While most teams hiring new defensive coordinators this offseason are making a change due to disappointing 2014 campaigns, that’s not the case in Arizona. Former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who was named Assistant of the Year by the PFWA, had such a strong season that it buoyed him into a head coaching job with the Jets. Now that they have to tab a replacement for Bowles, the Cardinals will try to maintain the status quo as much as possible, and will promote an internal candidate to DC next week, head coach Bruce Arians confirmed today in an appearance on ESPN’s NFL Insiders (link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com).
“The defensive coordinator will come off our staff,” Arians said. “It’ll be one of the young guys. And we’ll bring in some guys to help him. We’ll wait until the Super Bowl is over but we’ve got everything in place and we’re ready to go.”
The Cardinals’ in-house options include James Bettcher, Brentson Buckner, Kevin Ross, Nick Rapone, and Tom Pratt, and while Arians didn’t specify which of those coaches would be promoted to defensive coordinator, it sounds like he has someone in mind. As Urban writes, the fact that the head coach referred to “one of the young guys” indicates that Bettcher, a highly regarded assistant who currently coaches the team’s outside linebackers, could be the Cards’ man.
As for the guys who will be brought in to “help” the new coordinator, one candidate for such a role was Dick LeBeau, but as we heard over the weekend, he won’t be reconnecting with Arians in Arizona after all. In fact, Gil Brandt of NFL.com tweets that it now appears that LeBeau will join the Titans, though that’s not official yet.