Browns make surprising move with another coaching shake-up

Who is Jacques Cesaire, the new defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns?

Jacques Cesaire, Browns
Jacques Cesaire, Browns / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this offseason, the Cleveland Browns made a few unexpected moves as they fired offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, tight ends coach T.C. McCartney, and running backs coach Stump Mitchell. They're still looking for their new OC but have hired Tommy Rees to coach tight ends and Duce Staley to replace Mitchell.

On Saturday, they made another coaching change — although this time it was a move on the defensive side of the ball. Mary Kay Cabot reported that the team is bringing in Jacques Cesaire to coach their defensive line. This move wasn't expected, especially since the position hasn't been vacated.

Ben Bloom is currently the defensive line coach, a position he took on in 2023, taking over for Chris Kiffin. Before this, Bloom was the defensive run game coordinator for two seasons and according to Cabot, he might return to this role.

Cesaire spent the 2023 campaign with the Houston Texans and helped them turn their defense around. They finished the season sixth in run defense, which is an area the Browns are always looking to improve upon. Despite their success, Cesaire's contract wasn't renewed — but it didn't take long for him to land on his feet.

Browns new coach had some impressive mentors

This past season, Cesaire was able to work with DeMeco Ryans who is one of the top defensive minds in the NFL. However, he's far from the first defensive specialist Cesaire worked with. Prior to Ryans being the head coach, Houston was led by Lovie Smith — who brought in Cesaire.

Smith might not be the star he once was but he's still known for his work as a defensive-minded coach with the Chicago Bears. Before working in Houston, Cesaire was an assistant defensive line coach for the Bills, where he learned under Sean McDermott.

Even going back to his playing days, Cesaire had great mentors. For three years, his defensive coordinator was Ron Rivera as the two were part of the same San Diego Chargers organization. Rivera has gone on to be a two-time head coach, even taking the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015.

Cleveland will now need to figure out who Cesaire will be coaching. Myles Garrett will continue to be the leader of their D-line and Dalvin Tomlinson is also under contract. Outside of that, there are a lot of questions. Maurice Hurst, Shelby Harris, Za'Darius Smith, and Jordan Elliott are all pending free agents after playing significant snaps in 2023.

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