The Arizona Cardinals defense, which is coming off a poor showing against the San Francisco 49ers, needs to step it up against a potent Green Bay Packers pass offense this Sunday at Lambeau Field.
The Packers have built a powerhouse offense around a pass-first philosophy and have assembled the second-best red zone attack in the league this season.
While the Cardinals defense has been the team’s strength this season, their performance against the 49ers was troubling.
“On Monday Night Football, [the 49ers] biggest plays came on a three, a four and a six-yard pass. It’s embarrassing and they know it and they’ll respond,” defensive coordinator Ray Horton said.
Horton doesn’t believe changing the scheme will make a difference. He said the problem is much simpler and easy to fix. It’s also an area he placed much more emphasis on in practice this week.
“Tackling. There is nothing wrong schematically. It’s just we have to make a play that’s presented in front of us,” Horton said.
The Cardinals missed a total of six tackles against the Niners on Monday night, and while that’s not a high number, two resulted in touchdowns.
Horton will take a page out of Dick Lebeau’s playbook this week, the Hall of Famer and legendary defensive coordinator of the Steelers, who Horton learned his effective 3-4 blitz under at Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
“At this level guys understand technique and what they’re supposed to do,” Horton explained. “But did we do extra tackling drills, yes we did. I was disappointed in how we performed tackling against the San Francisco 49ers or lack thereof tackling.”
The Cardinals defense certainly has a pedigree of talented backs that have the ability to make key stops when called upon. They’ll need to play like they did the first four games of the year when they were revered as one of the best units in the NFL if they hope to contain an aggressive Packers attack.