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Kareem Martin to play linebacker, and translator, for Giants

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New Giants will help teammates learn James Bettcher’s defense

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Arizona Cardinals
Kareem Martin
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Martin played for James Bettcher the past four seasons, with Bettcher coordinating the Arizona Cardinals defense during the last three. He knows that part of his role with the New York Giants will be helping his new teammates understand what Bettcher is asking them to do.

“Yes, that’s something that I expected when they gave me the call and made the offer,” Martin told New York media on Friday morning. “I knew that I would probably be looked upon as a guy who would be asked those types of questions about the defense after being in it for the last few years and even talking with the coaches at dinner and things -- they were telling me that they know I was comfortable in the defense, and if I found any way that I could help those guys learn it or different techniques that we had learned in the past in this defense, to feel free to do that. So I think I’ll be a big help in helping a lot of the guys understand the defense along with the coaches as well. I know they’re going to do a great job of teaching it and learning it themselves.”

Here are a few other takeaways from Martin’s remarks.

On what Bettcher, hired by Pat Shurmur to run the Giants’ defense, is like ...

“Oh man, he’s a great guy. He’s a real family man. I was real excited to get back with him. When I met him, he greeted me with a big hug and before I knew we were going to dinner, I was going to go to his house and have dinner with him and his family, and he’s just a genuine person and I can tell he really cares, not just about Kareem Martin the football player, but about me as a person and my family and that also helps making this decision on coming here.”

On what to expect from a Bettcher-coordinated defense ...

“It’s going to be a relentless defense. We’re a heavy blitz team in the past years and he likes to get guys run up the field and I think that’s what the guys are going to be really excited about, especially the guys up front. It’s a one gap defense, so the guys up front, the outside linebackers and D-line, we’re just expected to go straight, hit the gap and cause disruption. You look at the last few weeks of our season last year, that’s what we did in Arizona, and I can fully expect with the guys that we have here that we will do the same and easily compete with the talent and with this scheme, this could be a top defense in the NFL.”

On the possibility of ex-Arizona teammate Tyrann Mathieu joining the Giants ...

“That would be amazing. He’s such a great player and he thrives in this defense the last few years. He’s a playmaker and with him and Coach Bettcher, Bettcher knows how to put him in the right spots to make him successful and I’m not sure what he’s hearing as far as free agency goes, but I would love to have him come back here and play with me.”