TEMPE, Ariz. -- 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 the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers, appearing in 117 games. He was part of the Redskins team that beat Denver Broncos 42-10 in the Super Bowl in 1988.
"The only ranking that matters is wins and losses," Arians 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."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press