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Arizona Cardinals defense focusing on fundamentals, expecting big plays from defensive line

Calais Campbell gives some insight to what the team is doing defensively.


Returning to the practice field this week after a week off for the Arizona Cardinals led to a few mistakes. Defensive end Calais Campbell said "it's just natural" at this point in the offseason schedule. "Everytbody gets away from football a little bit," he said. "I'm sure a lot of guys weren't really in their playbook, but we still did okay. We did better than expected."

So, they are getting back into a groove and competing, and they are focusing on the fundamentals and technique, at least on the defensive line.

Said Campbell, "Every day, they (the coaches) are having us do a different drill, working on different techniques to help us get a lot better, stuff I guess we didn't have time to do in years past."

That was an interesting comment, either more praise for the new coaching staff, a dig on the previous staff or simply an observation.

However, as Padric Scott tweeted a few days ago, their line coach, Brentson Buckner is really big on technique. Scott described him as "a technician."

Naturally, part of the reason why they have time to do the extra drills is because they practice on two fields, the first and second teams on one field and the rest working on the other. There is less standing around and more reps.

Based on that, we should be able to hope for improved play from a technical standpoint.

What else can we expect? Campbell was asked to compare what Todd Bowles and the defensive staff are asking the players to do with the defense Ray Horton had the team playing the past two seasons.

"I think we're going to be a lot more aggressive going forward and making plays," Campbell described. "I definitely feel, as a defensive line, we'll make a lot more plays, more sacks, more batted balls, more tackles for loss, stuff that changes the game. So I'm excited and looking forward to that."

It is hard to think that a defense could be more aggressive than Ray Horton's. I think it has been well documented how the defensive line will be different under Bowles. They will be the ones expected to make plays.

Campbell is looking forward to it, and he is throwing words around like "smashmouth" and "aggressive." Those are the words he used to describe what Bruce Arians' style is. "He's just aggressive," he said. "I think it's going to be a smashmouth attack, go out there and make plays and make stuff happen. It's my kind of style, too, so I'll like it."

Will it win over the fans that grew to love and appreciate the work Horton did? That is the big question that remains.

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