CLEVELAND -- One week after making sweeping changes to the defensive coaching staff, the Cleveland Browns continued the rebuilding process and announced the hiring of five new assistants on Thursday morning.
The Browns have added Jerod Kruse (assistant defensive backs), Clyde Simmons (defensive line), DeWayne Walker (defensive backs), Blake Williams (linebackers) and Bob Wylie (offensive line) to the coaching staff for the 2017 season.
“Over the last two weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time interviewing coaches and have had some difficult decisions to make,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said in a release announcing the moves. “As I’ve said before, that’s part of my responsibility in my role as head coach of this football team as we are constantly striving for improvement and success.
“Coaching is always going to be about teaching, and it was very important that we found the right coaches that will come in and be able to help our players reach their full potential. We always talk about creating the right environment for our players to succeed, and I believe the group we’ve been able to assemble will help us accomplish just that.”
Most recently the defensive coordinator for Lee’s Summit West High School in Missouri, Kruse brings with him to Cleveland 16 years of coaching experience, including 15 at the collegiate level.
A guest coach of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with the New Orleans Saints (2008-2011) and Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams (2012-2015), Kruse was the associate head coach and special-teams coordinator at Southeastern Louisiana University (2015), and previously, the head coach at William Jewell College (2010-2015), where he was the Great Lakes Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2014.
For the last five seasons, Simmons was the assistant defensive line coach with the Rams, where he mentored three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2014, as well as All-Pro end Robert Quinn, who set a franchise record with 19 sacks in 2013.
During Simmons’ tenure, the Rams totaled 217 sacks, the third-most in the National Football League over that time, and had a league-high 52 in 2012.
Simmons was a two-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro during his 15-year playing career. His 121.5 sacks, including a career-best 19 in 1992, puts him in the top 20 all-time, and his 236 games played are tied for the fourth-most ever by a defensive lineman.
Walker has 11 years of NFL coaching experience, most recently with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-2016), where he developed cornerback Jalen Ramsey into the first rookie in franchise history to record an interception in back-to-back games and return one for a touchdown.
Williams comes to the Browns after a year of work with the NFL office in 2016. He previously served as the defensive coordinator at Southeastern Louisiana University (2015) and defensive consultant at William Jewell College (2013-2014).
From 2009-2011, Williams was an offensive assistant with the Saints and handled the linebackers coach/defensive coordinator duties for St. Louis in 2012.
Wylie has been in coaching for 35 years, including 16 in the NFL, another six in the Canadian Football League and 13 on the collegiate level.
For the past three years, Wylie was the offensive line coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Blue Bombers competed twice for the Grey Cup and had all-star selections at every position along the line under Wylie’s guidance.