Cardinals' new defense now fully installed

Darnell Dockett (Getty)

Defensive coordinator Ray Horton has gradually expanded the playbook, and the Cardinals should be operating at nearly 100 percent.

Defensive coordinator Ray Horton has gradually expanded the playbook, and the Cardinals should be operating at nearly 100 percent capacity now.

Horton installed an entire new scheme in training camp. But after his unit played poorly in the first two games, he scaled back drastically.

About 30 percent of the scheme was available last week against the Steelers, and Horton planned to have the rest of it back this week for the Ravens.

Schemes won't be the only things that are different about this defense. Reserve linebackers Sam Acho, O'Brien Schofield and Stewart Bradley all received more playing time last week.

Acho or Bradley could start in place of Joey Porter against the Ravens. Porter has a sore knee, but he also has not been producing.

Acho has a better understanding of the defense than Schofield, but Schofield is the better pass rusher.

Bradley, a key free-agent signee, has been a disappointment as he's taken more time than expected to make the transition for the 4-3 to 3-4.

Last week, the Cardinals used him as an outside pass rusher in sub packages. He could reprise that role this week, as well as see some time in the middle as a backup to Paris Lenon.

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