Newly minted New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur has reportedly made his first assistant coaching staff hire on the defensive side of the ball.
Per the NFL Network, former Cardinals assistant coach James Bettcher will join Shurmur’s staff as the team’s defensive coordinator, the same role he held under former Arizona head coach Bruce Arians.
Bettcher had reportedly drawn interest from the Tennessee Titans, who recently named former Houston Texans assistant coach Mike Vrabel as its new head coach.
Bettcher’s pro coaching career began in 2012 when he was the outside linebackers coach with the Colts when Arians was the interim head coach. After Arians left, Bettcher followed Arians to Arizona, serving as the team’s outside linebackers coach from 2013-2014 and then its defensive coordinator from 2015-2017, taking over the role for Todd Bowles, who left in 2015 to become the head coach of the New York Jets.
Cardinals blitz rate each year James Bettcher was Defensive Coordinator:
2015: 47% (1st)
2016: 41% (T-1st)
2017: 37% (T-5th)
— Ryan Smith (@PFF_Smith) January 24, 2018
The 39-year-old Bettcher had reportedly been recommended by Arians for the Cardinals head coaching vacancy, the role ultimately going to former Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.
Although Bettcher and the Cardinals had a 3-4 defense, he also ran multiple looks that included some 4-3 and some 4-2-5 looks. Bettcher’s defenses have a reputation as being aggressive.
Per ESPN Stats & Information, the Cardinals defense has allowed the fewest yards per rush (3.67) and forced the most fumbles (60) since 2015. They also recorded the seventh most sacks (121) over that same period.
In 2017, the Cardinals defense finished as the seventh best overall in terms of average yards surrendered per game (310.9) and sixth best in stopping third down conversion attempts (36 percent). The Cardinals defense also had 10 more sacks (37) than the Giants in 2017 (27).
Shurmur will be formally introduced as the Giants new head coach Friday morning in a press conference to be held at the team’s East Rutherford facility.