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Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals' Arians, Peterson embrace defensive identity

Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson (21) intercepts a ball intended for Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith (89) in the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals' identity lies with their defense, and so far it's paying off for them. After allowing just over 26 points per game in the team's first three contests, the Cardinals have limited their last two opponents to 16 points combined, and both games have resulted in wins.

For head coach Bruce Arians, that's exactly what he had in mind when taking over the Cardinals, saying he supports being known as a defensive-first team.

"I love it," Arians said. "That's always been my motto and we want to be dominant on defense. We'll scratch some points out, but we always want to be a dominating defensive football team."

Star cornerback Patrick Peterson, who has three interceptions on the year, agrees with that mentality.

"The saying always stands true: ‘Defense wins championships,'" Peterson said. "If we want to be a good ball club, our defense must be strong."

The Cardinals are coming off a strong defensive year in 2012, but a tough schedule, inactive players and getting used to a new coaching staff might have hidden the true talent level of the group. With tough matchups coming up in the next two weeks, against San Francisco and Seattle, Arians remains confident in his defense.

"I think our defense matches up with everybody," Arians said. "We've got good speed. We're starting to understand the defense better each week."

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