The Giants are hiring former Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher as their next defensive coordinator, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Bettcher opted to join the Giants as opposed to the Titans, according to Rapoport, who reported earlier in the day that Bettcher was slated to meet with the Giants and the Titans on Tuesday.
The hiring of Bettcher followed reports from days earlier that former Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio had emerged as the favorite to land the job.
Bettcher served as outside linebackers coach for the Cardinals until he became defensive coordinator in 2015 after the departure of Todd Bowles, who became head coach of the Jets. Bettcher coached college football from 2003 until becoming outside linebackers coach of the Colts in 2012.
Bettcher then joined the Cardinals after former Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians became the Cardinals' head coach.
So much for Jack Del Rio being the "favorite" for this job, I guess. The Giants instead hired Bettcher, the man who succeeded Jets head coach Todd Bowles in Arizona. And while he doesn't have the name recognition of Del Rio, much like new Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, he still could end up being an excellent hire.
Consider the job he did in Arizona. In 2014, the last year Bowles was their defensive coordinator, the Cardinals had the 24th-ranked defense in the NFL. In three years with Bettcher calling the plays and designing the schemes, after Bowles left for the Jets, the Cards ranked fifth, second, and sixth (in yards allowed) -- sixth, ninth and sixth against the run. That shows he built a defense that could control the line of scrimmage. He also was known for an aggressive, blitz-happy, 3-4 scheme (though it's unknown if he'll run the same scheme with the Giants, who have been running a 4-3).
Bettcher should have the personnel to do similar damage in New York -- the Giants, after all, still have most of the pieces in place from a defense that was in the Top 10 as recently as 2016. Last season was a mess, of course, and the defense isn't exactly the same as it was two years ago. But key pieces -- defensive linemen Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Damon Harrison, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and safety Landon Collins, for starters -- are all still in place.
Shurmur, the Giants new head coach, is a brilliant offensive mind, so this was his most important hire. Time will tell if he got it right, but history shows he got a good coach who was in demand (the Titans reportedly tried to hire him too). That's a good place to start.