It's official: The Cleveland Browns will be moving from a 4-3 defense to the 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on an interview Horton gave with 910 AM in Arizona, in which he confirmed that the Browns will be a 3-4 defense starting this year—not a hybrid-style defense like many had speculated. Horton anticipates his defense to look similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers' attack-style 3-4 defense, which he himself worked with from 2004 until 2010.
This move will require a thorough evaluation of the players currently on the defensive roster to see who can make the switch and who cannot. It will likely result in a bit more free agency activity than we've typically seen out of the Browns in recent years. It might be a defense-heavy draft for Cleveland, too, to ensure the team has enough personnel capable of running the new scheme.
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed won't be retiring after the Super Bowl, no matter the outcome. Whether he remains with the team in 2013, however, is another question.
Bleacher Report's Andrew Brining says that any celebration of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' redemption must include discussion of what he needed to be redeemed from in the first place.
Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com notes that Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins and defensive end Robert Geathers are both in negotiations to secure new contracts with the team this offseason. Geathers is about to become a free agent, while Atkins will be a free agent after next season.
Aaron Nagler and the Bleacher Report NFL crew break down the Bengals 2013 draft needs.
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam had nothing but praise for impending free agents Phil Dawson and Josh Cribbs at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards on Thursday night, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot, but that doesn't necessarily mean the two will get new contracts in the coming months.
If the Browns opt to bring in competition for Brandon Weeden at quarterback this year, Bleacher Report's Michael Youngman has a few suggestions.
Bob Labriola of Steelers.com spoke with Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert about whether using high draft picks on defensive linemen Ziggy Hood and Cam Heyward was a bad move, considering the later-round luck they had previously in the draft at defensive end and tackle.
Bleacher Report's Pete Martin says that Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis belongs in this year's Pro Bowl.