There's no doubt Ray Horton has several ties to the Cincinnati Bengals. Selected by the Bengals in the second round of the 1983 NFL Draft to replace Ken Riley, Horton started 46 games in Cincinnati picking off 14 passes (two for touchdowns) during his six-year career with the Bengals. Horton's five interceptions during his rookie year in 1983 set a franchise record for a rookie. Why does this matter to the Bengals now?
On Wednesday, the Arizona Cardinals hired Pittsburgh Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton to take the vacant position as the team's defensive coordinator. Horton was also an assistant coach for the Bengals, Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions.
As Dave pointed out Wednesday night, according to the National Football Post, Horton is hiring Bengals assistant defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi as the Cardinals' secondary coach. Cioffi has been with the Bengals since 1997 at the start of Bruce Coslet's reign. Joe Reedy confirmed NFP's report that Cioffi will be leaving for Arizona.
However, Geoff Hobson writes on Thursday that the Cardinals have only asked for permission to interview Cioffi, but does appear to be "the leading candidate." If Cioffi leaves Cincinnati, it will mark the second coach with an extended tenure to leave the team this offseason. And sometimes changes within the coaching staff can bring as much of an improvement as changes on the roster.
From 2003-2009, the Bengals defense recorded 134 interceptions, ranking second in the NFL during that time. And of those picks, 112 have been recorded by defensive backs coached by Cioffi and defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle.