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Arians endorses Bettcher, Armstrong for Cardinals’ head coaching job

LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Former Cardinals' Head Coach

When former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians joined Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Friday, it was no surprise to hear who he would endorse as his replacement.

Arians made a strong case that his defensive coordinator for the past three years James Bettcher could get the job done.

“He’s qualified, he has the respect of the organization top to bottom, but mostly the locker room,” he said. “He’s a great presence in front of our team.

“They know him, they respect him, he’s bright, he’s got an unbelievable future in this business and I think he’s more than ready to lead us on and be the head coach.”

Bettcher, 39, was reportedly the first candidate to interview for the job. Due to the organization’s familiarity with Bettcher, it is not expected for him to receive a second interview, unlike Keith Armstrong and Steve Wilks.

Speaking of Armstrong, the Atlanta Falcons’ special teams coordinator since 2008 also has ties with Arians. Playing for him at Temple and then becoming a part of his staff, Armstrong is another candidate Arians has faith in as a successor.

“One thing about a special teams coordinator is they deal with the entire football team so they are addressing that team. They have the largest classroom of all the coaches so they’re used to addressing an entire offense, defense — all the guys.”

Arians admits Armstrong has his own way of communicating with players, but in a way that will feel familiar to the Cardinals.

“Keith has a special way about him,” he said. “I know people that saw ‘Hard Knocks’ thought maybe he was too tough on his guys but I think Steve (Keim) and Michael (Bidwill) gotta say ‘we’ve been watching that for five years’ so I think he’s our kind of guy.”

Arians, of course, has his own reasons to believe in those two. He has ties and familiarity with them, but it would also make life easier for him when he wants to visit his team at times. He knows that his presence could make it more difficult for another head coach he doesn’t have a relationship with.

“Being very selfish, I want to be able to come back and go to training camp and not have anybody looking over their shoulder that doesn’t know me and be able to hang with Steve and Michael and hopefully one of those guys is coach and still be a part of the organization in a very small way,” Arians said.

As much as he loves the organization and his players, Arians knows he has to distance himself if there’s not that trust there.

“If I don’t know someone I don’t want them to feel like I’m interfering in any way in their job,” he said.

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