Cleveland Browns: A Guide to Ray Horton-“isms”
By Joel W. Cade
The second Ray Horton-“ism” perfectly describes the type of player he wants playing on his defense. For a scheme to provide multiple fronts to an offense, it requires unique athletes at multiple positions. In order for Horton to provide multiple fronts with exchangeable responsibilities to keep offenses guessing, he will need “big men that can run, little men that can hit.”
This Ray Horton-“ism” is pretty straight forward. Horton wants the bigger people on the defense to be able to run. This means the linemen and linebackers need to be fast. Not small linemen or linebackers, but big lineman and linebackers who can run.
A perfect example of this player is Emmanuel Ogbah. At 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, Ogbah is a big man who can run with a 4.6 40-yard dash time, meaning he should be able to run with wide receivers.
Horton also wants little men who can hit. Little men are the defensive backs, and while they are fast, they are not always known for hitting. In Horton’s defense, the defensive backs need to be able to help in run support. A great example of this type of player was T.J. Ward. Ward was a fast safety who could comfortably play in the box providing additional run support.
In this statement Horton gives us the key to the heart of his defense. No one player will be static or predictable in their responsibilities. The way one keeps an offense guessing is to never allow the quarterback to get comfortable or figure out what the defense is doing. With “big men that can run, little men that can hit,” Horton is describing players that can play multiple positions and provide multiple looks to an offense to keep them guessing. But how will these players be used?
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