The New York Giants’ new coaching staff continues to take form, as sources indicate Arizona’s defensive maestro James Bettcher will take over.
The Minnesota Vikings’ season ended, so the New York Giants offseason could officially begin.
One day after they made the head coach hiring of ex-Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur official, the team continued to shape their new staff, hiring ex-Arizona Cardinals defensive boss James Bettcher to the same role.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 24, 2018
Bettcher, 39, spent the past five seasons in Arizona, the final three in the defensive coordinator spot. In each of his three seasons at the Cardinals’ defensive helm, the unit finished no worse than sixth in the league in total defense. The high mark came in 2015, when the unit finished second in total defense, allowing 305.2 yards per game and forcing 28 turnovers.
This will be Bettcher’s first job sans Bruce Arians, the Cardinals’ head coach from 2013-17. Bettcher also served as an outside linebackers coach under Arians when the latter was the interim coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. Prior to his NFL debut in that year, Bettcher was an assistant at several colleges, including his alma mater of Saint Francis (Indiana), where he was a defensive line and special teams coach during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
If anyone should know about Bettcher’s work, it’s the Giants, who were victimized to the tune of a 23-0 shutout in the penultimate game of the 2017 season on Christmas Eve. The Giants mustered a mere 12 first downs, 43 rushing yards, and were forced into three turnovers, including defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche’s 21-yard scoring return of an Eli Manning fumble. It marked the first shutout Bettcher oversaw as a defensive coordinator.
At 39, Bettcher is the third-youngest defensive coordinator in the NFL, trailing only Atlanta’s Marquand Manuel and Robert Saleh of San Francisco, both of whom are 38.
The hiring of Bettcher probably spells the end of the blue line for Steve Spagnuolo, the Giants’ defensive coordinator from 2007-08, and again from 2015-17. Spagnuolo, who served as the team’s interim coach for the final quarter of the season after Ben McAdoo was fired, previously worked with Shurmur in Philadelphia and St. Louis.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490