Last season's Arizona Cardinals sucked. End of story.
(Wait, that doesn't fulfill number of words for a blog?)
Okay. But the one half of the team that played better than average was the defense. They were ranked 12th overall, fifth against the pass and third in red zone defense and takeaways. The defense last year was the one saving grace, probably the reason the team merited 5 wins in the first place.
But now it's deceased. The 2012 Arizona Cardinals defense has gone to that big 46 scheme in the sky. In a change of pace, the only "working" part of the team that had been succeeding is being replaced.
How does the saying go, "If it ain' t broke, don't fix it"? Well, Head Coach Bruce Arians is trying to correct it.
In the first place, resident defensive coordinator Ray Horton was replaced by longtime aquaintance and former player at Temple University safety Todd Bowles. It was understood that when Arians agreed to becoming the head guy that Bowles would follow - no questions asked- which I'm assuming Horton not only heard, but said a "who?" and the former Philadelphia Eagle DC was promoted and Horton found a similar job "like five minutes later" with the Cleveland Browns.
Then came the dismantling of the players on the defensive side.
SS Adrian Wilson: Gone.
FS Kerry Rhodes: Gone.
CB Greg Toler: Gone.
LB Quentin Groves: Gone.
UFAs ILB Paris Lenon, DEs Vonnie Holiday and Nick Eason, CB Micheal Adams: Most likely gone.
Douglas C. Niedermeyer: Gone: (whoops, Animal House mistake.)
So how does the former over-the-top-in-your-face coordinator compare to the present DC? Other than a polar personality not much is known.
Bowles has publicly stated that he will keep the basic 3 defensive lineman- 4 linebacker scheme that Horton used but I tend to think that it will be more basic and conservative than the hybrid-throwing-everything-but-the-kitchen sink approach that was used last season. Players will be expected to play their gaps and blitzes will come from traditional positions, like the outside linebackers. DE Darnell Dockett has been "promised" more one-on-one situations, like he was successful in before. It will be less risk taking and more balanced. But will it be as good as last season?
Or will I be starting with the same opening statement next time about this subject?