Monday, January 21, 2013
The Browns' defensive scheme
By Tim Kavanagh
After the Cleveland Browns made the decision to hire Rob Chudzinski as their new HC, there was buzz that they'd be changing their defense to a 3-4 alignment. This idea was buttressed by the hire of Ray Horton as the new DC, as Horton has worked within a 3-4 framework in his recent jobs in Arizona and Pittsburgh. So will they switch, or stick with the 4-3?
Horton isn't ready to commit either way. "I'm a coach of men, whether it's 3-4, 4-3, 5-5, I don't care," Horton indicated, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Our AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley argues that moving to a 3-4 would be a step backwards, and would not be a smart move given that the strength of the Browns' defense -- as presently constituted -- is on the D-line, not at the LB level.
Whether the Browns continue with a 4-3 or change to a 3-4, they'll need to find another pass-rusher to complement Jabaal Sheard. Mel Kiper Jr. sent them such a player in his initial mock of this draft season, shipping FSU's Bjoern Werner to them at No. 6 overall:
Mel Kiper, Jr.Mock Draft 1.0
" I've heard Werner compared to J.J. Watt, and while he's not nearly at Watt's somewhat extraordinary level, and doesn't yet have the size to work primarily inside at this point, in terms of his great awareness as a pass-rusher, there might be something to it. Not only does Werner provide immediate impact as a pass-rusher, like Watt, he defends the pass with his eyes and gets his hands up, disrupts passing lanes and swats away throws. A late arrival to football, he has a high ceiling. He's an ideal fit in Cleveland, a team that saw the defense regress in 2012."