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Giants Hiring James Bettcher as New Defensive Coordinator

Pat Shurmur’s coaching staff is beginning to take shape. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the New York Giants are hiring James Bettcher as their new defensive coordinator. Bettcher spent the past three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals in the same position.

The move came after new Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks chose against retaining Bettcher on his staff. The Tennessee Titans were heavily linked to bringing in the 39-year-old defensive coach, even offering him a deal. Bettcher ultimately chose to sign with New York instead.

He took over for former defensive coordinator and current New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles back in 2015. Bettcher started his coaching career back in 2012 as an assistant for Bruce Arians with the Indianapolis Colts. After Arians left for to take the head coaching job in Arizona, Bettcher followed along, where he was the team’s outside linebacker coach from 2013-2014.

Defensive Scheme

During his three seasons as defensive coordinator, the Cardinals have ranked in the top ten defensively in all three years (fifth in 2015, second in 2016). This past season, Bettcher’s squad ranked as the sixth-best total defense in the league (310.9 yards/game), sixth in rushing (89,6), and 14th in passing (221.3).

Bettcher’s 3-4 scheme is an aggressive one, where blitz’s are utilized often in a game, which explains Arizona’s sixth overall rush defense this season. It certainly helped when he had the likes of Chandler Jones, Karlos Dansby and Temple alum Haason Reddick.  Jones posted a career-high 17 sacks this season, while linebacker Markus Golden notched 12.5. Not to mention Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu in the defensive backfield.

Over his three season tenure, the Cardinals had the second-highest blitz rate, where the Giants’ blitz percentage ranked 17th in those three years.

What Bettcher Brings to New York

Bettcher will move onto one stacked defensive unit to another in the Giants. New York’s defense struggled mightily this past season, ranking 31st in total defense (373.2 yards/game). A lot of that can be attributed to excessive time on the field due to the ineffective offense. Bettcher will look to make the most out of defensive studs Landon Collins, Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon, and Jason Pierre-Paul.

With this hiring, Bettcher brings aggressiveness, as well as discipline, to a Giants defense that had a substantial drop-off from their great 2016 season. Under Shurmur, Bettcher will look to bring the Giants’ defensive squad back to their successful ways.

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