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Leftwich QB Coach With Coaching Staff Change

Posted Jan 27, 2017

Kitchens switches from coaching quarterbacks to running backs as Mitchell leaves

New Cardinals quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich works alongside backup quarterback Drew Stanton before a game last season.

The day after the season ended, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked if he might make any moves on his coaching staff.

“I’m just hoping that Goody gets a job, but I’m not anticipating any changes,” Arians said.

“Goody” was offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, who interviewed for three vacant head coaching positions. He did not get any of them, and will return to the staff. But it turns out the Cards indeed will have some changes on staff.

Friday the team announced current quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens is moving to coach running backs, while the team will promote Byron Leftwich, who spent the 2016 season as a coaching intern, to quarterbacks coach. Stump Mitchell, who coached running backs the past four seasons, has left the staff.

The coaching staff has been off since the Wednesday after the season, following exit interviews. They are due to return to the office Monday.

Leftwich played 10 years in the NFL with the Jaguars, Falcons, Steelers and Buccaneers. He was chosen in the same draft as Cardinals starting quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer went No. 1 overall to the Bengals in 2003, and Leftwich went No. 7 to Jacksonville.

Leftwich has ties to Bruce Arians after playing for Arians in Pittsburgh as a backup to Ben Roethlisberger.

Kitchens is the longest tenured member of the coaching staff, having arrived with Ken Whisenhunt in 2007. He coached tight ends under Whisenhunt, moving to quarterbacks when Arians arrived in 2013. Arians was the offensive coordinator at Alabama in 1997, when Kitchens was the starting quarterback as a senior.

The rest of the coaching staff remains intact, although the two-year term for Bill Bidwill Fellow Levon Kirkland – who had been helping coach outside linebackers – has ended. 

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