Of all the new members of the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff, few will face the same amount of scrutiny as defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
Tasked with replacing the popular Ray Horton, Bowles’ job is to keep a good defense playing well. Seems simple enough with the majority of the players returning, but if there is any drop-off from last season, the finger will be pointed directly his way. Some might find that a difficult prospect to deal with.
“That’s not difficult at all; that’s a good problem to have,” Bowles told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Thursday. “You always want players and the expectation is to win the Super Bowl, and you can’t win the Super Bowl without having high expectations and good ballplayers and good coaches.”
When asked what his “core beliefs” are, Bowles said “fast, smart and aggressive.”
That seems to be in line with what Horton believes — and really, what any defensive coordinator would believe — but if that’s not enough to make fans feel a little more comfortable with the new DC, perhaps his thoughts on the style of defense the team plans on running will.
“It will be for the most part, the core 3-4 will be there,” he said. “Depending on matchups and games we may tweak a few things here and there, but we’re still trying to be very aggressive and getting after the football.”
The Cardinals ran a base 3-4 defense under Horton, and the personnel on the team is geared towards that kind of defense. The results could be seen on the field, as the Cardinals were 17th last year in points allowed per game, but allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards per contest and had the fourth-most takeaways in football.
So it’s not as if there is no room to improve, but the foundation is certainly in place, which is why Bowles is not interested in making this “his” defense, per say.
“The 3-4 has some carry overs no matter which team it is, and if we’re both, between myself and what they ran last year, if the terminology better suits them and it’s easier for us as coaches to learn, we’ll learn the terminology,” he said. “But there will be quite a few things where there will be our terminology and that we might want to do differently.
“But we’ll have some carry-over because a lot of the same blitzes and coverages and those type of things are pretty much the same, but it’s just a matter of who’s comfortable calling it, but it will be easier for the coaches to learn than the players. But our terminology will definitely be and our input will definitely be stamped on it.”
One of those stamps may be how much pressure the Cardinals look to bring via the blitz. Bowles said a defense needs to have a good mix, and that he’d probably put his pressure vs. non-pressure ratio at 60-40.
“It’s more or less getting your play makers in position to make plays,” he said.