Titans add Horton, Cioffi to defensive staff
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt’s defensive staff has a Cleveland Browns flavor.
Whisenhunt continued putting together his staff Monday by announcing the hiring of defensive coordinator Ray Horton and defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, who each filled the same roles this season in Cleveland. The Browns fired head coach Rob Chudzinski after the season.
During the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Horton was defensive coordinator and Cioffi was defensive backs coach in Arizona while Whisenhunt was the Cardinals’ head coach.
“I am excited about this opportunity, to be reunited with Coach Whisenhunt and to be a piece of the puzzle to move this team forward,” Horton said Monday in a release announcing the move.
The Browns allowed the third-fewest yards per pass attempt of any NFL team this season. The Browns ranked ninth in the NFL in total defense, up from 23rd a year earlier.
“Scheme-wise, one of the most impressive things about Ray is his flexibility,” Whisenhunt said in a team release. “He has the ability to go between a 4-3 and 3-4 and put our players in the best position to succeed. It has been evident by what he done and where his defenses have ranked in the league over the last few years.”
Horton worked on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ coaching staff from 2004-10. He also was a secondary coach for two seasons with the Detroit Lions and five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. He began his coaching career as a defensive assistant for the Washington Redskins from 1994-96. Horton also had a 10-year playing career as a safety with the Cincinnati Bengals (1983-88) and Dallas Cowboys (1989-92).
During Cioffi’s one season in Cleveland, Browns cornerback Joe Haden earned his first Pro Bowl selection and picked off four passes. Cioffi also helped the Cardinals lead the NFL in passer rating allowed and rank second in the league with 22 interceptions in 2012. Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson had seven interceptions in 2012 to earn his first Pro Bowl selection.
Cioffi also was a staff assistant with the New York Jets in 1993-94 and coached with the Cincinnati Bengals from 1997-2010.
“I am very excited to be reunited with Coach Whisenhunt and to get to work building a championship team,” Cioffi said. “I think (Whisenhunt) is an outstanding communicator, a great motivator and terrific at attacking opposing offenses.”