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Ray Horton: 'I'm going to try to knock Buffalo's socks off'

By Mark Gaughan

Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton told reporters in Phoenix today that he would be meeting with the Buffalo Bills this afternoon and was eager to make a great impression.

Horton already has been interviewed by the Cardinals and Cleveland Browns.

"I'm excited about the opportunity here [in Arizona] and the fantastic interview I had with Cleveland last night and going to try to knock Buffalo's socks off," Horton said.

Horton, 52, coached a Cardinals defense that ranked 12th in the NFL this season. Arizona was fifth in sacks, second on third downs, first in interceptions. They were 17th in points allowed, a category that was hindered by the fact the Arizona offense ranked last in the league.

Horton is viewed as a strong personality with leadership ability. He is a protege of Pittsburgh Hall-of-Fame coach Dick LeBeau, for whom he both played and coached. Horton was on LeBeau's staff in Cincinnati from 1997 to 2001. He was defensive backs coach in Pittsburgh (where LeBeau is defensive coordinator) from 2004 to 2010. 

Horton said he does not worry about being pidgeon-holed as a defensive coach.

"I think I'm a coach of men," he said. "I talk about a plan to build a team. I don't talk about, 'Hey, I can build this offense or this defense and good luck with the rest of the team.' Whether you're an offensive coach, you've got to have a defensive guy who can do something on that side. It all blends together. I think that's a zero issue."

Horton also declared he would not call the defensive signals if he became a head coach.

"Nope. I delegate," Horton said. "I think a guy that controls everything controls nothing. I would be there to assist and help if needed. But I trust the coaches I hire to be experts at their positions.

"Now, am I going to get 11, 15, 22 experts who are going to be experts at every position? Probably not. But the two coordinators are going to be experts. Really, in my power structure, that's how it works. Your head coach and two coordinators have to be expert at their position. It's a trickle-down effect of getting this guy to do this and 'Hey, coach this this way and do that.'

"There's a hierarchy of critical positions. The quality control is not the most critical position on the staff."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |