James Bettcher named Cards' DC

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals didn't look far to find their next defensive coordinator.

Outside linebackers coach James Bettcher was promoted Wednesday to replace Todd Bowles, who left the Cardinals on Jan. 13 to become the head coach of the New York Jets.

Bettcher was hired by Cardinals coach Bruce Arians in 2013, joining him from Indianapolis, where he was the special assistant to the head coach and helped coach outside linebackers. With Bettcher's help, Robert Mathis was named to his first Pro Bowl at outside linebacker. Bettcher assisted Arians for the 12 games he was Indianapolis' interim head coach while Chuck Pagano was on leave for the treatment of leukemia.

In two seasons under Bettcher's direction, the Cardinals' outside linebackers have flourished. John Abraham had 11.5 sacks and went to the Pro Bowl in 2013, and Alex Okafor had a team-high eight sacks in just 13 games in 2014.

Before his year with the Colts in 2012, Bettcher spent nine years as an assistant coach in the college ranks. He coached linebackers and was the special-teams coordinator in 2011 at New Hampshire, and coached defensive ends and special teams in 2010 at Ball State. He was a defensive graduate assistant from 2007 to 2009 at North Carolina and in 2006 at Bowling Green. From 2003 to 2005, Bettcher was the special-teams coordinator and defensive line coach at St. Francis, where he played from 1999 to 2002.

To replace Bettcher, the Cardinals hired Bob Sanders as their linebackers coach. He was most recently the Oakland Raiders' linebackers coach in 2013-14. From 2009 to 2012, Sanders coached the Buffalo Bills' defensive line and linebackers. He was Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008 after spending a year as their defensive ends coach.

With Bettcher's promotion and Sanders' hiring, the Cardinals are still one linebackers coach short. Mike Caldwell, who coached inside linebackers for the past two seasons, joined Bowles' staff in New York.

Arizona also announced that former assistant to the head coach Mike Chiurco was promoted to defensive assistant and assistant defensive backs coach. Wesley Goodwin was named assistant to the head coach.

The Cardinals will formally announce Bettcher's promotion at a news conference next week.