After a dismal 1-15 season, the Browns needed to make wholesale changes to bring a different culture and attitude.
The Browns announced Tuesday the firing of defensive backs coach Louie Cioff, inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland, offensive line coach Hal Hunter, assistant defensive backs coach Cannon Matthews, and outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik.
In addition and the most importantly, the Browns fired defensive coordinator Ray Horton after the team finished in dead last in total defense.
To replace Horton, the Browns hired former Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. These moves on the defensive side of the ball will provide the room for Williams to hire his own staff. Williams has already hired his son Blake Williams to coach linebackers, and added Jerod Kruse as the defensive backs coach. Kruse, who came from the college ranks, will assist new defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker, who was hired last week.
Williams spent the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Rams. Ever since the firing of Jeff Fisher towards the end of the 2016 season, everyone knew it was going to be an interesting offseason for the Los Angeles Rams when it came to the rest of the coaching staff, and Williams jumped at the opportunity to be solely responsible for the Browns on the defensive side of the ball. Browns coach Hue Jackson sold Williams on the fact that he will have full autonomy on defense so Jackson can work on his offense.
Williams has also previously served as a defensive coordinator for Tennessee, Washington and New Orleans, where he was suspended for a year as the central figure in the team’s bounty scandal. He was also a head coach with the Bills for three seasons in Buffalo from 2001-2003.
He will probably install the 4-3 scheme as the base defense but uses multiple fronts, formations and personnel packages and is obsessed with creating turnovers.
His defenses have frequently finished among the top 10 in the league. He adapts his scheme to maximize the strengths of his personnel and has always been able to get the most out of his players.
Some have balked at hiring Williams because we will need to overhaul players and losing any continuity that we did establish, but there can be any continuity or real talent on a team that finished dead last? A change is necessary and Williams brings a culture of aggressive, no-nonsense toughness. How can the fans not love that attitude? Hopefully, the results will follow.