines them up.
    We already have film on Rubin playing NT and he did a nice job. He wasn't elite, but he was also just getting playing time for the first time at the NFL level. He's started for us ever since, so I think if you put him there now he does play at an elite level. The demands of the position fit his talents pretty well. I think Rubin and Taylor would actually both be great NT's and its unfortunate we can't play them both there at the same time, but I see Taylor as the less crappy end. I don't honestly think either of them will do that well at end, but that is also basing on the 3-4 we ran here before with Romeo and Mangini who were both more conservative than any Republican in Washington. If we run a different style like the rumors have said, I'll be a lot more optimistic about our defensive line. I'd still not put Rubin at end though...

    Just based on the fact that Rubin has NFL experience at 3-4 NT and nobody else on our roster does, I fully expect him to start the season there. I expect to see Taylor at LE because of his physical attributes and talent - he's stronger at the point of attack than anyone else we have on the line and it makes sense to line him up over the other teams run blocking tackle. Winn isn't as physically gifted and is 40 pounds lighter than Taylor, combined with the fact he has a little college experience lining up in a 3-4 plus having a pretty decent rookie season, I figure him to be the RE. The only other guy from this year's team that I think is worth keeping for the line is Hughes, and he looks like a decent backup NT on paper. Nobody else from our line in 2012 looks like they can play DE or OLB in the 3-4 except Sheard so I expect them to either be cut early on to give them a chance to get into another teams training camp or to be kept around as a body to throw in there if we can't accumulate enough good depth this off season.

    This is all assuming we go full on 3-4. Horton has said he will play whatever defense best suits the players he has, so we may end up playing the 4-3 as a base defense and all of this debate is pointless.
    Last edited by Ohdang; 01-27-2013 at 02:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Browns hire Ray Horton as DC



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