The Arizona Cardinals' defense under former coordinator Ray Horton mostly was successful. But it was hard to prepare for and required sacrifices from one of its best players. Defensive end Darnell Dockett -- for one -- is happy Horton is gone.
"Personally, I had nothing against Ray," Dockett told Darren Urban of the team's official website on Tuesday. "But I hated that scheme. I really hated it. I played it because I needed to. But this defense is based on guys and what their ability allows them to be good at. What they were drafted for."
Dockett will be allowed to go after his blockers one-on-one and the quarterback more in new coordinator Todd Bowles' scheme. Horton asked his defensive linemen to take on blocks.
"It's like a million pounds off your shoulders," Dockett said.
Unlike Dockett, Calais Campbell excelled in Horton's scheme. But even Campbell is excited for the change.
Campbell said, "Darnell and myself, I feel like we have the ability to make a lot of different plays, but sometimes in the 3-4 you have to put the team in front of yourself. This defense, the way we are doing things, it gives us a chance to make a difference."
Quietly, the Cardinals have assembled one of the NFL's most talented defenses. It starts with Dockett and Campbell, and extends to suspended linebacker Daryl Washington at linebacker and Patrick Peterson in the secondary. If the Cardinals weren't stuck in the NFC West, we'd see Carson Palmer and the Cards as a sneaky sleeper pick.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.