Mike Mitchell

Coaching Notes: Ravens, Colts, Bills, Browns

Ken Norton Jr. is heading to the NCAA. The long-time coach is expected to join UCLA as their new linebackers coach, reports Bruce Feldman of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Norton Jr. started his coaching career with USC, but he’s been in the NFL since 2010. After winning three Super Bowl rings as a player, Norton Jr. added another championship to his resume as the Seahawks linebackers coach. After five seasons in Seattle, Norton Jr. was defensive coordinator for three years with the Raiders and four years with the Seahawks (second stint).

Norton Jr. was let go by Seattle following the 2021 campaign. Now, he’ll be joining Chip Kelly’s staff in Los Angeles.

More coaching notes:

  • The Ravens announced that they’ve officially promoted Anthony Weaver to be their assistant head coach/defensive line coach. Weaver had a long coaching stint with the Texans, culminating in him serving as their defensive coordinator in 2020. The 41-year-old joined the Ravens last year as their defensive line coach/run game coordinator.
  • Former NFL safety Mike Mitchell is joining the Colts staff as an assistant secondary coach, according to Stephen Holder of The Athletic (on Twitter). Mitchell had a 10-year playing career, including a one-year stint with Indianapolis. The Colts are also hiring Nate Ollie as their defensive line coach, per Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (via Twitter). Following two seasons with the Eagles, Ollie spent last season as the Jets assistant defensive line coach.
  • Bills secondary coach John Butler got a promotion, adding the role of defensive passing game coordinator to his title, according to Wilson. The veteran has spent the past four seasons as the secondary coach in Buffalo. The Bills also confirmed a number of additional hires, including Kyle Shurmur (defensive quality control coach), Nick Lacy (strength and conditioning assistant coach), Marcus West (assistant defensive line coach), Jaylon Finner (defensive quality control coach), Cory Harkey (assistant special teams coach), and Austin Gund (fellowship coach).
  • The Browns are expected to promote offensive assistant T.C. McCartney to tight ends coach, according to Wilson (on Twitter). The 32-year-old has bounced around the NFL a bit during his coaching journey. After spending the 2019 campaign as the Broncos quarterbacks coach, McCartney spent the 2020 season as an offensive assistant on the Browns.

Colts Place S Mike Mitchell On IR

The Colts will be without safety Mike Mitchell for Saturday’s game against the Chiefs, and the remainder of the playoffs should they win. Mitchell has been placed on injured reserve due to the calf strain he suffered last week. To take his place, the club promoted fellow safety Rolan Milligan to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. 

Mitchell was one of several veteran safeties who had a hard time finding work last offseason. In October, the Colts added him on a low-cost, one-year deal and he proved to be a brilliant signing. Mitchell served as a mentor to the club’s young secondary players and the team busted out of an early season slump as soon as he arrived. The Colts started 1-4 but rallied to win ten of their next 12 games after Mitchell came into the fold.

He’s just savvy,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said of Mitchell in October. “I mean, just savvy and plays hard. Just seems to be in the right spot at the right time. Is disciplined, you know that’s really what we look for is when a guy can be savvy and instinctive but yet play with discipline. He’s just a real pro and he shows that.”

In his run as a spot starter for the Colts, Mitchell tallied 28 tackles, one interception, one pass defensed, and two forced fumbles.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/9/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit, courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Colts Sign S Mike Mitchell

The Colts are signing safety Mike Mitchell, a league source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it’s likely a low-cost one-year pact. 

Mitchell was one of several veteran safeties who were victimized by an uncharacteristically slow market for the position this offseason. The Steelers cut him loose in early March and nothing came of his multiple workouts. Mitchell tried out for the Cardinals in July, showed his stuff for the Titans before they signed Kenny Vaccaro, and worked out for the Bears and Bengals in September. Finally, Mitchell has an NFL deal, and it’s with the Colts.

Mitchell, 31, spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he started each of his 61 games. In 13 games last season, Michell finished with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

The Colts expect to have starting corners Quincy Wilson and Kenny Moore back from their concussion layoffs when they face the Jets on Sunday. Mitchell, meanwhile, will be on hand to provide depth in the middle of the field.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/17/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s of Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • TE Nick O’Leary (link)

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Bears Audition S Mike Mitchell

It’s been a quiet offseason for safety Mike Mitchell, but it sounds like the safety got a workout on Monday. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Michell auditioned for the Bears today. The reporter adds that the work out “sounded like it went pretty well.”

After being released by the Steelers in early March, the 31-year-old only had a pair of reported workouts during the offseason and preseason. Michell met with the Cardinals back in July, and the Titans gave him a look before signing Kenny Vaccaro.

Mitchell, 31, had spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he started each of his 61 games. In 13 games last season, Michell finished with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

With DeAndre Houston-Carson dealing with an arm injury, the Bears are only rostering three healthy safeties in Eddie JacksonAdrian Amos, and Deon Bush. At the very least, Mitchell could help provide some experience to a relatively inexperienced bunch.

Titans To Meet With S Mike Mitchell

The Titans are looking to evaluate all possible options in the wake of Johnathan Cyprien’s season-ending ACL tear. Former Steelers safety Mike Mitchell will be among the safeties to meet with the Titans and his visit is set for Friday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Mitchell’s visit will coincide with Kenny Vaccaro‘s meeting with the Titans. The club is also considering 49ers free agent Eric Reid, according to head coach Mike Vrabel.

Mitchell, 31, has spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he’s started each of his 61 games. Mitchell appeared in 13 games this past season, finishing with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates. He’s not a world-beater, per se, but he does offer a great deal of experience and could be a fit for the Titans’ defensive scheme.

It has been a quiet offseason for Mitchell on the whole, but he did meet with the Cardinals in late July.

Cardinals To Meet With Mike Mitchell

Former Steelers and Panthers safety Mike Mitchell is scheduled to visit with and take a physical for the Cardinals on Wednesday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). If he signs, the deal would reunite Mitchell with Steve Wilks, who was the Panthers’ defensive backs coach during his best career season in 2013. 

The 31-year-old has spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he’s started each of his 61 games. Mitchell appeared in 13 games this past season, finishing with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

Mitchell was slated to carry a $5MM salary in 2018, which was not workable for the Steelers given their limited room. Given the nature of the free agent safety market this offseason, a deal with the Cardinals would be for considerably less.

The Cardinals’ secondary will look quite different this year without Tyrann Mathieu moving between safety and cornerback. Mitchell, if signed, would serve as a backup behind Antoine Bethea and Budda Baker.

Steelers Interested In Bringing Back Mike Mitchell

While Mike Mitchell is set to test the open market, a return to Pittsburgh is still in the cards. Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert spoke to the veteran safety today and expressed interesting in bring him back in 2018. While Mitchell is planning on hitting free agency, Pelissero notes that the “door remains open.” The veteran was released by the Steelers earlier this week.

The 30-year-old has spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he’s started each of his 61 games. Mitchell appeared in 13 games this past season, finishing with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

Mitchell was slated to carry a $5MM salary in 2018, which was not workable for the Steelers given their limited room. The safety will have to compete with a deep free agent class and declining skills in pursuit of a new deal, but he should be able to find work as a veteran presence in the secondary. The Steelers could apparently be that team, as Mitchell would realistically be an upgrade over some of their current options, including Robert Golden and J.J. Wilcox.

Steelers To Release Mike Mitchell

The Steelers are expected to release Mike Mitchell next week, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). They remain open to bringing him back a reduced salary, however. 

Mitchell was slated to carry a $5MM salary in 2018 which was not workable for the Steelers given their limited room. His so-so season at free safety didn’t help matters either. Mitchell missed three games last season and ranked as just the No. 62 safety in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. At the same time, he was Pittsburgh’s highest-rated safety, per PFF, which underscores their need in the secondary.

Mitchell has been a starter for Pittsburgh over the last four years and, up until last year, he had never missed a game in black and yellow. He’ll attract interest from other teams, but his age (31 in June) and the depth of the free agent safety market may work against him.