Not All Teams Can Run The 3-4

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the model 3-4 defense, as are the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. When coaches leave those organizations and try to bring the defense with them it doesn't always work, as one NFC team is finding out.

 Ray Horton is the third defensive coordinator in Ken Whisenhunt's five seasons, and he's finding out the job is far from easy.

   The Cardinals lack a premier pass rusher, have two young corners and the same front seven as a year ago, when they struggled for most of the season.

   On top of that, Horton is installing a complicated new scheme, similar to the Steelers', in a year when there was no offseason.

   No one expected miracles to start the season, but the Cardinals have been worse than most people feared. In two games, they've yielded 932 yards, and it's not as if they've played the Packers and Patriots.
  They face the Panthers and rookie quarterback Cam Newton in Week One, and the Redskins and journeyman quarterback Rex Grossman in Week Two.

|   While the end result of each game was the same, the Cardinals' defense was shredded in different ways.

   Against the Panthers, they couldn't stop the pass. Against the Redskins, they couldn't stop the run.

   When he took the job, Horton promised to blitz early and often and have his unit impose its will against offense.

   Just the opposite has happened. The Cardinals struggled early in both games. Offenses have dictated to the Cardinals defense, which hasn't reacted well.

   That makes this Sunday's game against Seattle critical. The Cardinals are in the softest part of their schedule and need to emerge with an NFC West victory on the road. They were 1-5 in the division last season.

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