Pat Shurmur has his defensive coordinator and the New York Giants have the defensive help they’ve needed.
The Giants agreed to hire former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher late Tuesday night, a source told ESPN. Bettcher met with the Giants in Mobile, Alabama, on Tuesday afternoon, while he was in town for the Senior Bowl.
Bettcher also interviewed with and received an offer from the Tennessee Titans to be their defensive coordinator, the source said.
The 39-year-old Bettcher wasn’t retained by new Cardinals coach Steve Wilks, who was hired Monday.
Bettcher, who joined the Cardinals in 2013 as their outside linebackers coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2015 after Todd Bowles vacated the position to become the New York Jets‘ head coach, has a track record of blitz-happy, solid run defenses.
That’s welcomed news for the Giants, who finished this season ranked 31st in yards allowed per game and passing yards per game, and 27th in rushing yards per game. The Giants were also ranked 31st in point differential per game and yard differential per game.
Bettcher led the Cardinals’ defense to a top-10 ranking in the past three years. The only other team to accomplish that feat was the Denver Broncos.
Under Bettcher, the Cardinals allowed the fewest yards per rush (3.67) and forced the most fumbles (60) since 2015, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They also had the seventh-most sacks during that stretch with 121, compared with the Giants, whose 85 were the fewest in the NFL.
Bettcher’s defenses blitzed at the second-highest rate in the NFL over the past three seasons. The Giants had the 17th-highest blitz rate over the span.
Bettcher interviewed for the Cardinals’ head-coaching job, as well.