Dialing it up on defense

Posted by Darren Urban on December 15, 2011 – 10:29 am

The Cards, now, are coming from everywhere.

The development of the defense — and the ability for defensive coordinator Ray Horton to call a lot of different plays now — has changed the way they attack the opposing passing game. Two games in a row, they have five sacks from five different players (eight players overall; Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett have gone back-to-back. The others: Nose tackle Nick Eason — pictured below — and linebackers O’Brien Schofield, Paris Lenon, Clark Haggans and Daryl Washington, along with cornerback Patrick Peterson.

“That’s the evidence they are getting it,” Horton said. “I was watching (Cowboys quarterback) Tony Romo and I could see it, we did things he wasn’t expecting,” Horton said. “Now that every single guy can blitz, the package is starting to come together.”

Peterson’s sack — the first of his career — came on a play where both he and fellow cornerback Michael Adams blitzed.

“Coach Horton has definitely been dialing it up lately,” Peterson said. “To have five different guys get five sacks the last two games, that’s unbelievable. Everyone is getting in on the party. I got my first sack, so you know he is sending them from everywhere when a cornerback is getting his first sack. It’s a pleasure to be playing in this type of defense because guys don’t know where we are coming from.”

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20 Responses to “Dialing it up on defense”

  1. By Jesse Robles on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply


  2. By jocards on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    I was skeptical about Ray Horton and his system at first but I must admit he seems to know what he is doing. The defense has really keyed this recent rise and Horton & the players deserve credit. The really encouraging thing to me is that a lot of our younger guys are making major contributions. Watching the game against the 49ers I actually began to feel like we might get to Alex Smith anytime he dropped back to pass…and I think he began to feel the same way a little. It has been really nice to see the team playing solid football over the last month and half. I’m not even entertaining thoughts of the post season myself but it sure would be nice to see the team finish the season strongly….Go get a win Sunday!

  3. By Chuck 1 on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    You’re correct, Jesse, no matter which sport one is talking about.

  4. By Cards4ever on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    The only downside to having a great defense is Horton won’t be here for long before teams start calling him for HC positions. Such is life in the NFL, enjoy it while he’s here!

  5. By CardsFan on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    just like I said earlier in the year that we would see a totally different cardinal team after the bye week, I STAND CORRECT!!! GREAT JOB GUYS, KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!

  6. By Leslie on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    Off subject. I bought my son a Patrick Peterson jersey (hard to find) I was wondering if there is any autograph sessions at all between now and Christmas? I know he won’t be at The Big Red Rage.

  7. By Darren Urban on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    Leslie —

    RE: Autographs

    Not as far as I know.

  8. By Tyrelle on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, how is the team looking mentally wise? Do they seem focused now or do they seem like, because Cleveland is 4-9, they should take them lightly? We know how in previous years, teams the Cards should beat they lose to them.

  9. By Darren Urban on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    Tyrelle —

    RE: Mental state

    They seem fine to me. But frankly, that hasn’t always been a good indicator either way. There have been weeks where they looked off-kilter and still won.

  10. By Burdoneski on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    what is most impressive to me is how all the veterans (dockett,wilson,campbell ect.) adjusted to the new scheme that R. Horton brought. they were accustomed to the 3-4 and from what im hearing, this scheme is very complex with a variety of multiple packages including alot of blitz packages. Ray Horton brought A-dub back to life because clancy pendergast (’08) and bill davis (’09) didnt know how to use such a great pro-bowler with alot STILL in his tank. our pass coverage is still a little vulnerable but dont tall P-TWICE that because when the opposing teams offense game plan against our D PLEASE BELIEVE they our hesisitant to throw his way. I been a cardinal fan all my life and I never seen a D like this. I REALLY HOPE OTHER TEAMS DONT LOOK AT RAY HORTON UNTIL WE WIN A SUPER BOWL. hes our best kept secret but in one year and half a year at that hes already exposed as a legitimate defenseive coordinator. THIS TEAM HAS ALOT OF HEART CAUSE AFTER A 1-6 START most teams would be singing Andrew luck’s praises. be paitent with “helter skelter”. Im not sure about Kolb.

  11. By Shaun Church on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply


    Many coaches are lifetime coordinators. Look at Horton’s mentor, Dick LeBeau. Other than a brief failure in Cincinnati as head coach, he made his name as a defensive genius.

    The late Jim Johnson also made his money as a career defensive coach (even with the Cards and helped Aenaes Williams become what he became).

    I don’t know if he wants to be a head coach. I don’t know him and haven’t heard otherwise, but success as a coordinator is far better than the stress and potential failure of a head coach.

    Maybe Darren can ask?

  12. By Emil Dogar on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    @Cards4ever. You’re right, but that doesn’t translate necessarily into success(see Todd Haley). So, they better be careful about that too. Steelers are lucky Dick LeBeau didn’t want to leave the team and he stayed there and did a great job. That commitment is rarely in today’s NFL.

  13. By Bob-O! on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    uhhh, Nick Eason’s arm is the Size of Alex Smith… I’d fall down too and make darn sure there would be no eye contact involved. Daren, How is Kerry Rhodes holding up; A) with his injury and B) The emerging understanding of the Horton Plague. (and i mean that in the most positive God Fearing like manner possible)

  14. By Darren Urban on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    Bob-O —

    RE: Rhodes

    I expect Rhodes to play this week in a reserve role as he tries to work back into the swing of things.

  15. By Chuck 1 on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    Off topic, and at the risk of beating a dead horse, I’ll revisit the Kolb concussion issue again.

    In reading yesterday’s and today’s Sports sections (are there any other sections in the papers?), I notice that:

    * “Philadelphia Flyers star, Claude Giroux, is out indefinitely because of a concussion” AND
    * “Leading scorer Jeff Skinner and key defenseman Joni Pitkanen of the Carolina Hurricanes are out indefinitely because of concussions”.


    I think that all of these athletes (INCLUDING McCoy and Kolb) are FAKING IT!!!

    With the money that they’re making, they should be on the ice or field!!!

    Are the MACHO fans able to detect sarcasm? Probably not.

  16. By jocards on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    @ Shaun Church

    Dick LeBeau was head man in Cincinnati, not Cleveland…just an FYI but your point is still well taken.

  17. By jocards on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    @ Shaun Church

    I must have read your post wrong….my mistake, nevermind.

  18. By Brian on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    It’d be awesome if Todd Haley was offensive coordinator. Imagine having the offense we had in ’08 and the defense we have now?

    Sick.. 🙂

  19. By Burdoneski on Dec 15, 2011 | Reply

    @ brian

    i thought the same thing, but alot has changed since the superbowl run season. Q became a raven and breaston is in kansas city. I think mike miller could be something special with a little time. Im really digging his balance. He only seems to get one sided when Johnny boy gets hot. Be careful Mike, cause if im noticing than im sure the opposing team is as well.

  20. By Cards4ever on Dec 16, 2011 | Reply

    Sure, there’s always a risk of being a failure at Head Coaching, but Horton is smart and the money can be a whole lot better! I say Horton doesn’t get through his contract before other teams start asking permission to speak with him. HE’S THAT GOOD!!

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