NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the San Francisco 49ers are hiring former New York Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher in a senior defensive role. Bettcher interviewed for the Chicago Bears vacant defensive coordinator position this past week. Bettcher served as the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants defensive coordinator from 2015 through 2019. The 42-year-old has the experience to assist new Niners DC DeMeco Ryans.
With the Cardinals, Bettcher’s defenses ranked second, second, and third in DVOA. Those numbers shot up with the Giants as New York was 25th and 28th in defensive DVOA. Bettcher has served as an outside linebackers coach and a special teams coach in the past decade.
If you’re trying to connect the dots in free agency, Bettcher coached Leonard Williams on the Giants and was Arizona’s defensive coordinator when the Cardinals drafted Haason Reddick. We’ve discussed Reddick as an option opposite of Nick Bosa. We’ll see if Bettcher has any other ties to specific players once we get closer to free agency.
Bettcher brings experience for a first-year defensive coordinator. That alone makes him a good hire. John Lynch did the same thing when he was named GM for San Francisco when he brought in Martin Mayhew. Ryans appears to be doing the same.