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Giants defensive coordinator Bettcher wants staff to seek diversity in players for 3-4 scheme

James Bettcher of the Cardinals looks on during

James Bettcher of the Cardinals looks on during a preseason game against the Chiefs at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. Credit: Getty Images / Christian Petersen

New Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher is expected to make some significant schematic changes for the upcoming season. Before he can do that, though, he first has to get some players with significantly different skills.

That’s why earlier this week Bettcher headed a meeting that included every scout in the organization to explain what he’s seeking before that group heads out to mine free agency and the upcoming draft. It was, essentially, the delivery of his shopping list.

“We had a meeting with all the college personnel and all the pro personnel and we sat in there for an hour and a half and James gave us a clinic,” general manager Dave Gettleman told Newsday of the Tuesday gathering, part of the nine days of meetings the Giants have held over the past two weeks to prep for the upcoming roster-building season.

“It was terrific,” Gettleman said of Bettcher’s presentation, which included video clips showing the ideal for each position. “He did a great job and now I feel like we really have a full understanding of what we’re looking for . . . It was a great hour-and-a-half session and Jimmy clinic-ed us and I really feel like we’re all getting on the same page.”

Bettcher, 39, comes to the Giants after spending the past three seasons as defensive coordinator of the Cardinals. There he ran a defense that was based on a 3-4 scheme. That’s a departure from the 4-3 system the Giants have used for the better part of the past two decades and it will require some adjusting of positions.

“There’s not a huge change [in the secondary],” Gettleman said. “It’s the front seven.”

The Giants will need different types of linebackers and defensive ends than the ones they have been accumulating, and those who remain will undoubtedly be asked to broaden their job descriptions.

“He’s a little bit multiple in his scheme, which I think is good,” head coach Pat Shurmur has said of Bettcher. “The ability to be multiple, in my opinion, as long as you can still remain fundamental, is something that’s hard on an offense.”

Ultimately, Gettleman said, the Giants aren’t going to be looking for “niche players” who specialize in only the defense they’ll be running. They want guys as multiple as the defense.

“You can call it a 3-4, you can call it an under, you can call it an over, you can call it this, you can call it that,” Gettleman said. “But at the end of the day we’re looking for football players.”

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