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Young defense still learning, but improving

After a full season and a half the Cardinals finally won
on the road Sunday, knocking off the Eagles 21-17.

It’s no secret the defense played a big role in the win.

The Eagles went 3-15 on third downs, while quarterback
Michael Vick was held to 123 yards passing with two
interceptions.

It seems players are finally starting to soak up new
defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s system.

“I think that there is no question that they’re starting
to get a good feel for the defense,” head coach Ken
Whisenhunt said. “I also feel like they’re playing with a
little more confidence and that helps; we still make some
mistakes but I think you’re seeing our guys make some
plays they’re playing fast, being physical and they’re
getting confidence that when they do it right they can be
a pretty good unit.”

Earlier this season the defense was criticized for being
too old, but now that perception has changed with younger
players like Sam Acho, Daryl Washington and Calais
Campbell getting upgraded roles in the defense.

Even though the defense looks improved, it’s still a
scaled back version of Horton’s full scheme. Whisenhunt
said learning the complete defense will take time due to
all the new aspects.

“There’s a lot of flexibility with this defense that we
haven’t gotten to yet,” Whisenhunt said. “Our guys are
playing what we’ve got in pretty well and we had a good
plan for Philadelphia to try to match up to some of the
things that they did and our guys executed it.”

The Cardinals next game against the 8-1 San Francisco
49ers will be the a real test to see just how much this
defense has improved.