After sitting out this season, James Bettcher is drawing interest for a potential third defensive coordinator job. The Bears are interviewing the former Cardinals and Giants DC on Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Chicago lost two-year DC Chuck Pagano to retirement and has assembled a short list of replacement options in the days since. Bettcher joins internal candidates Jay Rodgers (D-line) and Sean Desai (safeties) and Colts DBs coach Jonathan Gannon.
The Giants employed Bettcher as their defensive play-caller from 2018-19. His most recent defense ranked 30th in scoring. Bettcher, however, would oversee a more talented unit in Chicago. In Arizona, Bettcher fared better. The veteran assistant was 3-for-3 in helming top-10 total defenses with the Cardinals. Even before Chandler Jones‘ 2016 arrival, the Cards ranked in the top 10 in both yards and points defensively in their 13-3 2015 season. Before his five-year run in Arizona — as a position coach and then the Cards’ DC — Bettcher coached under Pagano with the 2012 Colts.
Bettcher used a 3-4 defense as his base look in both New York and Arizona. The Bears deployed this alignment in base sets under Pagano and Vic Fangio over the past six seasons. Chicago’s defense has ranked as a top-10 DVOA crew since 2017.
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