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New DC James Bettcher is a 'shooting star,' expects 'to raise the bar'

The Cardinals introduce the new defensive coordinator.

Associated Press

The Arizona Cardinals held a press conference on Tuesday to introduce new defensive coordinator James Bettcher. The move has been known for a while, but the formal introduction did not take place immediately, as head coach Bruce Arians was on vacation.

But Arians was very optimistic about his new defensive coordinator, who is only 36 years old and has only three years of coaching experience in the NFL.

Speaking to the media, Arians referred to Bettcher as a "shooting star."

Why? It has to do with Bettcher's "command of the room," Arians said. That is "what separates him from other young coaches."

Bettcher then got to take over the media room and explained how his approach to the defense will be similar to what Todd Bowles said when he came on and replaced Ray Horton.

When Bowles first came to the team, Bettcher recalled what he said. "You played great defense here before I came here, so there's already a standard set," Bettcher remembered Bowles saying. "It isn't about continuing to uphold the standard, it's about raising the bar."

Bettcher wants to "find ways to raise the bar" with a defensive unit considered one of the league's best until they struggled down the stretch in 2014.

"I look at playing defense as you're either getting dictated to or you're dictating -- one of the two," Bettcher explained. "We know which one we want to be defensively, and that's to dictate people on first and second down and put us in position on third down to be successful."

Bettcher mentioned the need to give up less explosive plays. ESPN's Josh Weinfuss noted Arizona's defense gave up 75 plays of at least 20 yards, including 14 touchdowns. That is an average of more than four per game.

The language for the defense will remain the same. Philosophically, he agrees with the scheme, even noting the scheme Todd Bowles built over two years would be what he would be using if he were rebuilding a defense elsewhere.

However, we do not know if the 2015 Cardinals will blitz as much as they did with Todd Bowles. Arizona bluitzed more than anyone over the last two seasons. Bettcher indicated it will depend on personnel, which is the easy answer to give because neither they nor we know what the team will look like exactly in terms of defensive personnel yet.

Arians has high hopes for Bettcher. Now having lost one defensive coordinator to a head coaching job, he believes it will happen again with Bettcher.

"I don't think it would be long before he is a head coach," he said of Bettcher.

If that is the result of another few years of dominating defense, Cardinals fans will be able to deal with the changing staff.