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Cardinals defense takes step forward in loss

And they’re back.

The sloppy, mistake-ridden Cardinals fans have become used
to watching on Sundays have returned.

The team that racked up two straight wins seemed to be
M.I.A. Sunday against the 49ers.

The Cardinals had five turnovers, allowed 431 yards of
offense, only had the ball for just over 15 minutes the
whole game and even benched John Skelton for Richard
Bartel in the 23-7 loss to San Francisco.

Most would see the performance as a step in the wrong
direction, however, head coach Ken Whisenhunt believes a
part of his team is actually improving.

“We put the defense in a difficult position yesterday, but
I really believe they played well,” Whisenhunt said. “They
did a great job in the first half of responding to tough
situations and keeping the points down, so I believe the
defense is improving, it’s a good sign.”

The defense did hold the Niners to only three field goals
in the first half, leaving the offense with just a 9-0
hole to dig out of. Whisenhunt believed they didn’t climb
out because of the lopsided time of possession.

“They had it a long time, well five turnovers will
contribute to that,” Whisenhunt said. “Obviously our
defense did a nice job early in the game, but when you put
them out there on the field that long they’ll get worn
down and that what enables the other team to even have
longer drives.”

Whisenhunt attributes the improvement to the players
having more time in defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s
system.

“There’s no question they’re more comfortable with the
scheme,” Whisenhunt said. “I think the communication is
much better as far as making sure everybody is in the
right gap, adjusting to the front there’s no question the
players are getting a little chemistry with each other and
some of our younger players are starting to get it.”