James Bettcher promoted to Cardinals D-coordinator


The Arizona Cardinals stayed in-house, as expected, to find a replacement for Todd Bowles, the new head coach of the New York Jets.

The team announced Wednesday that outside linebackers coach James Bettcher has been promoted to defensive coordinator.

Coach Bruce Arians made it clear last week that he wasn't interested in bringing in an outside presence to change a scheme that has worked so well the past two years.

"I did not want our players to walk in and not know what they were doing the first day," Arians said, via the team's official website. "No new language. It's the same defense, the same philosophy."

Bettcher, 36, followed Arians to Arizona after working as special assistant to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano in 2012. He has just three years of NFL experience and has not been a coordinator at any level.

Former Packers defensive coordinator Bob Sanders, hired as outside linebackers coach, will be a sounding board for Bettcher. The Cardinals wanted Dick LeBeau for that mentor role, per multiple reports, but the former Steelers defensive boss is expected to accept a similar position with the Titans instead.

On a positive note, Bettcher is credited with helping Robert Mathis to his first Pro Bowl in 2012. He also maximized production from the Cardinals' underwhelming edge rushers, coaxing 11.5 sacks out of an aging John Abraham in 2013 and 8.0 sacks in 13 games from an unproven Alex Okafor in 2014.

It will be interesting to see if the Bettcher-Sanders tag team can come close to replicating the success Bowles enjoyed with a creative, aggressive approach on game days.

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