Townsend hopes to bring more than just Steelers’ mentality to Cards

Feb 16, 2011, 10:50 PM | Updated: 11:15 pm

Pittsburgh West continues to grow.

After bringing in Ray Horton as defensive coordinator, the Arizona Cardinals have now added former Pittsburgh Steeler Deshea Townsend as their assistant defensive backs coach.

He joins Ken Whisenhunt, Russ Grimm and Horton as former Steelers hoping to successfully implement Pittsburgh’s physical, winning mentality into a Cardinals team that lacked any sort of mentality last season.

“It is most definitely a formula that has been successful over a number of years if you look at the amount of wins and losses those guys have over there in Pittsburgh,” Townsend said on Sports 620 KTAR’s Gambo and Ash Tuesday afternoon. “That’s where it starts: trying to get the guys to buy into the mentality of playing smart, physical and tough football.”

After being a four-year starter at Alabama, Townsend was drafted by the Steelers in 1998 and played his first 12 seasons there before signing with the Indianapolis Colts last season, playing in just eight games. He went to Super Bowls XL and XLIII with the Steelers and was on the winning side of the field both times.

Townsend will work with former Cincinnati Bengals coach Louie Cioffi, who was hired on Tuesday as Arizona’s defensive backs coach, and will coach the team’s corners and nickelbacks.

“I’m excited about my new opportunity,” Townsend said. “We have some great talents over here.”

One Cardinal Townsend plans on developing is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who he said has the skill-set to be mentioned alongside Darrell Revis as a top NFL corner.

“It’s just up to us as coaches to get him mentally prepared to be that type of player,” Townsend said.

Despite not having any coaching experience prior to this job with the Cardinals, Townsend said he always loved the game-planning aspect of football. When signing with Indianapolis, he was told that one of his most important roles would be mentoring the younger guys and he embraced that opportunity.

“A lot of the game for me personally was not [about] being the biggest or the fastest guy, but I played a lot of my game on the mental side,” Townsend said. “I was easily able to translate what the coaches were saying from the chalk board to the field. So I think this transition [will] be pretty easy.”

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