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Cardinals Vs. Seahawks Practice Notes: Defense A Work In Progress But For How Long?

At this point we get it, the Arizona Cardinals defense is a work in progress. They have a new defensive coordinator in Ray Horton and with him, a new defensive philosophy and scheme. The defense is complicated and we've been told (repeatedly) that without the benefit of OTAs and mini-camps, they are behind schedule. We can guarantee the Seattle Seahawks don't care about those excuses and at some point soon, Cardinals fans won't either.

The team claims they made progress this week and they are confident that once they stop making the mistakes they are making that they can and will be a good defensive team. Obviously, the proof will be in beating the pudding out of teams on a consistent basis.

"If last week's game was any indication, an East Coast game where things could have gone wrong and we hung in there and made enough plays to have a chance to win it, ultimately we're going to be OK if we can keep that up," Ken Whisenhunt said on Thursday.

If you want to get specific, the issues on the defensive end have to do with a lack of understanding of the concepts. As Whisenhunt explains it, when the team sees things they haven't prepared for on film (which always happens) they don't have enough of a gut-level knowledge of the new rules to fall back on and that leads to mistakes.

Darnell Dockett echoed that and took it a bit further stressing the need for the defense to communicate better on and off the field, "This week was very huge for us as a team, just communicating and putting a lot of egos to the side and just focusing on doing the right things no matter who makes the plays."

The Cardinals fully understand that the Seahawks will be fired up for this game and despite Seattle's 0-2 start to the season and poor showings in those losses, aren't taking anything for granted.

"They have players that can make a lot of plays. They have really good running backs, they've got some good receiving threats and  tight ends are active. The have a quarterback who can make plays with his feet and definitely has a good arm. It's a challenge but it's a challenge I'm looking forward to," Paris Lenon said about Sunday's content.

Asked how long this learning process should take, Dockett said it takes time and dedication and there's no time limit on getting better.

Other notes and quotes:


  • We feel good about our defense going into Seattle but it's a process. It's hard, you live with it. Guys really focused on trying to get better.
  • "There's times in games where we're doing it right and we're very good and that's what we're going to hang our hat on. When we do it right we've got a chance to be a good football team. Our goal is to do more things right this week."
  • It's two games. Don't know if you can have a desperate team after two games.
  • "I know that Seattle beat us twice last year. I know that Seattle is a tough place to play. We're preparing this week to go in there and not make as many mistakes and hopefully get a win."
  • They are like us. They've made mistakes. They've got young guys they are trying to bring along. It's tough to win games in this league. 
  • Hopefully get opportunity to see more tomorrow on Daryl Washington.
  • "I would think that where he (Washington) is, the way he studied, the way he's done in preseason without making a lot of mistakes that he could certainly go in there and play well (despite missing practice time)."

Paris Lenon

  • "I'm not going to speak specifically on the linebacker group. I think as a total defense we're not where we want to be and we're trying to work to get to playing the kind of football that we want to play."
  • Dont' have timeline. Need to be ready to roll this week. 
  • "Every football team in the National Football League is dangerous. I don't think they're more dangerous because they're 0-2. I think they'll definitely be pretty fired up to be 0-2 and playing at home. They're going to come out there with the guns blazing. We've got to jump on 'em and try and keep them down."

Darnell Dockett

  • Trying to focus on ourselves and get things straight on our end. Not worried about Seattle and what they have going on. Nobody buying into only 17 points, 0-2 start.
  • They will be fired up playing at home for the first time and getting the NFC West banner.
  • "When you play against a team that's 0-2, they will do anything to win."
  • "I don't buy into that. Any time the Arizona Cardinals go play Seattle it's a football game. They play their best game and bring out all their bullets."
  •  It's a lot of stuff. It's a complicated defense but we're learning it. Guys are buying it. Main thing is trying to learn it.
  • When made plays were doing the right things. Times that hurt when 10 guys doing the right thing and one guy not.
  • Biggest thing being communication and studying. 
  • "Once we get it all down, and we will get it all down because that's our job as professionals, we're going to be one of the best defenses."
  • "Me personally, speaking for myself, I've played in the same defense for seven years. The same job. So this is a new assignments, some new responsibilities but it's OK because you look at over the last seven years how many games did we win."
  • Coach Horton is a fair guy. He says if we don't like we, we don't have to run it but he explains why we should.
  • Effort is there when you watch film. Might have blown assignments but effort is there.
  • As a defensive line, we make a mistake you don't see it. But if a cornerback or safety makes a mistake it's all on SportsCenter.
  • "As a D-line we have to do a better job when we get our one-on-one opportunities to win so we can help our secondary out. That's what it's all about. It's about the team defense."
  • Can't have dumb penalties but can't take away aggressiveness. 
  • "I always emphasize to my team, don't ever be a punk. If somebody do something to you, you do something back. If you continue to let them do it then you're going to have a long day. I always emphasize that. We're ain't going to let nobody just come push us in the helmet, push us in the back, step on our hands or do crazy stuff to us and not do nothing back. We're some grown men and to play with that attitude you have to respond sometimes but also you've got to be smart about it."