Although they currently have the NFL’s third-ranked defense could the Arizona Cardinals bring in someone with more experience?
There’s no doubt that James Bettcher has done a fine job as defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals. Handed the job last season, Bettcher coached the unit to a fifth overall ranking in the NFL. Statistically, the defense is even better this year, currently ranked third overall after 15 games.
Despite two impressive seasons as defensive boss, a couple of interesting names may soon be linked to his job.
Rex Ryan, son of the late ex-Cards’ head coach, Buddy Ryan, has been let go by the Buffalo Bills. Although Rex’s head coaching stints have been mostly mediocre (New York Jets, Bills), there’s no denying he can coach defense.
It was just over 20 years ago that Ryan was on his father’s staff in Arizona. During the 1994-95 seasons, he served as the Cardinals’ defensive line/linebackers coach. Buddy, Rex and Rob Ryan (Rex’s twin brother who coached the defensive backs) were all let go at the end of ’95.
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It’s true that Bettcher has done an admirable job, but would the defense be better off with Rex’s experience? Although Bettcher’s units have been highly ranked, the rankings are based solely on statistics. And statistics don’t always tell the entire story.
The real question surrounding Ryan returning to the desert has to do with egos. Ryan and Cards’ head coach Bruce Arians both sport extremely strong personalities. Could the two of them coexist on the same coaching staff?
Another intriguing name who could soon become available is Jets’ head coach and former Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. There’ve been whispers that Bowles could be on his way out of New York. His return to the Cardinals to reclaim his old position would make some sense.
How loyal is Arians to Bettcher? Would he demote him to bring in Ryan or bring back Bowles? That question will be answered within the next few weeks.