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James Bettcher Among Bears Defensive Coordinator Candidates

The Bears reportedly interviewed former Giants and Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher for their vacancy at the position.

Sam Bettcher Bears
Photo: Michael Chow/azcentral Sports

According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Bears spent some time with former Giants/Cardinals defensive coordinator, James Bettcher, as they search for Chuck Pagano’s replacement.

Bettcher has four years of defensive coordinator experience with the Arizona Cardinals (2016-2017) and New York Giants (2018-2019), but he did not coach in 2020. It’s a little odd that the Bears are looking at another coordinator not employed the previous year, and it’s becoming a trend. The Bears hired Chuck Pagano after his year away from football in 2018. They also hired Bill Lazor as their new offensive coordinator after he took 2019 off. Such absences don’t necessarily make any of the aforementioned names unfit to do their jobs, but it’s strange when considering all the possible options.

Bettcher served as an outside linebackers coach for Chuck Pagano in 2012 and also coached under Pat Shurmur with the Giants. Even taking those connections into consideration, this potential hire still makes very little sense. The last time the Bears were cautious and hired an elder defensive coordinator who knew the system, there was a regression in performance. While Bettcher is only 42 and the output under Pagano doesn’t translate entirely, it’s still enough to make Bears fans a little weary.

In hindsight, the Bears now know that letting Brandon Staley walk out the door wasn’t the right move. The Bears currently have two impressive internal candidates that they need to prioritize, as there have been plugs for Jay Rodgers and Sean Desai. Sam Acho recently spoke out about the latter candidate.

As things currently stand, it seems as though most of the fan base prefers an internal hire before bringing in an outside candidate. Sam Acho went into detail about why he prefers the hiring of Sean Desai over Jay Rodgers and it centered around his ability to see the game. Acho even says Desai reminds him of Brandon Staley.

At this point, it’s just an interview. Bears fans can only hope that the Culture and Collaboration at Halas Hall will land them the best defensive coordinator available.


Host and lead contributor for Bears OnTap. If you cut me open, you'll see orange and blue flowing out of my veins. I live for Chicago Sports, but I'd trade 1 Super Bowl for ten championships in any other sport. Daaaa Bears!!

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