First-year Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton knew it would take time.
Installing a new defense in the NFL is difficult enough, especially without the benefit of off-season mini-camps and a full training camp due to the lockout.
The Red Birds have experienced their share of growing pains while learning on the job, but it appears Horton’s defense has turned the corner as the Cards have stormed back from a 1-6 start and can get back to .500 with a win this weekend against the struggling Browns.
“We are finally to the point now where I trust us,” Horton explained. “(Our) players understand the system enough where I can put the whole package in. Right now you have to account for everybody on the field.”
The Cardinals put together arguably their best performance of the season in last week’s 21-19 win over the NFC West Champion 49ers. Arizona limited San Francisco to just 233 net yards and the Niners converted just 3-17 third downs.
“The light switch went on defensively about four five weeks ago and they started playing pretty good defense,” CBS NFL analyst Steve Tasker told Brad Cesmat on “Big Guy on Sports.” “Right now, there aren’t too many teams that want a piece of them, defensively. There aren’t too many teams that they’re going to fear.”
Steve Tasker on ‘Big Guy on Sports’
Even after their six-game losing streak, the Cardinals have re-positioned themselves for an outside shot at a spot in the playoffs with three weeks remaining in the regular season.
Kickoff Sunday against Cleveland is set for 2:15 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.