The Arizona Cardinals defense is taking plenty of flack for giving up 932 yards in their first two games. The coaching staff remains confident, however, that it's only a matter of time before things fall into place. They continue to cite the lack of offseason prep time which was taken away by the lockout and stress the complexity of the new system.
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton said Friday that he didn't think it would take this long for the players to adjust to the changes, but in light of what they've seen so far they will scale back for now.
"I think you are going to get a scaled back game on both sides of the ball," Horton said. "I heard (Seahawks coach) Pete Carroll up there saying the same thing. We're trying to figure out what we can do best. We're trying to get them to not think and play fast so we've cut down some things, the complicated things, out of the package."
If you are an optimist you can take solace in the fact that all but one of the big plays allowed were the result of blown assignments which are mostly coming from miscommunication on the field which results in guys not being on the same page.
On the plays when the defense has properly executed the scheme, the results have been positive. The hope is that with more time and by scaling back more of the complex parts the defense can gain some momentum and eventually build back to the full scheme.
"They were embarrassed and they're mad that we're cutting back on this," Horton reported. "They said, 'Coach, don't do that to us.' I told them as we learn, we'll put it back in."
Darnell Dockett getting there
The Cardinals star defensive lineman told Coach Horton this week that he feels like things are starting to click for him. He explained to the media on Wednesday how challenging the new system has been for him.
"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."
Horton said that Dockett previously lineup on the outside edge of his man and rushed from that position every time. Now he's being moved around to the inside or nose-over and being asked to "two-gap" which is more of a traditional nose tackle responsibility. In two-gap responsibility the lineman has to read the play and go either to his right or left as opposed to having a clearly define gap on each play.
The defense Ray Horton brought over from the Pittsburgh Steelers was on display in Week 2 against the Seahawks. Horton showed the film to his players to demonstrate how things are supposed to work.
"We showed our players and they were marveled at how fast (Pittsburgh) played and how fast they can get to a point. They know the call, they don't have to think."
Coach Ken Whisenhunt reported that RB Beanie Wells is a game-time decision but Wells said Friday that he's confident he will play against Seattle. If you are having to make a fantasy start/sit decision, we can't help you any more than that.
Wells was limited in practice on Thursday due to tightness in his hamstring. Whisenhunt said they were being conservative "as opposed to injuring it".
RB Chester Taylor got more reps in practice with Wells resting. Whisenhunt said he's confident in Taylor and his other running backs, Alfonso Smith and LaRod Stephens-Howling.
LaRod (hand) and ILB Daryl Washington did more in practice but are also officially being called a Sunday decision. Whisenhunt did say, "But I'm excited to see those guys back on the field."