GLENDALE — Five days into camp, Calais Campbell likes what he sees.
“We’re just getting better and better, and we’re right where we want to be,” he said Tuesday.
Yes, mistakes are being made, but that’s to be expected less than a week in.
“You make mistakes and learn from them now so that by the time games come around, you’re ready,” said Campbell. “That’s the whole point of camp.”
Defensively, he and his teammates are breaking in a brand new defensive coordinator.
Ray Horton was not retained — he’s in Cleveland — allowing head coach Bruce Arians to bring in his own guy, Todd Bowles, who split last season between working as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach in Philadelphia.
“Todd Bowles just wants us to be a lot more aggressive and attacking,” Campbell said. “It’s something that we’ve been working on, hardcore, all of us on the D-line, just going for it and causing havoc. It’s coming.”
The defense, while not all that different from the previous two seasons, does allow for defensive ends — like Campbell — to pursue the quarterback with fewer obstacles.
“The defensive ends in the Pittsburgh Steelers defense very seldom ever have sacks. They’re two-gap players,” Arians explained. “We’re more of a one-gap penetrating team.”
Campbell had 6.5 sacks last season, the fourth straight year he’s had at least six, but shy of his career-high of eight in 2011.
“This defense we have right now is going to be very aggressive, very physical,” he said. “We’re going to cause a lot of havoc, create a lot of turnovers and make a lot of plays.
Arians called the 6-foot-8 Campbell, who led the team in sacks for three straight years from 2009-11, “steady as they get” and noted he’s improved his play against the run, which “with his length sometimes that’s hard.”
Campbell is entering his sixth year, and may be on the verge of a big year given, not only the addition of Bowles, but the addition of veteran linebacker John Abraham, a four-time Pro Bowl selection.
“Man, John Abraham already in his few days he’s been here has taught me a whole lot, and gave me some drills to work on to really improve my game,” Campbell said.
“Having him in my ear, telling me how I can be better, you can’t buy that. It’s amazing that he’s here. Having a guy like that who knows so much, I can look up to and get a lot of his insight and all of his tricks.”