The Arizona Cardinals offense has been subject to a lot of scrutiny over the last few weeks because it has struggled down the stretch of games.
However, it is the defense that seems to be garnering more concern from the Cardinals coaching staff, and rightfully so. Because if the defense does what it is supposed to, the offense won't be placed in situations where it needs a touchdown late in games.
"I think you have to make sure that you change things up," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said when addressing the defense, "but you have to execute what you change up. You can't just play zone or you can't just pressure because you don't want to give up the big play."
The big play has been a big problem for the Cardinals this season; they are tied for second worst in the NFL as they have given up 23 passing plays of over 20 yards already this season.
"You see a lot of things from the defensive side of the ball that are getting better. I would say that's fairly characteristic of installing a new scheme and getting guys on the same page."
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, time is running out on this defense. They need to pick up Ray Horton's system soon before the playoffs fall out of reach.
Everyone on the team realizes how important a win this Sunday is, and while no one would call it a "must win," the players stressed how bad they want the victory.
"We knew there [were] going to be challenges," Cardinals guard Daryn Colledge said, "but like any group of professional men we want to win and that's what's most important so right now that's what we need to figure out how to do."
Coach Whisenhunt knows achieving victory against a team that is just as, if not more desperate to win than the Cardinals will not come easily, especially on the road. "It's going to be a tough game, they play hard, they've got good football players," Whisenhunt said.
"They haven't been able to finish out a game much like us. Obviously one of the two teams will be able to finish the game this week. My hope is that it's us."