Cardinals hire Vance Joseph as defensive coordinator

At Kliff Kingsbury's introductory press conference Tuesday, the Arizona Cardinals said they were looking to match their offensive-minded rookie head coach with an experienced defensive coordinator. They're hiring one with head coaching experience, too.

The Cardinals announced they have hired Vance Joseph to lead their defense. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported the two sides were closing in on a deal Friday morning. The former Denver Broncos head coach had garnered interest from several teams and had just interviewed for the Cleveland Browns' DC vacancy.

Instead he's headed to Arizona. He takes over a unit that ranked 26th in scoring defense and 20th in total defense, which were significant dropoffs from the previous year. The cupboard is hardly bare, however. Cornerback Patrick Peterson is still playing at a Pro Bowl level, safety Antoine Bethea had one of his best seasons at age 34, and safety Budda Baker looks like a cornerstone. It all bodes well for Joseph, who has done some of his best work with defensive backs.

The 46-year-old Joseph has been coaching in the NFL since 2005, spending his first six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He became a defensive coordinator for the first time in 2016 with the Dolphins, heading an opportunistic defense that helped spur Miami to the playoffs.

He then guided the Broncos to a 11-21 mark the past two seasons, which saw the defense fall from a top-five unit to the middle of the pack.

The Cardinals also announced Bill Davis, their DC in 2009-10 and most recently the LBs coach at Ohio State, will head the linebackers, and Jeff Rodgers will remain the special teams coordinator.

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