NFL

Arizona working out kinks in new defensive scheme

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)

(Eds: Updates with details, quotes. With AP Photos.)By BOB BAUMAP Sports Writer

The Seahawks' struggling offense should be happy to see the Arizona Cardinals coming to Seattle.

The Cardinals (1-1) have allowed 932 yards in two games as they struggle to learn the defense installed by new coordinator Ray Horton. They rank 29th in defense, 23rd in run defense and 29th in pass defense. Those are welcome numbers to an 0-2 Seattle team that has managed just 17 points.

The Cardinals, though, insist they are making progress and if everybody does their job, they will be a strong defense, current numbers notwithstanding.

''It's a growing process,'' defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. ''This defense has only been together since training camp and a couple of preseason games. This week is very huge for us as a team.''

As always, if one player is in the wrong place, the entire defense can break down.

Against the Seahawks, Dockett said, the Cardinals must ''communicate and put a lot of egos to the side and just focus on doing the right things no matter who makes the plays.''

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that, with no offseason workout program, time was limited to make the defensive shift under Horton, who installed a Pittsburgh-type scheme.

''There's a lot of things going on in a game,'' Whisenhunt said. ''Half the time in a game you're going to see things you never saw in practice or you didn't see on tape. When that happens, you've got to fall back on your rules. When you haven't been using your rules very long or you haven't' been in situations where you have to apply them, you're going to make mistakes. That's what's happened for us.''

The important thing is to learn from those mistakes, he said.

The Cardinals are still having to think about assignments on the fly rather than just react.

''We're close,'' Dockett said, ''but at the same time it's a lot of stuff. It's a complicated defense for us but we're going to learn it. We're excited about it.''

He said he's had no problem with the changes because the defense hasn't exactly been all-world in previous years.

''Coach Horton is doing a great job of emphasizing the importance in it for the long run,'' Dockett said, ''and our guys are buying in. Not one time have we been rebellious or talked bad about it or whatever. We're just `OK, cool. We understand.'''

He said the Cardinals ''will get it all down because that's our job. We're professionals.''

''We're going to be one of the best defenses. Every game we're learning something new.''

The always confident rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson said it's just a matter of time, and not much time, at that.

''Everything can fall apart if one person isn't on the same course,'' he said, ''but we're getting better every week. I won't promise you, but by week six everything should be clicking on the same cylinders.''

Tagged: Cardinals, Darnell Dockett

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