If there is one thing that has the players and fans excited about the 2012 season for the Arizona Cardinals, it is the possibility of a defense that can improve upon its second half performance. Offensively, there are lots of questions, as the running game is not certain with two running backs recovering from knee surgeries and the quarterback situation being what it is, but the defense is encouraging.
Linebacker Daryl Washington and defensive coordinator Ray Horton feel good about the defensive schemes. Said Horton, "It is proven. It's like taxes and death. You know it's going to work. So there's no hesitation that way."
Washington echoes the confidence, saying, "His scheme works, we all trust it and we're ready to go."
Horton is more excited this year because there is less of a learning curve. The defense is complex, and it took time for the team to adjust. "We are now practicing some stuff that we've never done before," as opposed to 2011, when he even had to pull back to some of the basics until the players were able to handle that.
The difference is that this year, according to Washington, they know what they are doing. "I'm a lot more confident with the defense. I think a lot of guys are more confident with the defense," Washington told media after the final practice of the offseason. "Now we can just play rather than think so much."
The goal? a Top-10 defense. It looks like they can do it. The talent is there.
What would be the result? "Usually a top-10 defense is in the playoffs," Horton said. "And that's where we want to be."
With the cloud of doubt at the quarterback position, which in turn makes the whole offense a question mark, the defense is taking charge. That way, if the offense is only mediocre, but doesn't turnover the ball, a playoff run is not out of the question.
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