Arizona Cardinals: Defensive coordinator worth holding on to
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher is one assistant from the Bruce Arians era who the Arizona Cardinals should try to keep
It’s coming up on two weeks now since Bruce Arians announced he was retiring from the Arizona Cardinals. A search for his successor is heating up, and it appears that no stone is being left unturned in that pursuit. If the Cards’ brass have a preference for who the new head coach will be, they certainly aren’t letting anyone know their thoughts on the matter.
One of the candidates they’ve interviewed is in-house. James Bettcher has done an impressive job as Arizona’s defensive coordinator. Management apparently agrees with that assessment, given the fact that they’re considering the 39-year old for the higher post.
Even though Bettcher was able to secure that sit-down with the Cardinals’ front office, the Arians disciple isn’t considered a favorite to become the head man. That isn’t to say he’s definitely out of the running. There are other more experienced choices ahead of him in the pecking order, however.
If Bettcher’s promotion doesn’t come through, it would behoove the Cards to try to keep him on board. Of course, whoever Arizona hires to lead the squad would have a say in that decision. It wouldn’t be surprising if the new coach would want to bring his own people with him.
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There were eyebrows raised when the Cardinals promoted Bettcher back in 2015. Todd Bowles was relinquishing his defensive coordinator gig in order to become the New York Jets’ head coach. After an attempt to land the legendary Dick LeBeau failed, the Cards turned to their own staff to fill the void.
Bettcher was hand-picked by Arians. Arizona’s outside linebackers coach from the 2013-14 campaigns would now be running the show. Many expected a defensive letdown with the relatively inexperienced Bettcher at the controls, but it never happened.
Actually, his units have been excellent. Bettcher’s group ranked fifth in the NFL in 2015, his first season as the boss. They were an outstanding number two-overall in 2016, and finished sixth-overall this past year.
After a slow start in ’17, Bettcher’s defense was arguably the league’s best by the time the final game was in the books. It would be a shame to lose the man behind that kind of success. If the Cardinals’ braintrust can get their way, then perhaps they won’t have to.