There is a lot of hype surrounding the Arizona Cardinals heading into next season. Coming off of a trip to the NFC Championship game, many players, coaches and fans expect at least that once again.
Cardinals’ defensive coordinator James Bettcher isn’t shying away from what people are saying about his team.
“I personally love expectations because, and I’ve said this before and this has been said by coaches I’ve worked for in the past, no one rises to low expectations,” Bettcher told Off the Edge on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday. “So, if I walked in the room day one and I said, ‘Ok, all we’re going to focus on is just competing or just playing at whatever-level,’ and the expectation wasn’t a ring on our finger and hoisting Lombardi, I think I would get booed out of the room with the guys we have here.”
Last season, Bettcher’s defense tied for seventh in the league in points allowed and fifth best in yards allowed.
One area on defense where the Cardinals struggled was sacks, as they were tied for 20th in the NFL at 36 on the year. But that was addressed during the offseason, as the Cardinals traded for Pro Bowl pass rusher Chandler Jones, who had 12.5 sacks with the New England Patriots last season. So with many starting defensive players returning and a new proven pass rusher joining the team, Bettcher knows how great his defense should be in 2016.
“We know the expectation and we know that moment is out there in the distance and the only thing you can do to work towards that moment is maximize the moment you’re in,” Bettcher said.
Bettcher said that though the season is months away, what the players do now during OTAs can help them take that next step and aide them in reaching their ultimate goal: Winning the Super Bowl.
“We had the guys in today just for meetings and the thing we talked about is, ‘Hey, we have a two-hour meeting right now,'” Bettcher said. “‘We’re going to focus on these next two hours, we’re going to have a great meeting and it’s going to make a difference when we get to training camp in August. What we do today for the next two hours will make a difference. And it will make a difference what’s at the end of the season for us.'”