New Arizona D-coordinator sees no dramatic changes

The Arizona Cardinals offense was a mess last season, a fact

beyond dispute. The defense, on the other hand, played well for the

vast majority of the year.

Mindful of the talent he inherits, new Cardinals defensive

coordinator Todd Bowles says there will be no dramatic changes to

the 3-4 scheme, just ”some minor differences here and there,” and

he anticipates no problems gaining the loyalty of players who

thought so much of his predecessor, Ray Horton.

”The fact that things are going to be a lot similar should only

help out,” he said. ”We’ll teach a few different things. I

thought Ray did a good job when he was in here and I thought the

players did a good job. We’re just going to try to add on to

that.”

Bowles, speaking to reporters for the first time since he was

named to the post by new head coach Bruce Arians, said Thursday

that players know change is common in the NFL.

”Players go and coaches go,” he said. ”We all have our

favorite players and our favorite coaches. But they know it’s part

of the business just as we do and we’ll continue to work together.

I’m going to coach them hard and make them play better and they’re

going to work hard and we’ll get it together.”

Bowles was a team captain for Temple in 1985, with Arians as his

young head coach. Their relationship has developed from there.

”I’ve watched him grow as a player, one of the best, smartest

defensive backs to play in this league,” Arians said, ”and then

as a coach, watching him grow and see the people he has been around

who have won championships. There was never a doubt if I ever got a

head coaching job, that’s who I was going to first.”

Horton, highly popular with the players, fans and media, was a

finalist for the head coaching job in Arizona after Ken Whisenhunt

was fired at the end of last season, and he did not take it well

when the job went to Arians. By the next day, Horton was the new

defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns.

Bowles played eight seasons in the NFL with Washington and San

Francisco, appearing in 117 games. He was part of the Redskins team

that beat Denver 42-10 in the Super Bowl in 1988.

He began his coaching career as defensive coordinator at

Morehouse College in 1997 then was defensive coordinator/secondary

coach under Eddie Robinson at Grambling State in 1998-99. His pro

coaching career started as a secondary coach with the New York

Jets, then with the Cleveland Browns. He moved on to coach the

secondary for the Dallas Cowboys for three seasons then became

assistant head coach/secondary with the Miami Dolphins in 2008.

Bowles was interim head coach for the final four games of the 2011

season after Tony Sparano was fired.

Bowles was interviewed by Whisenhunt for the defensive

coordinator job that eventually went to Horton in 2011.

In 2012, Bowles joined the ill-fated staff of Andy Reid in

Philadelphia as secondary coach and moved up to defensive

coordinator after Reid sacked Juan Castillo in mid-October. The

difficult Eagles season was a challenge.

”You just have to stick with your morals,” Bowles said. ”I

don’t think one year makes you a bad coach or a good coach. You go

by your body of work. … If you’re in it long enough, you’re not

going to have success every week or every day, and you try not to

get too high or too low.”

He was asked if he thought some players quit on him as the

Philadelphia season disintegrated.

”It’s fair to ask but I couldn’t answer for them,” he said.

”You would have to ask some of those guys. I would say some people

didn’t play well. I really can’t say whether some quit or didn’t

quit.”

Bowles said he had yet to watch much film of the Cardinals or

speak to any of his players.

But, he said, he knows ”they’re fast, they get after it. They

like to play football and they’re hungry.”

Taking over a confident unit is a plus.

”It’s always half the battle when you’ve got guys that want to

and we have a lot of guys that want to,” Bowles said.

Arians said Bowles ”has one of the brightest defensive minds

that I’ve ever been associated with as a player or a coach.”

And the results, Arians said, won’t be determined by yards

surrendered.

”The only ranking that matters is wins and losses,” he said.

”Yes, we want the No. 1 defense in the league, but is that in

yards? No. I want the best third-down defense, the best red zone

defense, the best two-minute defense. I don’t really care about

yards. I think that’s a bogus stat.”

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