In little time, Bettcher has left big impression

Posted by Darren Urban on February 4, 2015 – 3:55 pm

We won’t know for a few days at least why exactly Bruce Arians picked James Bettcher to be his new defensive coordinator. Arians is on vacation this week, so the press conference to discuss Wednesday’s news is on hold until Arians returns. We know that Arians wanted to stay in-house to keep continuity and the same verbiage. We know that Arians wanted to get a young up-and-comer. He likes how he has his offensive setup with Harold Goodwin the young up-and-comer on offense; I’m still curious to see if the Cardinals eventually come up with a Tom Moore-esque guy for Bettcher. There was an attempt at Dick LeBeau (he didn’t want to be that far from family and took a spot with Ken Whisenhunt’s Titans), there has been contact with former Falcons coach Mike Smith. We’ll see if there is anyone else.

Regardless, Arians has long thought highly of Bettcher. When Arians was in his Coach of the Year season in Indianapolis, it was Bettcher who was in the middle of the drama that played out with Chuck Pagano’s cancer. Bettcher was not only the outside linebackers coach in Indy, he was also Pagano’s right-hand man.

“It was a role I will never forget,” Bettcher told me in 2013.

Bettcher is from Indiana and Pagano was “like a second father to me in many ways,” he said. Working with the Colts was a dream job. That’s why Bettcher’s move with Arians after one season is so important; As close as Bettcher and Pagano were, you have to assume Bettcher and Arians forged an important bond too as they maneuvered through such an emotional season. Maybe Arians always knew Bettcher was on the rise. Arians always targeted Todd Bowles to be his DC when he got the Cardinals’ job but if Arians believed Bowles was going to be a head coach sooner rather than later, maybe Bettcher was long the next in line. (Kind of like Goodwin, who was immediately installed as offensive coordinator under Arians/Moore.)

Are there questions about Bettcher, at 36, getting this job, especially after what Bowles was able to accomplish? Sure. There’s no arguing that. But Arians (and Bowles) had to have seen enough of Bettcher the past two seasons to feel comfortable with this ascension. Bettcher is a good guy who, from my vantage point, has respect of the players. Just last week, safety Tyrann Mathieu said “I think I’ve heard enough and I’m confident enough to know we’ve been playing too well to have the scheme change. We look forward to one of our position coaches being DC.”

The way Mathieu was talking, he knew Bettcher was the choice already, so I read the comment through that prism.

— Bob Sanders has a long history of coaching some pretty good linebackers — Kahlil Mack had a very nice rookie season this year under Sanders with the Raiders — so that looks like it could be a promising hire. He also spent some time as defensive coordinator with the Packers, so that puts someone else on the staff who is experienced in such a role. Even without a direct “mentor,” Bettcher could use that to his advantage.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 35 Comments »

35 Responses to “In little time, Bettcher has left big impression”

  1. By D on Feb 4, 2015 | Reply

    Cards need to find a K. Mack type LB in this draft…

    About month away from knowing the fate of Fitz…

  2. By Scott H on Feb 4, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    Not related to this ( Congrats to Bettcher, BTW ) but a few questions. You can probably tell I am stuck on some special teams issues, perhaps. First, is Zastudil under contract for 2015 and expected back healthy and ready to go? Man, did we miss him! I don’t even think of him sometimes among the players we lost to injury along the way in 2014 but given how good he has been, he probably should be considered among the biggest losses we had. Didn’t help that we had Butler reminding us of that every damn week, either.

    And what about Ginn? I am truly amazed how consistently awful he was in 2014 as a return guy. And he really offered next to nothing as a WR as well, which was just as disappointing considering he had his best season as a WR the year before in Carolina. He looked like an awesome FA signing. Are the Cardinals even going to entertain bringing him back next year? I see no reason why they would. If anything, they should consider pressing charges for stealing money. They could definitely make a case for that! They paid him to be a return specialist. What they got was a fair-catch specialist.

    I never bothered to pay attention to this, but with these players performing as poorly as they did, I have to think our special teams must have ranked in the bottom 3rd of the league by the end of the season…..yes?

  3. By Darren Urban on Feb 4, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Special teams

    I will have a special teams post tomorrow. Zastudil is under contract. I do not expect Ginn to be back.

  4. By Big Ken on Feb 4, 2015 | Reply

    The in-house hire, bringing Sanders on all looks good, makes sense.

  5. By Coach K on Feb 4, 2015 | Reply

    I think Bettcher is a good promotion even with his youth. He knows defense and that is all that matters.

    The question is, will he and Keim make this draft count by hitting on more than three of their draft picks. This year, the Cardinals need to find some gold in later rounds and land at least 5 guys that make the roster.

    Our defense needs an infusion of speed in the front 7.

  6. By tkm on Feb 4, 2015 | Reply

    ginn is gutless as a return man,you have to be willing to take a hit from the gunner with the reward of a miised tackle and breaking one.he fair caught everything,you could see players on cards sideline wonder why he would fair catch with someone 10 yards away.he might be ok with offense ,but we have got to get a return man who has some balls,it helps when trying to flip field position.

  7. By Jahstone on Feb 4, 2015 | Reply

    I have faith in Arians choices. Everyone shook their heads when Bowles was hired, and then suddenly no one wanted him to leave. For the first time, I really do trust the process and have confidence in our decision making. 2015 has to be our year…the door is open!!

  8. By Marlin on Feb 4, 2015 | Reply

    Can’t believe we don’t have a special teams coaching change.

  9. By Lee W. Flanagan on Feb 4, 2015 | Reply

    Good observation Scott H. Been saying the same all season. Very excited about the 2015 season. Expect to win at least 12 games. Really hope Washington can be a part. Team should be better just from our starters coming back. Need a little help on the offensive side. Surely the draft will be more leaning towards ofense.

  10. By djjackson81 on Feb 4, 2015 | Reply

    Everyone didn’t want to see Horton leave, Bowles came in the personnel changed some a tweek in Bowles schemes from Horton and the D shot up the rankings. It’s the personal as much as it is the D coordinator Imo. If AZ can address The interior OL after installing Cooper at LG add a RB via draft or vet FA look out. Got to get Ellington off the work horse idea. Use him for his strengths in space. Palmer coming back healthy AZ should be good to go. I am excited to see Niklas and Fells at TE. Zasty back on punts big difference, I bet the cap cuts are Dockett, Lyle, Ginn, draft needs OLB/Edge rusher-ILB-C-RB. I am fine with Stinsen, Martin, Rucker splitting time at DD position.

  11. By Card Shark on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    Needs are far more than what seems to be apparent. Wasn’t it strange that when Cooper took over at LG that we had two of our best rushing games. We kept hitting the left side for great gains. We need a true speed rusher. We need a pounder in the backfield. Dwyer was great until he left. Lineman, speed rusher, big back and possibly a replacement for Cromartie.
    What affordable free agents would the Cards be interested in?

  12. By JohnnyBluenose on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    I agree that Ginn contributed very little this year except for his one big return against the Giants. But we should not put all the blame on Ginn. It was our coaching staff who put him out there in the first place and then kept him out there all year.

  13. By Marc on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    D Wash?

    As soo as he is reinstated for drugs he will be re suspended for fomestic violence, on a team whose owner is the chair if the nfl anti-dv committee. A mandatory 6 game suspension, and a guy who would have played very little football in two years. I would not bet on Wash being a contributor this year.

  14. By clssylssy on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    Wow…can’t say I’m not a little bit disappointed with the talent available the Cards have waited around and look to be on the skimpy side. At least with Bowles (I was skeptical then too) he had a resume with interim coaching experience. This person seems very very young without the years experience, other than carrying a clip board for someone else. In this league, it takes more than just running schemes and I have the sense that BA will be doing the play calling on both sides of the ball…we saw how good that worked out on offense, so I hope I’m wrong! I hate to make snap judgments so will wait until all the facts are in, we see who we end up with in addition, and most importantly we see which players we actually have coming back and what the roster looks like. Bowles was adept at making changes in the defense as dictated by our opponents which was much of the reason for our success and is so necessary in today’s NFL; that kind of defensive mind comes with years of experience which is the part that makes me uneasy. I believe in promoting from within but I also believe that the person with the best resume and qualifications is what counts in hires for a top position. It will be interesting to see just which starters we do have returning, as currently there seems to be more positions of need to be addressed than we’ll be able to accommodate in the draft and Cards fans have shown they expect instant success from Rookies.
    At this point, I would have to say the Jets and even the Titans have made more impressive moves for getting a staff together than the Cards, but we shall hope this turns out better than it looks!

  15. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    “Bettcher was not only the outside linebackers coach in Indy, he was also Pagano’s right-hand man.”

    Not a bad guy to learn under.

    In his four seasons in Baltimore, Pagano’s defenses allowed the second-fewest points per game (16.3) and the second-fewest net yards (292.3) in the NFL. The Ravens also ranked third in the NFL in scoring defense during that span.

    One thing I notice about the Ravens and now the colts, is Pagano likes the bigger dlineman and fast playmaking linebackers. His raven teams created a lot of turnovers.

    If Bettcher caught everyone’s eye and he was mentored by Pagano, get him his players and let this guy at it. It should be fun.

    I’d be curious to know if the cards have steeler pro bowler Ike Taylor on their radar? I know Cro is number 1 priority and they like Bethel, not sure if he is the guy. But bringing in Taylor and mixing in Bethel wouldn’t be the worst thing.

  16. By Darren Urban on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Free agency

    Maybe, but like every year, it’ll depend on what Taylor is looking for. They already have their No. 1 CB. The No. 2 isn’t going to break the bank.

  17. By Big Ken on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    Ike Taylor needs to retire. Let him sign on with the Titans and their weird situation.

  18. By D on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    A lot of pressure on Bettcher just like the rest of the coaches and GM since today we are sitting at almost 10 mil over the Cap, loss of a good coach in Bowles and an aging starting QB coming back from a serious knee injury.

    Cap Space-
    Convince Fitz to stay and play for less, hopefully freeing up around 7-8 mil for the Cap.
    Cutting Docket and Ginn, saving another 9.3 mil combined.

    With those 3 moves, should free up around 17 mil to start free agency, of course you need a chunk of that for the draft picks, so other moves maybe needed.

    I would see how free agency plays out in the Guard and Center positions. There are some quality players that maybe available, but some will be tagged.

    Guard possibilities- Franklin, Boling and Iupati (whom probably will be tagged)

    If the Cards cannot upgrade the RG from one of those 3 above, I would see them draft a Right Guard.

    Center possibilities- S. Wisniewski or R. Hudson-both would be upgrades from Lyle.

    If they couldn’t upgrade the RG but could land one of those 2 Centers, then they should look to release Lyle S. His departure would save another 3.1 million.

  19. By clssylssy on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    All that “learning from the Master” is great, however, there is a major difference between having knowledge and actual “in the trenches” experience…the difference between theory and practical application. I’m sure that this guy has the intellect but I’m just saying, a seasoned veteran with an impressive resume would have been nice and contributed to the credibility of the franchise. Plus, players, and even some rookies, choose where they want to work by looking at the program and the credentials of the people running it as it gives a good indication of the likelihood of their success down the road. These days it’s a lot about creds and name recognition.
    Then too, I guess one has to look at how our OLB did this year and exactly how good was this guy in his previous role with regard to production. That,in itself has been subject to dispute on this very site.

  20. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply



    I didn’t know if there was any ties or if you heard anything.

    Break the bank?
    I could see Taylor more like a Larry Foote. I think he has a year left but he should not get paid big money. He missed 11 games last year and will be 35 when the season starts.

    I was thinking more of a 1 year stop gap at a lower budget. Give Bethel or a rookie a chance to mix in there and make 2016 a smoother transition.

    Maybe Taylor has other ideas and maybe the steelers want to keep him. He just seems to fit the mold of those low dollar 1 year players we like to sign

  21. By Darren Urban on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Taylor

    Maybe. But if they think Bethel has the goods, it’s probably time to find out rather than delay it yet again.

  22. By tkm on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    i don’t know if i like this promotion,i guess if staying in house to keep defense familiar with same scheme,there’s only so many choices.there had to be better choices outside of organization with much better resumes than this guy,seems to me to be a guy who thinks his poop don’t stink,cards fan since 1965,don’t like this move.but again,don’t go the practices so only my long as players res pond that’s all that matters.i hope in this case i am wrong about my opinion.

  23. By AZ Elvis on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    You all make good points but all I want is some ole’ Big Red Football!!! GO BIG RED!!! CANNOT WAIT FOR SEPTEMBER!!!

  24. By AZ Elvis on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    Good “ole that was suppose to be 🙂

  25. By Julius on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    I think ACro is gone. I think Dockett will be a tough player to cut. His leadership to a young group is immeasurable. Cardinals are missing a pass rush specialist. Those guys are not every down players when they’ve been in the league a few years. We need to get to a point to where we are not blitzing so much and wearing out our players. P21 needs to bring it. ACro on First Take says P21 isn’t putting in the necessary work on his technique. DWash isn’t going anywhere. Having M Bidwill heading the committee gives him a first hand look at rehabilitation of these athletes. If you’re just going to get rid of players with issues, why have a committee? JCooper is the real deal and he needs to play right from the start. He’s the Cardinals version of Suns player Alex Len. Freak injuries that will eventually go away and he’ll be a gem on that OLine.

  26. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    I have never had such a hard time making mock draft as I have this year. Maybe because we have holes in a lot of spots.

    Massie needs to be upgraded at RT, Both guard spots were weak, A big back is needed, not to mention a young franchise QB. On defense, we need to get younger on the dline. we need 3 of the 4 linebackers upgraded, and a CB opposite PP.

    You just can’t get that in one draft. So you have FA. But it is tough because players will be signed before FA opens by their teams and never hit the market, while others may be salary cap cuts and hit the market.

    So, here is my 2.0 version of the offseason.

    The cards are currently 8.6 million over the cap, so we must address with a budget in mind.

    I would sign Guard Clint Boling (solid Guard), NT Terrence Knighton (Huge and will stop run), DE Jared Odrick (Take over Docketts spot), and CB Ike Taylor (starts opposite PP)

    Cap space cleared by releasing Dockett, Powers, Ginn, shaughnessy, carlson, and alexander, and Larry Fitzgerald traded for a 4th round pick.

    So with the FAs signed, here is my draft.

    1st round – trade down into round two and pick up a 3 in the process.

    (1st) 2nd round – Nate Orchard OLB – Explosive off the edge, can hold the edge on run plays. Paired with Okefor could have a nice pair of young OLBs

    (2nd) 2nd round – Eric Kendricks – ILB, fast, good in coverage and tough. Will help card fans forget about DWash.

    (1st) 3rd round – David Johnson RB, – Maybe you never heard of him, but you will. From Northern Iowa, he is a big back that can cut on a dime. He is a great receiver and fits what the cards need.

    (2nd) 3rd round – Josh Shaw CB, – Shaw is a big Cb who could sit behind Taylor and take over in 2016

    (1st) 4th rounder – Stephone Anthony – ILB, showed during the senior bowl practices he can cover. great athlete and explosive.

    (2nd) 4th rounder – Ali Marpet T/G/C – Marpet was a LT but showed he can play anywhere on the line.

    5th round – Tre Mcbride WR – Star at the east.west shrine week, this guy could be a steal in the same way Smokey Brown was.

  27. By br in nc on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    Fellow Card fans, I tried to warn everyone about Ginn when we signed him, look back at my posts, everyone was so excited but I saw to much of him here in Carolina, the Panthers didnt blink they wanted him out, fumbles and fair catches way to much, oh well, lesson learned.
    Totally agree with the RB Johnson out of UNI, to weird I was going to post about him and how he is one of my top small school gems, also want to mention Justin Hardy/ECU WR, perfect replacement for Ginn, as well he would fill the #2 WR spot quite nicely!! Kindrick the LB if that is the kid im thinking about (3 down LB plays sideline to sideline, good at both pass and run, but not great at any one aspect? If its the same guy then im in 100% agreement!! Only disagreement is QB, dont need to draft one at all this year, Thomas has earned another year of development, after all Lindley was kept around for what, 3 years so they could try and develop him, and Logan Thomas is lightyears ahead of Lindley, personally Im on the Logan Thomas is our QB of the future, and a outstanding one at that!! But I do believe that we were on opposite sides of the fence before I left for deployment, oh well, you know everyone cant agree on everything!! LOL!!!

  28. By tigerrussel1 on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    We won’t know if this hiring is good or not until he at least gets one year under his belt. I have confidence in Arians and being Pagano’s right hand man sure doesn’t hurt. I think we need to draft a good DE in the first round and a QB in the 2nd or third. Hoping Arians gets off his Big arm thing and drafts a really smart QB from a decent program. We also need to take a big RB in rounds 3-5, just my opinion.

  29. By William Barry on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    I have full confidence in Bettchner…..and hiring Sanders as LB coach is great. I love the background of Sanders, who has been a DC on Green Bay, and has coached the LB of the Raiders….another good pickup……GO CARDS

  30. By Scott H on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    JohnnyBluenose –

    No argument there! I really can’t believe the coaches did not give someone – ANYONE – else a chance to make some returns during the season. What the hell was there to lose???? At the VERY least, it might have served to light a fire under Ginn’s sorry rear end. Something sure needed to.

  31. By D on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    Ike Taylor, too old/slow and most likely TN bound. He follows LeBeau like CRO will follow Bowles. I agree with Mr. Urban, time to put Bethel into the fire.
    (I would keep Powers for one more year but draft his replacement this spring)

  32. By NJAzCardsFan on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    Darren- Is Abraham expected back or will he be forced to retire from the concussions???

  33. By Darren Urban on Feb 5, 2015 | Reply

    NJAz –

    RE: Abraham

    He is a free agent but he recently made a Twitter comment that he might try to play one more year.

  34. By Coach K on Feb 7, 2015 | Reply


    Your mock is interesting. I like many of the picks, especially at LB.

    I like the idea of moving down out of round one for more picks. The Patriots have made that move pay off many years with great picks added to later rounds.
    I trust Keim and his scouts would do a great job finding talent in later rounds.

    So I think that’s an interesting concept.

    I also have certain players I feel would fit the Cardinals like a glove.

    I like the big LB from Miss. State., but I don’t feel he is worth a first round pick. I would rather take a more versatile player like Cameron Erving to upgrade the O-line. There are plenty of talented linebackers in the later rounds. If Shaq Thompson was on the board at pick #24, I would take him without hesitation. He is dynamic and a game changer. Outside of Erving and Thompson, I would consider trading down if both were gone by pick #24.

    This draft is extremely deep at receiver. This will push many blue chip players down the board. This is good news for the Cardinals who don’t need a receiver. Hopefully a Erving, Thompson, or even Mariotta falls. That would be very interesting if Mariotta was sitting there at #24.

  35. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 8, 2015 | Reply

    Coach K,

    Mariotta falling to 24 would be game changing. I believe that I would have to grab him at 24. Funny, Aaron Rodgers was suppose to go #2 behind Alex Smith and he fell to the Packers at (you guessed it) #24.

    Andy KW, likes the big guy from Miss St. . I like Kendricks better because he can cover TEs better than any LB and he can tackle.

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: