Arizona Cardinals target points allowed, turnovers on defense

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The coaching staff focuses more on the results of drives than the yards allowed.

The Arizona Cardinals had one of the league's strongest defenses a season ago, even though some of the rankings did not show it. They were fifth against the pass and 28th against the run, 17th overall and 12th in points against.

Coming into 2013, there is a different scheme and a new defensive coordinator, and perhaps the focus is slightly different.

For head coach Bruce Arians, there are really only two things he cares about -- turnovers and points against.

"Those are the only two things I want to lead the league in," he said. "I don't give a crap about where our defense is ranked because that's all yardage. If we lead the league in points against and turnovers, we've got a heck of a defense."

It makes sense. Those are the results of the defense. In the end, the yards allowed don't matter. It helps to give up less yards, as that makes it less likely that the opponent will score points, but it also doesn't matter how few yards you give up if you give up points. They go hand in hand, but the results are what matter.

The team's defense looks good so far in camp. Arians talked about what about the defense he likes.

"We've got excellent team speed," he said. "Our defensive backs have excellent ball skills, as do our linebackers. And we've got guys that can rush the passer. We'll be physical enough at safety and in front to stop the run, I think."

The only area he feels that needs strengthening? "The only other thing I'd like to see is a little more depth."

If healthy, the defense looks like it will be very physical and will get their hands on a lot of balls. Hopefully we will get to see this soon against other teams. The first preseason game for Arizona is this coming Friday in Green Bay at 5PM Arizona time.

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