Ray Horton’s focus is on being a defensive coordinator

Dec 28, 2012, 9:31 PM | Updated: 9:34 pm

When a team begins a season 4-0 and goes into its final game 5-10, rumors of changes are inevitable.

This is the situation the Arizona Cardinals are currently in, with both head coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves on their respective hot seats.

On the other hand, Arizona’s struggles have not done anything to hurt how people feel about Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, as he has become a hot commodity.

When looking at the statistics, Arizona’s defense looks like it has been middle of the road. The Cardinals rank 12th in total yards allowed and 16th in points allowed.

They have forced the third most turnovers in the NFL, and Football Outsiders DVOA system, which accounts for numerous different factors which ultimately leads to a more accurate view of the overall performance of a defense, has the Cards ranked fifth. Those two numbers paint a much better picture of the unit that has been the one bright spot for the Redbirds this season.

With that success, Horton’s name has been a popular one making the rounds as a possible head coaching candidate as “Black Monday” rapidly approaches.

“Today all I am trying to do is be the best defensive coordinator in the league,” Horton said Friday before the Cardinals take on the San Francisco 49ers. “I didn’t do it because we didn’t accomplish our goals. The rest of that stuff takes care of itself and the teams that win more are rewarded that way.”

Horton, who has been an assistant in the NFL for 18 years, has learned a lot over the course of that time in preparation of one day being an NFL head coach.

“You never know if you’re going to get there,” said Horton. “That’s what you’re pining for. If you prepare well and been raised, tutelaged, you should be ready.”

When asked specifically about the situation in Arizona, Horton avoided the question.

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Ray Horton’s focus is on being a defensive coordinator