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New Arizona Cardinals DC James Bettcher 'has control of the room'

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Veteran Lorenzo Alexander is optimistic about 2015 with a new DC.

Defensive coordinator James Bettcher
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher
AP

The Arizona Cardinals defense, although with some upgrades, has question marks moving forward because of one big unknown -- how will new defensive coordinator James Bettcher be in terms of scheme and game planning, and how will the players adjust, now that Todd Bowles has departed to become the head coach of the New York Jets?

Veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander spoke to Ed Cole of NBC Sports 1060 AM and indicated Bettcher is "the same guy" he was last year.

"He's very confident, he has a plan," said Alexander. "He doesn't seem like he is trying to be Todd Bowles, which I think is very important as far as him creating his own identity and his own defense, and he has control of the room."

That last part is super important for a team who had success under Bowles. The players, at least for now, according to Alexander, are buying into what Bettcher is telling them.

That isn't to say there won't be challenges moving forward.

"When you first become a coordinator following a guy like Todd, everybody wants to do it the same and wants you to be like Todd and the same atmosphere," Alexander explained. "He's holding his own.  I think guys are respecting him and that is probably going to be our biggest hurdle, just making sure that guys understand that this is his defense now."

There are new faces on the defense. They added Corey Peters, Cory Redding, LaMarr Woodley, Sean Weatherspoon and Alfonzo Dennard in free agency. They also drafted Rodney Gunter, Shaq Riddick and Markus Golden. They did not play in the Todd Bowles scheme. So there will not be the entire room having played in the Bowles system. But players like Alexander, Calais Campbell, Frostee Rucker, Patrick Peterson, Jerraud Powers and Rashad Johnson will have to lead the way.

"We've got to run it the way he wants it," Alexander said.  "But at the same time, he understands he might have to make some tweaks and stuff like Todd did as well to fit the players."

If Bettcher learned anything from Bowles, he will do exactly that.