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49ers Adding Former Cardinals, Giants DC To Coaching Staff

A closeup of a 49ers football helmet. Kyle Shanahan revealed his starter between Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens ahead of Week 3.

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 30: A San Francisco 49ers helmet on the sidelines during their preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium on August 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Over the past few years, the San Francisco 49ers have established themselves as one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. However, with the departure of coordinator Robert Saleh, that reputation may be on the line.

Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers front office seems to be doing everything possible to prevent the defense from taking a step back in 2021. On Saturday afternoon, San Francisco made a savvy addition to sure-up their staff on that side of the ball.


The #49ers are hiring former #Giants DC James Bettcher in a senior defensive role, source said. He’ll provide veteran assistance for new coordinator DeMeco Ryans, as well as simply bolster the staff with the loss of Robert Saleh.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 23, 2021

">to a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the 49ers plan to hire former Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher for a "senior defensive role." The 42-year-old will serve as key confidant for first-year defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans as the team hopes to replace Saleh in 2021. Despite being fairly young, Bettcher clearly understands what it takes to be a coordinator in the NFL. He earned his first role as a DC in 2015 with the Cardinals, where he served for three years. From there, he made the move to New York to take over the same role with the Giants. After taking the 2020 year off, Bettcher will get another chance to make his mark in the league with the 49ers.

Even with their shiny new addition, San Francisco's defensive staff will remain young. Ryans takes over the lead coordinator job after four years on the sidelines with the organization, but is still just 36, without a major role on his resume. He spent the last three seasons working with the team's inside linebackers, which proved to be a fearsome part of San Francisco's front seven. He also proved to be a star during his playing career, so the 49ers must be anticipating a meteoric rise as a coach.

Whatever becomes of Ryans, the 49ers will now add experience to their defensive staff with Bettcher. The next step will be to prove their worth on the field in 2021.