NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Pat Shurmur’s coaching staff is starting to take form.
The Giants will hire James Bettcher as their new defensive coordinator, replacing Steve Spagnuolo, the NFL Network reported late Tuesday night. Big Blue also has hired former Denver Broncos wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert for the same role.
Jack Del Rio, the former head coach of the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars, was believed to be the favorite to get the job, but Shurmur opted instead for Bettcher, who helped guide the Arizona Cardinals to a top-10 defense in each of his three years as their coordinator.
Bettcher, 39, had reportedly interviewed for the Cardinals’ head coaching job that went to Steve Wilks and was also a candidate for the Tennessee Titans’ defensive coordinator opening. Prior to being promoted to the Cardinals’ top assistant position in 2015, Bettcher held positions as linebackers coach for Arizona and the Indianapolis Colts.
Bettcher is known for putting together aggressive 3-4 schemes that feature a lot of blitzing and excellence against the run. The Giants will need a new approach after finishing 31st out of 32 teams in the NFL in yards allowed (373.2 per game) and 27th in points allowed (24.2).
What remains to be seen is how new general manager Dave Gettleman will revamp a defense that not only had a hard time stopping opponents, but also featured some players that proved to be disciplinary problems. Three cornerbacks — Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple — were suspended at various points during the season.
Tolbert spent the past seven seasons in Denver, coaching receivers such as Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Eric Decker and Brandon Lloyd. Tolbert, 50, also has previously served as the wide receivers coach with the Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals.
He will now take over a talented squad led by Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall.
News of Tolbert’s hiring was first reported by Mike Klis of KUSA-TV in Denver. Tolbert had changed his Twitter bio Wednesday to say “Wide Receiver Coach for @Giants” and posted a Giants banner graphic.
Klis reported that Tolbert received strong interest from multiple teams and that he remains “well-regarded in Broncos headquarters.”
Shurmur is expected to call plays for the Giants offense, the NFL Network reported. As the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings this past season, he worked wonders with third-string quarterback Case Keenum, who was forced into action in Week 2 and ended up having a career year.
Overall, the Vikings finished with the NFL’s 11th-ranked offense.
The Giants are expected to formally introduce Shurmur at a Friday news conference.