David Johnson has made a name for himself as one of the very best running backs in the NFL today. Less well known is Cardinals running backs coach Stump Mitchell, the man who is responsible for developing Johnson into an elite offensive weapon. Pro Football Rumors has learned that Mitchell is now in the final year of his contract and he is aiming to take on a larger role next season.
Mitchell hopes to remain with the Cardinals, agent Burton Rocks tells PFR, but Rocks also believes that he is capable of a higher title. Rocks says he could conceivably pitch Mitchell as an associate head coach, offensive coordinator, and even head coaching candidate this offseason. It’s also possible that Mitchell could entertain D-I head coaching job offers if the right one comes along.
Mitchell, of course, has deep ties to the Cardinals after spending his entire nine-year career with the organization. The 57-year-old holds the franchise record in all-purpose yards and is second all-time in rushing yards. Now, he has Johnson on track to eventually leapfrog him in the history books. There’s no sign of a staff shakeup in Arizona, but the Cardinals could theoretically promote Mitchell without displacing another coach. For example, Tom Moore holds the title of assistant head coach on offense, but the soon-to-be 78-year-old could choose to return to a less demanding consulting role.
Before joining up with the Cardinals in 2013, Mitchell was the longtime running backs coach of the Seahawks and also spent two seasons as the Redskins’ running backs coach/associate head coach. He also has college head coaching experience with Morgan State and Southern University. In addition to David Johnson, Chris Johnson, and Andre Ellington, Mitchell’s running back resume also includes the likes of Ricky Waters, Ahman Green, Shaun Alexander, Clinton Portis, and Mike Sellers.
As Johnson terrorizes opposing defenses, the timing could not be better for Mitchell to reach free agency. If the Cardinals’ ground game continues to produce, the veteran coach could have an opportunity to climb the NFL coaching ladder in the New Year.
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