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Posts tagged with "Bettcher"

Notes: Handful of Cardinals return home to Philly; Watford can step in if Boone not ready

Rookie linebacker Haason Reddick will try to get after the quarterback as an outside linebacker after Markus Golden‘s injury.
Yes, James Bettcher knows rookie Haason Reddick is smaller for a typical outside linebacker, weighing about 235 pounds.But the Cardinals defensive coordinator still has confidence Reddick will be fine in that regard. To that end, he talked Thursday about former Colts Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis, whom Bettcher once coached when he was in Indianapolis.

“Robert Mathis, I had him on the scale one time,” Bettcher said. “He was like 212 pounds. He’d probably

wrestle with me if I told somebody that, but that’s what he really was – 212 on the scale. But no one could block him, and he could power and bull anyone.“(Size) doesn’t matter. When you have speed and you have power, you can rush on the edge. Learning how to use the speed and how to use the power will be the next thing for (Reddick.)”

No one is comparing Reddick to Mathis at this point. Reddick was just learning how to play inside linebacker when Markus Golden’s season-ending knee injury changed the plans. Now, Reddick will split time with Kareem Martin as Golden’s replacements.


Bettcher said Reddick’s role on the outside will be similar to what they did with him as an inside linebacker – certain packages at first, with an increasing role as time goes on. As for using him inside as well, Bettcher only said “there will be packages where you will see him doing different things.”

That’s fine with Reddick, who has maintained all week he is prepared for whatever happens.

“I was asked to help out there, which I am willing to do,” Reddick said. “How much I’m expected to play or how often I’m there, that I don’t know.”

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Bettcher now can play some games on the defensive side of the ball.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

James Bettcher has been experimenting with zone coverages the past couple of years, but thanks to some untimely assignment miscommunications and less than requisite speed at the linebacker position, the efforts to incorporate more zone looks into the Cardinals‘ defense have been thwarted.

However, with the additions of Karlos Dansby and Haason Reddick to the defense, Bettcher suddenly has the kind of speed, flexibility and athleticism it takes to play effective zone coverage. Dansby’s experience and his uncanny sense of where the ball is going makes him an asset in zone coverage. With Reddick, Bettcher gets a superior athlete who can drop into the hook zones and converge on a WR or RB with dispatch. In addition, Bettcher can send Reddick on blitzes and drop the now lighter and more spry Chandler Jones into coverage.

On the perimeter, Patrick Peterson and Justin Bethel have the speed to take away their deep thirds of the field and at times Bettcher can roll one of them up to disguise man to man and then rotate the safeties over the top. On one zone play during the pre-season, Peterson nearly intercepted a deep pass that normally a QB would not throw in his direction because the coverage was well disguised.

The safeties, Mathieu, Branch and Bethea, are interchangeable, just as Bettcher likes his safeties to be and thus Bettcher can have Honey Badger blitz on one play, dog the flat on the next, and play over the top on the following. The safety roles in the zone schemes are also made to order for the intuitive Budda Baker and speedy Rudy Ford.

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