The Arizona Cardinals finished 31st in the NFL in total defense in 2010. That, and the fact that the team hasn't been able to hand out playbooks to their players due to the lockout, hasn't stopped their new defensive coordinator from having lofty goals for his squad.
Ray Horton thinks the Cards defense won't just be improved next season but could be near the top of the league.
"I've looked at every game from last year," Horton told 3TV's Warren Trent. "I looked at the players. The things we need to work on are very correctable. If we're not remarkably improved, I'd be shocked. Not surprised but shocked if we're not one of the better defenses in the league."
It's a bold statement for a first year coach who hasn't even been able to meet his new defensive players let alone teach them a new defensive scheme. One has to wonder if, for a moment, he forgot that he was no longer in Pittsburgh but rather in Arizona.
While bold statements and confidence are good characteristics for a coach to have, Cardinal fans are hesitant to buy in to that kind of act after hearing false bravado and hallow promises from the likes of Buddy Ryan and Denny Green. After a disappointing 5-11 campaign Horton and his defense will have to back up his offseason talk on the field this fall if he wants fans to believe that things have truly changed.
Making that happen will be a tough task for a first year coordinator. Especially since we're just weeks away from the scheduled start of the preseason and the pieces he'll have to work with are still a mystery.