Arizona Cardinals: The uncertainty of a make-shift defense
Entering his 3rd season as defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, James Bettcher is hoping for another great year, amid changes to his unit.
The toughest job, it seems, any employee of the Arizona Cardinals can have is that of the defensive coordinator. The position is currently occupied by 39 year-old James Bettcher. In two seasons as the coordinator, Bettcher’s unit has finished 5th (2015) and 2nd (2016) in total defense, respectively. A feat that seemed unreachable after the departure of defensive-mastermind Todd Bowles.
Coming into the 2017 season, Bettcher will have to live up to the expectations of producing a top-5 defense once again. All this, despite significant losses on his side of the ball. Now, he’s forced to mold his younger players — the future of the franchise — into aggressive, playoff-ready contributors.
With a talented corps of players in tact with the likes of Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson and Deone Bucannon, the future is bright. Add into that mix a young, tenacious Robert Nkemdiche and Haason Reddick playing in the middle, and optimism remains high.
More from Raising Zona
- Arizona Cardinals: Could Eric Bieniemy come to the desert?
- Would Jonathan Gannon be a good fit for the Arizona Cardinals?
- Arizona Cardinals: Budda Baker right in his take regarding the next coach
- Arizona Cardinals: 3 reasons new coach should want to work with Murray
- Arizona Cardinals special teams could be completely revamped in 2023
The biggest question this year is the number-two CB position. Justin Bethel will be out for a short time, and Robert Zamort is now on season-ending injured-reserve after tearing his ACL this past weekend. That leaves Brandon Williams and newly signed veteran Tramon Williams battling in camp. Hopefully, a clear winner will start to emerge as preseason games get underway this Thursday against the Cowboys.
5 preseason games, a longer training camp and a mix of new players. Seems like a lot for a young coordinator to take on. But if anything is certain, it’s that James Bettcher is up for the challenges. That’s been evident since being promoted from linebackers coach in 2015. At that time, he was given the keys to one of the NFL’s best defenses and has thrived ever since.
With a great coaching staff and a nice mix of veteran players sprinkled in, this defense can no doubt be an elite group once again. Will they be that group, is the question that everyone has on their mind. But one thing you can count on is the blitz. Getting after the quarterback and creating turnovers is what makes this defense great.
Do that, and this defense can will stay relevant and remain a force to be reckoned with.