Ray Horton did an outstanding job with our defense when he arrived in the desert. This offseason, Ray Horton was a victim of Bruce Arians overhaul of both the roster and staff. In his place is Todd Bowles, a journeyman defensive Back coach, who began his career as a Player Personnel man.
He was a defensive coordinator twice, both in small schools from 1997-1999. In 1997, he was the DC for Morehouse College, where they gave up an average of 21 PPG, (Points Per Game). The offensive was not helpful but the defense was the cause of two surefire losses, a 52-0 route by Howard, and a 36-9 loss from Miles College.
He would depart from Morehouse to move on to Grambling State. In 1998 his stats took a turn for the worse. His defense gave up an average of 28 PPG, giving up 40+ on five occasions, and 50+ twice. However thanks to a 5-6 record and hope for the next season he was able to retain one more season...
In 1999, he helped his team pick up two more wins going 7-6 and only submitted an average of 24 PPG. He left that season to begin his NFL coaching career as a DB coach.
However, he did not become a NFL level defensive coordinator until Week 8 of last season following a 3-3 start to the season, when Juan Castillo was fired after a 26-23 loss to the Lions. When Bowles stepped into the spotlight, the defense had already appeared to have quit, but the wobbly wheels came off the wagon.
During Bowles interim tenure, the Eagles gave up an astounding 32 PPG. However, statistically they were ranked better in run defense than Arizona was.
The Eagles ranked 23rd allowing 126 YPG (Yards Per Game), while ours was 28th, allowing 137 YPG. Our secondary was rated fifth in the league allowing 201 YPG, while the Eagles rated ninth in the league, allowing 216 YPG.
Possibly the best thing for Bowles coming here... Is that our offense actually had a better turnover margin than the Eagles. -1 turnover differential for Arizona while it was -24 for the Eagles.
Todd Bowles is coming into a defense full of ballhawking players. The Eagles defense looked like it had quit, and it was supported in its inability to force a turnover. That more than likely won't be a problem in Arizona, with Patrick Peterson, Rashad Johnson, Daryl Washington, Karlos Dansby, and our beasts in the trenches.
The offense will help as well. The offense was terrible last year -- there's no sugarcoating it. However, Bruce Arians acquired Carson Palmer, plugged in Rashad Mendenhall to the backfield, plus two bright young rookies, and built up, on paper, a good looking O-Line.
What makes Bowles that much more likely to succeed is that, unlike Horton, who took some time to gain the trust of his players, Bowles has already earned the respect and trust of our defensive leaders, Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett. They speak highly of him on a consistent basis, and Dockett has already proclaimed that he loves Bowles' scheme.
It's to early to be guesstimating whether or not Bowles will succeed in the desert, but on paper he has the tools, the environment, and the trust of his players to fill in nicely for Ray Horton.