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State of the AFC North: Coaching changes coming for Browns and Ravens

The Browns fired a bunch of their coaches and will have many new names joining the coaching ranks. Meanwhile, the Ravens lost their defensive backs coach (former Bengals’ defensive coordinator) Leslie Frazier to the Bills.

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

While the Steelers have been busy winning in the playoffs, the Ravens and Browns have been seeing coaches leave their cities, though for different reasons. Here’s a look at the latest happenings around the AFC North for the Ravens and Browns, who are both off to interesting starts to the offseason.

The Baltimore Ravens

  • Named Greg Roman senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach.
  • Promoted tight ends coach Richard Angulo to assistant offensive line coach.
  • Lost secondary coach Leslie Frazier to the Bills.

Baltimore lose secondary coach

The Ravens were hit with an unexpected loss. Leslie Frazier left Baltimore to join the Buffalo staff as their defensive coordinator.

Frazier spent one season in Baltimore after spending two years as the Tampa Bay defensive coordinator. He also spent two years from 2003-2004 as the Bengals' defensive coordinator.

The Ravens defense was among the top 10 defenses this season. The Ravens finished the season as the No. 7 defense in terms of yards per game, 9th in points per game, 5th against the rush and 9th against the pass. It will be interesting to see how the secondary does next season with a new coach.

The Cleveland Browns

Browns coaching changes

  • The Browns fired defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland, offensive line coach Hal Hunter, assistant defensive backs coach Cannon Matthews and outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik.
  • Associate head coach: offense, Pep Hamilton left the team for a job as the assistant head coach and passing game coordinator at University of Michigan.
  • The Browns fired defensive coordinator Ray Horton and named Gregg Williams defensive coordinator.

Browns hire Gregg Williams

The Browns, after preaching continuity, have changed both offensive and defensive coordinators. Pep Hamilton leaving isn’t as big of a deal since Hue Jackson runs most of the offense. But, the Change from Ray Horton to Gregg Williams is an interesting one.

Horton’s second stint with the Browns wasn’t any better than the first. The defense looked like a steaming pile of... well it’s something brown. Horton was caught in a weird limbo though. It was reported that Cleveland would fire him if they could add Williams. Obviously they were able to, and now Horton is out.

Williams is famous for his role in Bountygate (I can’t wait for the day a scandal happens and we don’t just add gate to the end of it.) He has been the defensive coordinator for the Rams the past two years, since being reinstated by the league.

Williams’ defense should look a lot different than Horton’s. Williams runs a 4-3 defense, but he loves to bring pressure. The corners will have to carry a larger burden as they will be in single coverage more often, but if the Browns can get to the quarterback, that won’t be a problem. If the Browns add Myles Garrett in the draft, he could instantly help Williams’ vision of striking fear in quarterbacks’ eyes.

Cleveland shouldn’t overthink first pick

This will be the headline for the whole offseason with the Browns. Who will they take with the first overall pick? Whoever this regime takes better be good. The team just made its fan base endure a season where they seemed to to not care about winning. Whoever the No. 1 overall pick is, he better be able to live up to the hype of being the first overall pick.

That player likely is Myles Garrett, the dynamic pass rusher out of Texas A&M. He is by far the best player in the draft. After the National Championship game, there has been a lot of buzz around Deshaun Watson being the pick. While he could be a good player, there are still a lot of question marks around him and the Browns need to be really sure he’s their answer at quarterback if they take him with the No. 1 overall pick.

The Clemson system is a very quarterback-friendly system. Watson didn’t make a lot of down field throws and he also had A TON of talent surrounding him. Still, he had 17 interceptions this season, which is highly concerning. Watson will need to prove himself in private workouts and at his pro day.

If you’re the Browns, you know you can’t mess up the No. 1 pick so they need to think it through, but not overthink it.