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Going with inexperienced Bettcher is 'a risk,' new DC will have to win over key veterans

Local reporter Kent Somers gives some insight to the new hire.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

So far, with the promotion of James Bettcher to defensive coordinator by the Arizona Cardinals, all we have heard is optimism. Bettcher is a rising star. Bettcher has great command of the room. He wants a fast and physical defense. It's everything you want to hear.

AZCentral beat writer Kent Somers was a a guest on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and discussed some of the challenges of naming Bettcher the new DC, calling it "an interesting move," as he didn't know much about Bettcher.

"On the surface, it's a risk," said Somers. "(He has only) three years in the NFL. From looking at his background, he has never called a defense at any level."

Somers, though, was quick to give head coach Bruce Arians some credit. "(He) has done a very good job of identifying coaching talent and putting together a really good staff."

Somers was also in studio with Jody Oehler and Mike Jurecki on Fox Sports Radio 910, where he also pointed out "there's a reason why Arians wanted to bring in a Dick LeBeau or a Dick LeBeau-type and hasn't yet."

He noted how Arians prepared Bettcher and how his ability to delegate responsibilities and see who on his staff has potential for promotions. He saw what he wanted out of Bettcher when he was given the tasks of looking at the two-minute drills that every team in the league ran and also analyzing officials and their tendencies in calls they make. He was tasked with making those presentations to the players. That is where Arians saw he has command of the room.

Somers also was asked a tough question -- whom does Bettcher need to win over in the locker room?

"I think with (Patrick) Peterson there has to be a tremendous belief," he said. "I think if Darnell Dockett comes back, he has to believe in the defensive coordinator because we've seen Darnell butt heads with a defensive coordinator before -- Ray Horton -- and it did not work and it hurt that defense.

'If you bring Darnell back, he has to buy in to this guy because he had bought into the Todd Bowles regime."

Somers said that Rashad Johnson is another guy to win over -- not because he is tough to deal with -- but because sometimes a guy like Johnson will have to make a defensive call on the field before the call can come in from the sideline and he should be on the same page philosophically as Bettcher.

The other thing Bettcher will need to do, according to Somers, is "challenge Peterson" to help him reach the potential the team believes he can reach "and give him a path to do it."

Can Bettcher do all that? If he can, it will be something. Not only does he have to show he can call a defense, but he has to do with with a team that has played great defense and is expecting to be Super Bowl contenders. That's a tall order for a guy who has only three years in the NFL.