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Arizona Cardinals expected to promote from within for defensive coordinator

Dick LeBeau is still expected to join the staff.

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With Todd Bowles leaving the Arizona Cardinals to become head coach of the New York Jets, the Cardinals have an important spot to fill with big shoes to fill. Bowles did as good a job as can be done, especially in 2014, when the Cardinals defense was ravaged with injuries.

After a brief bit of speculation that maybe the Cardinals would hire Dick LeBeau to be the next defensive coordinator or might pursue Vic Fangio, two local reporters give us what appears will be the plan.

Both Mike Jurecki from Fox Sports Radio 910 and Kent Somers from AZCentral reported head coach Bruce Arians is planning on bringing in the legendary LeBeau to join the staff, but as a senior assistant. Arians will promote an assistant from the current staff to be the DC. Neither knew who that assistant would be.

Right now the defensive staff includes Brentson Buckner for the defensive line, Mike Caldwell for linebackers, James Bettcher for outside linebackers, Nick Rapone for the defensive backs, Kevin Ross for cornerbacks, Ryan Slowik as an assistant for defensive backs and Tom Pratt as a pass rushing specialist.

Caldwell is rumored to be joining Bowles on his staff as an assistant head coach. Kent Somers also reported Slowik might go with Bowles, too.

Rapone has experience as a DC at Delaware. Bettcher was a special assistant to the head coach on the Colts in 2012 under Chuck Pagano. Caldwell is well respected.

I have not heard timetable for a decision, as I believe Arians is taking some time off right now. We might know what staff changes are made for a few more days.