Defense thriving under Bowles

Posted by Darren Urban on October 11, 2013 – 9:01 am

The Cardinals are just past the quarter-pole point in the season and the most difficult stretch of the season is about to begin with Sunday’s game in San Francisco. But at this point, whatever concerns there might have been in the switch of defensive coordinators from Ray Horton to Todd Bowles seem to be meaningless.

Heading into the 49ers game, the Cardinals are ranked 15th in total defense in the NFL and are allowing about 19 points a game. Last season, the Cards finished 12th in total defense but allowed more than 22 points a game. The big difference is in how the Cards are doing it. Horton’s D was fifth in the league against the pass, but only 28th against the run. Bowles has flipped that equation, with the Cardinals third against the run this season and 19th against the pass. You can argue a lot of ways with the statistics, including the fact the Cards were often playing from behind last season. But there is little question Bowles — quiet and subdued, in direct contrast to the brash Horton — has convinced his players he has the right plan.

“He’s very aggressive, a good dude, very humble, a players coach, understands the game, played the game for a long time,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said of Bowles. “He doesn’t have a ego, and he tries to do (plans) to make our team do the best.”

“(The defense) is not just about one or two guys making plays,” Dockett added. “That’s good when other teams are preparing for you. We have a defense full of talent. Biggest thing, everyone is making their play, and that’s what he tells us every week.”

That was one of the things that struck me when Bowles arrived. He knew, given what the defense did and the attention around Horton’s coaching candidacy with the Cardinals, that comparisons were inevitable. Bowles never got defensive about such questions, never seemed to let it faze him. He was going to do what he did, let the defense play, and let the performance speak for itself. So far, that’s worked out pretty well.

“I don’t know who would question (Bowles’ hiring),” head coach Bruce Arians said this week. “He was an interim head coach (in Miami) and went 3-1 down there and had a good defense. I know Bill Parcells doesn’t question that, and I certainly didn’t question it, so if you’re talking about replacing Ray Horton, that was never a doubt in my mind.”


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33 Responses to “Defense thriving under Bowles”

  1. By frustrated on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Certainly is taking care of business with the defense. Good job and glad to see the defense performing so well.

  2. By Dynosoar on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    I am still thrilled to think of the Ray Horton years. I’m thrilled to think of this and more years with Todd Bowles.

    A dynasty is successful because when someone leaves, another equally talented takes their place. Coach Whizenhunt began our journey to a dynasty, I feel Coach Arians will get us there.

    As a colleague of mine is fond of saying, “They’re exactly the same, only different.”

    Let’s show the 49ers and everyone who is dominant this Sunday. Let’s shock the world. It’s our year.

  3. By Mike G on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is well!– I’m glad Bowles is doing a nice job with the Cardinals defense. Through 5 games it seems the players are buying in. I actually thought before the season that the defense would struggle out of the gate and that the offense would be playing better. The Card’s have to key on Gore and Boldin in this upcoming game. I would load up the box to stop Gore at all cost and put Peterson on Boldin. Try to make those other players beat you!!! I think the key to the game for the defense is how well the Cards hold up at the point of attack & for the offense just not to turn it over and play smart conservative football. Hey Darren–The last regular season game for the Card’s at Candlestick Park–plenty of history and tradition in that stadium. Did you like going there over the years in covering the Card’s & is the sight line from the press box pretty good????

  4. By Darren Urban on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Candlestick

    I like the location near SF more than where the new place will be. But, no, I will not miss Candlestick or the press box. Not in the least.

  5. By Dynosoar on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    “They’re exactly the same, only different.”

    was a reference to Ray and Todd, not our HC’s.

    I get to see this game and the Seattle game. The only games this year I’d rather watch than this weeks would be a playoff run into the Super Bowl.

    I’d love to see our Cardinals build a foundation for their playoff run with solid play this week.

  6. By conrad on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    It is time we try G. Stanton after all the praise the coach gave him when he brought him in. Does not seem that he really believes in him now. If he does not work then we try R Lindley there can’t be that much of a difference in quality from C Palmer, so lets do it now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. By georgiebird on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Nice article but about 6 days and 15 hours premature if you know what I mean.

  8. By Berdj Rassam on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    The Cards defense is somewhere around the 10th best in the NFL so far this season – led by Dansby and Peterson, they have made some great plays. But the defense’s best games have come against the Panthers and the Bucs so let’s not get too excited.

  9. By LG on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Like i said after Sunday game. Bowles earned my respect for here on out cause at first when he came to the cardinals i did not like the move. because the eagles DEF was not good last year. so they let him go.but now i see he got this BIRDGANG DEF ready to go. so keep doing your thing Bowles. and the eagles DEF still sicks lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BIRDGANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. By Chris B on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Is Bowles on the side line or in the box? I can’t remember.

  11. By Darren Urban on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Chris B —

    RE: Whereabouts

    The photo doesn’t give it away?

  12. By LG on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    sideline always

  13. By azqfan on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Conrad, no offense but if you want to argue for a QB change because you feel that strongly about it, you should at least know the QB’s name. Its DREW Stanton, NOT G. Stanton. Also if you think Lindley could do no worse you are either blind or just started watching football Wednesday.

  14. By clssylssy on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    We have so much talent on the defensive side of the ball, they would probably do well without a DC. The way I see it, is Horton gave Bowles an excellent foundation to build upon, because all things considered, Bowles didn’t do so great in Philly and fans were calling for him to get fired after the Saints game.We have great leadership in our veterans and some rookies with wicked natural abilities. Nevertheless, we will be thrilled at the great job the defense and special teams players are doing and count our blessings!

  15. By Chuck 1 on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    I think that the key to the game won’t be stopping Boldin or Gore, but containing the runs of Kapernick (sp?). I realize that he hasn’t set the world on fire this season; however; he has the potential to “go off”.

  16. By Master P on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    It’s not the coach the defense is thriving under, it’s the talented players. This defense would be thriving under any one qualified to be a coordinator in the NFL.

  17. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Stuff the run, run it down their throats. Damn I’m looking forward to Sunday.

    Git ‘er done Cards.

  18. By azdesertrat1953 on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Just Darn good D. When Todd Bowles and the D get a handle on the passing yards and shut it down and with the run shut down, it is going to be a Wonderful thing to watch and it’s coming, maybe not real soon but it is coming.

    GO CARDS!!!

  19. By louis on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    we have a good def . but not a good off. we will lose sunday sorry we need a off.and a quaterback to have a good season.

  20. By D on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Well, the last time AZ won in the dump known as Candlestick Park,I was there in 2008. I believe this years defense has the best chance of slowing down the Cardinal killer, aka, F. Gore than in the past several years. Between the play of our 2 DT’s and 2 ILB, we have a chance to keep it close.Let’s hope the over agressive miss tackling team doesn’t show up due to being over hyped. The Captians need to steady both sides of the ball. We’ll see in this game, even without Aldon Smith if our new Left Tackle is a starter or our backup reserve next year behind our possible first round OT selection….

  21. By Eazy E on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    I mean you can’t sit there and act like he ain’t kept most of Ray Horton’s principles. In philly, people had a good reason to question Bowles being that the defense was soft and sorry as hell, that falls on the defensive coordinator and head coach. He didn’t blitz nearly as much in philly or any other place he’s been for that matter so Ray does still deserve a ton of credit for the success of the defense this year.

  22. By Bay Area Bad Boy on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    Heard your interview on KNBR. Nice way to promote the defense. Funny how they talked about the god awful QB play. I liked the way you talked around the question. Rod Brooks is a nucklehead. One hour before you got on the phone, they were talking about how the 49ers were going to blow the Cardinals out and cover the 11 point spread. I loved your interview, you did not take any crap and you sounded so positive about the Cardinals. Rod Brooks was all over Carson Palmer and rightfully so. But I like the way you reverted him to other QB’s in the NFL as well. Like how you promoted Mendenhall also Man, SF fans have no respect for the Cardinals. BA is Blunt. lol Great quote. The announcers on KNBR ate it up. Way to go making them worry about PP. It was great. Loved the remark about Matheiu being one of the best tacklers. Brooks said its gonna be a tough game. But after you got off the phone, they blasted the QB, RB and O-line. It’s just talk radio, but I would love to tune in on Monday and hear them talked how we won the game.

  23. By Darren Urban on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Bay Area —

    RE: KNBR

    Well, thanks for listening at least. They are going to say what they will say.

  24. By D on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    It’s not a rivalry until Cards start winning. Just ask the Lakers about the Suns or the Dodgers about the Dbacks. Maybe we can hope for overconfidence by the bums in the bay….

  25. By Dynosoar on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    Bay Area Bad Boy,

    Man! Your write up got me more hyped for Sunday than I already was. Wish I could’ve listened to the interview, if it was half as great as you describe it’d been a highlight for the week. Darren, thanks for giving them San Francisco fans something to worry about.

    This is going to be a great game to watch.

  26. By Peter in Canada on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    @Bay Area Up here all the smart money is going on the Cards. 11 is way out of line even if the Cards are on the road.

  27. By Timmy on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    I think it is hilarious how so many people were saying that Bowles sucks and we need to get rid of him like 3 weeks ago. Now he is the greatest thing ever, but Palmer sucks and we need to get rid of him. I know this offense is not good, but do any of you remember last year! This offense has put it together in the fourth quarter these last to games and got us the win. Obviously the defense is insanely better, but I truly believe that just a couple more weeks and a fully healthy Fitz, this thing is gonna start clicking. I don’t remember because I don’t watch their games but didn’t Indy start off slow last year and then tear it up at the end of the season. Let’s give it a little more time before we start talking about Lindley starting and how horrible the play calling is. When you watch the games they are not missing by much and there are definitely flashes. There is a lot to be optimistic about. Show some patience CARDS FANS, it could be worse. WE COULD BE THE GIANTS!

  28. By ored on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    really hoping to bring it all together this sunday,that would give seattle something to think about.just one complete game with everyone doing what they’re supposed to would be an enormous confidence it once and you know you can do it again.

    for those wanting a qb change,think back aways and remember how that turned out over and over again…we’re 3 and 2 and have’nt hit our stride yet, give it some time.

  29. By Chris B on Oct 11, 2013 | Reply

    ……. I am ashamed…..

  30. By Jerry on Oct 12, 2013 | Reply

    @D on. It was 2011 when we beat the 49ers in candlestick, John Skeltons best game and walked out with a proud W.our defense will hold them under 14 and if we can get Palmer motivated some how we will rock.

  31. By Darren Urban on Oct 12, 2013 | Reply

    Jerry —

    RE: 2011

    Skelton did QB a win over the Niners that year, but it was in Arizona, not SF.

  32. By brian r on Oct 12, 2013 | Reply

    lets beat the 9ers in that aweful stadium one last time

  33. By scott023 on Oct 13, 2013 | Reply

    We have great talent, our defense I think is the best. However, when we go into a game and it never fails who ever there high yard gainer and their highest td maker and we cover them with one man? Go figure? Davis had twice the yards and twice the td’s as any of the niners, so we cover him with one man. Go figure? We let them have their way. Our defense played their hearts out. Thank you all. This is not the fault of the players it is the coaches. We know our qb is going to throw at least two int’s and BA just does nothing about it. When Carson is on he is great. Lindley would of beat S.F. I truly believe that. What in the world is going on?? Only Eli throws more int’s than palmer. Please do something, Please! This is not going to happen with BA, so, why isn’t the G.M. doing anything about this. Palmer at the press conference only talked about the fumbles, Those int’s have put us behind the eight ball. You can not ever win like this ! Ever. Please help us.

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