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Pagano: James Bettcher "A Great Teacher"

Notes: Bowles would "lose my left arm" for Arians; Medical timeout in effect


Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher is a "leader of men," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Tuesday.

Chuck Pagano knows James Bettcher.

The Colts' head coach first worked with Bettcher – the new Cardinals' defensive coordinator -- when Pagano worked at the University of North Carolina as defensive coordinator and Bettcher was a graduate assistant. Bettcher later was Pagano's right-hand man on the staff when Pagano took the Indianapolis job.

That Bruce Arians, Pagano's offensive coordinator in Indy, took Bettcher with him to the Cardinals was not a surprise. Neither, Pagano said, was Bettcher's promotion last month to replace Todd Bowles.

"James is a smart guy, he's a good football coach and he's surrounded by a bunch of good football coaches," Pagano said during the AFC coaches breakfast Tuesday at the Arizona Biltmore, during the NFL spring meetings. "At the end of the day, somebody has got to pull the trigger, somebody has to have the final say. Obviously B.A. had a lot of respect for and thought a lot of James when he left and took him with him.

"I know he'll do a great job. Together they will have success."

Pagano said Bettcher is great with players, which will help. Following Bowles – who was about 30 feet from Pagano speaking at his own table – isn't a simple transition.

"James is a relationship guy so he can reach guys, he's a great teacher, he can motivate," Pagano said. "He's a leader of men and they will follow him."


Bowles' love for Arians hasn't changed.

"I'd lose my left arm for him," Bowles said Tuesday morning.

As for the defense Bowles was leaving in Arizona, cornerback will have to be readjusted. Bowles himself took one of the Cardinals' starters in Antonio Cromartie. Bowles praised the tremendous physical gifts of young cornerback Justin Bethel, saying Bethel only needs to upgrade the mental part of his game to be a successful cornerback.

But Bowles emphasized it should be veteran Jerraud Powers as front-runner to take Cromartie's starting job.

"Don't underestimate him, please," Bowles said. "He's a tough guy."


Teams voted to allow for an independent neurologist to be able to call a medical timeout if it's deemed necessary. The latter comes on the heels of questions at the Super Bowl when Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman looked woozy but remained in the game. It was the most significant of a few safety changes teams approved. Other changes included expanding the scope of the defenseless receiver rule and the peel-back block rule.

Another rule change allows for replay review of the clock at the end of the half, game or overtime if more than one second remains.

The replay system remains unchanged. The Patriots' proposal to have permanent cameras in place on the sidelines, end lines and goal lines for review purposes was tabled until there is further research done on the subject.

Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said he remains open to conversations about making the game better, including through replay. Technology advances can only help the game, Bidwill said.

"Our fans want more information about the game, more insider access and technology is the pathway to do that," Bidwill said. 

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