It was Thursday before the Detroit game — probably not coincidentally, a few days after the Cardinals played their first game that counted — when defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said “we kind of figured out as coaches who were are and what we are and who we have.”
What was it in particular, Bowles was asked. “Nothing. It just kind of clicked. You walk to practice every day and work on things and you step back and think, you know who we are? And it kind of hits you. We started working toward that.”
So, even after the fear of switching to Bowles from Ray Horton and then losing starting linebackers Lorenzo Alexander and Sam Acho for the season in the third game of the year, the Cardinals’ defense has reached the midway point in pretty good shape — and looking, statistically, a lot like the unit that was solid for the Cardinals last year.
At this point, the Cardinals are 15th in overall defense (which is yards per game), 13th in scoring defense, tied for 10th in sacks, tied for first in fumble recoveries (7) and tied for third in interceptions (12). There are some holes with which to deal — big, athletic tight ends, for instance — but there has been very good play from the guys who were supposed to be good (Campbell, Dockett, Washington, Peterson), veteran help (Karlos Dansby has been better than anticipated) and rookie upgrades (Tyrann Mathieu has been immediately impressive.)
What is interesting to note is that over the next six games, the Cards face just one big-time quarterback — Andrew Luck of Indianapolis. Otherwise, it is (right now), Case Keenum, Chad Henne, Nick Foles, Kellen Clemens and Jake Locker. Not exactly murderer’s row. That will help in pushing for the postseason.
— The Cardinals are holding their final practice of the bye week today. There will be no injury report, of course, but coach Bruce Arians has the team in full pads. Running back Rashard Mendenhall (toe) and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) were the Cards sitting out.
Tags: Larry Fitzgerald, Rashard Mendenhall, Todd Bowles
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