Cardinals young defense beginning to establish themselves

If you believe in the saying, “Good things come to those who wait” you may like what you see from Cardinals defense over the last seven games of the regular season.

After allowing at least 30 points over the final four games of their six-game losing streak earlier this year, the Red Birds have responded with solid outings in wins over St. Louis (19-13) and Philadelphia (21-17) the past two weeks.

So what’s been the biggest key to their recent success?

“Probably time,” defensive coordinator Ray Horton explained to Brad Cesmat on “Big Guy on Sports” Monday. “We have a bunch of new, young guys that’s just taken a little longer than we have hoped, but they’re starting to get it.”

Ray Horton on ‘Big Guy on Sports’

You could say that.

The Eagles converted only three of 15 third downs, while intercepting Michael Vick twice, including on the potential go-ahead drive in the closing minute.

“We’re getting to a point where our wins are starting to come when we don’t necessarily play our best game,” Horton told Cesmat. “It means that we’re getting better where we can make some mistakes and still win the game.”

Much of the Cards success defensively can be attributed to the development of a collection of recent high draft picks.

“Darryl (Washington) is one of our most valuable players. Calais (Campbell) is playing well. Dan Williams is a first-year starter. We do have a ton of young guys that are growing up together.”

The Red Birds next challenge is Sunday against the 49ers new-look quarterback Alex Smith who has excelled under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh.  

The former number one overall pick is completing nearly 65% of throws with 11 touchdowns. Most importantly, he has been intercepted only three times.

The surprising Niners lead the NFC West at 8-1.

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