Found October 19, 2012 on Fox Sports Arizona:
TEMPE, Ariz. Through the first six games of the NFL season, Arizonas defense has allowed just eight TDs, the second fewest in the NFL and behind only Chicago (seven), which has played one fewer game. With only 97 points allowed, the Cardinals are on pace to surrender 258 points, which would rank as the lowest total in team history since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. The Cards' average of 16.2 points allowed per game ranks fourth in the league, their 19 sacks rank behind only Green Bay (21) and Cincinnati (20), and their 13 forced turnovers are tied for sixth most in the league. By just about any statistical or eyeball measure, the Cardinals defense has been very good. The problem: It has had to be. Every game. Every quarter. Virtually every snap. The time-of-possession numbers say the Cardinals offense is helping out its defense. The Cards rank 12th in the NFL in time of possession at 31:16 per game -- a vast departure from last season, when they ranked 19th (28:43), and 2010, when they were 31st (26:23). But that number says nothing of the psychological pressure Arizonas defense feels every week to keep its club in the game. The Cards are averaging just 18.3 points a game (tied for 26th) and that includes a 93-yard fumble return for a TD from safety James Sanders against the Eagles in Week 3. We understand that our offense is not where we want them to be right now, linebacker Daryl Washington said. It just puts more pressure on us. Its a challenge for us to make sure we all are getting those stops, giving them the short field and making sure that were executing our plays. Injuries have raised the odds of this unit achieving that goal. While the defense is nowhere near as decimated as the offense, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett has been battling a strained hamstring since the Eagles game, free safety Kerry Rhodes is out with a back injury, cornerback Greg Toler has a bad hamstring that will likely sideline him again Sunday at Minnesota, and both cornerback Michael Adams (hamstring) and linebacker Reggie Walker (concussion) are questionable this week. Hopefully were built where were not a house of cards, where if one guy gets hurt its doom and gloom, defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. I dont think we are built that way. Washington admitted that there are times when the defense might try to do too much to compensate for the anemic offense. We try to stay within the scheme, he said, but there are those times where were not scoring any points or maybe somebody needs to make a play, maybe well press a little bit. Linebacker and defensive co-captain Paris Lenon said that cant happen. When you go above and beyond your responsibility to try and make something happen, thats when you make mistakes, he said. We just have to play within our scheme, use our technique and make the plays that are available to make. You dont have to make some phenomenal play. Now, if that happens, thats wonderful, but thats not something were striving to do every play. We just want to make the plays that are available for us to make. It remains to be seen how well the Cardinals will adhere to that philosophy if the losses keep coming, but Horton brushed off any talk of the defense getting frustrated or angry with the offense for continually putting it in such tight spots. If it was posed to me, I would go back one year where we were 1-6 at this point and we didnt do our job, Horton said. We understand where we came from. Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
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