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Cardinals Grab Vance Joseph As Defensive Coordinator

Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Then-Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, who has been hired to be the Cardinals' defensive coordinator, yells from the sideline during a game at State Farm Stadium this past season.

The Cardinals have begun to fill out their coaching staff under Kliff Kingsbury, and it starts with the veteran defensive coordinator with head coaching experience so many had speculated upon.

Former Broncos coach Vance Joseph, who was fired after the season by Denver as their head coach, will be the Cards' defensive boss. The Broncos did run a 3-4 base defense, something the Cardinals want to get back to after switching last season to a 4-3 under then-coach Steve Wilks.

"I've known Vance for a little while, and it was good to sit down with him and see where his head was at and tell him my vision," Kingsbury told "His veteran presence, he was just a head coach, I can lean on him for certain aspects and pick his brain on ideas. Great leader, obviously a great defensive mind, and I really think our players are going to respond well to him on that side of the football."

The Cards are also bringing back one of their former defensive coordinators on staff: Bill Davis, who will coach linebackers. Davis was a hire of Ken Whisenhunt in 2007 as linebackers coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2009. He was replaced after the 2010 season by Ray Horton. Davis was the Eagles' defensive coordinator from 2013-15 and spent the last two seasons coaching linebackers at Ohio State. Davis has worked with Joseph previously on the staff of the 49ers.

"I think it's a great get for the Cardinals to get Billy D back," former Cardinals linebacker Bertrand Berry said on "Cards Cover Two," after Berry played for Davis during Davis' first tenure with the team. "I have a lot of love and respect for Billy D, and I appreciate what he did for me and my career at the end. I enjoyed his knowledge of the game, and I enjoyed his approach, because he let you be who you needed to be in order to be successful. He understood what players did best."

Kingsbury also will be keeping special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers from Wilks' staff, after Rodgers helped improve a struggling unit in 2018.

"(Jeff) has done a great job everywhere he's been," Kingsbury said. "He's got a really calm demeanor, players respect him and he's a well-respected coach in this league. He's very knowledgeable about all aspects of the NFL and he'll be a huge help to me on a lot of fronts."

Joseph was a long-time defensive backs coach before becoming the Dolphins' defensive coordinator in 2016. That season, in which Miami made the playoffs, the Dolphins were fourth in third-down defense and, during final 9-2 stretch to make the postseason, created 21 takeaways. the fourth-most in the league.