Ray Horton turned around the Cardinals defense in only two seasons
Mike McCarthy was appalled when a reporter asked him about Dom Capers’ future. Well, fans should be appalled if McCarthy doesn’t hire Ray Horton as his new defensive coordinator by the end of the weekend.
Horton did a terrific job with the Cardinals’ defense last season, but he wasn’t retained when the team hired Bruce Arians as its new coach. That puts the 52-year-old on the open market – a place he won’t last for very long. Any team that runs or wants to run a 3-4 defense will be interested in a man who played in the NFL for a decade and cut his teeth as an assistant under the legendary Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh.
Many of those who support giving Capers another year point to continuity as one of the reasons why. After all, they say, the Packers have invested four seasons and countless draft choices in the current scheme. And that’s the beauty of hiring Horton. He runs a very similar scheme – he just does it better.
Despite an anemic offense that often put the defense in impossible situations, the Cards under Horton still managed to finish 12th overall for yards allowed, and fifth against the pass. The unit also allowed the lowest cumulative passer rating by opposing quarterbacks. That’s even more impressive when you consider the opposing quarterbacks included Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, New England’s Tom Brady and the new Superman himself, Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers.
“We gave quarterbacks hell,” Horton said a few weeks ago. He was 100% right. And in Green Bay, a place where too many quarterbacks found a little slice of heaven in 2012, wouldn’t that be a welcomed sight?