TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — 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.