Report: Cardinals to hire Steelers running backs coach James Saxon
The Arizona Cardinals have found their new running backs coach, according to the NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach James Saxon will run the same group for new Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
As Kinkhabwala notes, Saxon’s resume this past season made it puzzling to see him part ways with the Steelers on Jan. 7.
To recap: James Saxon helped expand Le’Veon Bell’s game. He helped guide James Conner to a Pro Bowl year as arguably the team’s most improved player. And under his guidance, Jaylen Samuels – a kid who’d never had 19 carries on ANY level – went 19-142 vs the Pats. Yep, let him go.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) January 7, 2019
There weren’t many jobs Saxon could move to where there is an argument he has nearly as much running back talent, but the Cardinals qualify.
David Johnson is coming off a down year, but is still only 27 years old and became one of the best running backs in football in 2016.
Rookie Chase Edmonds was impressive while serving as Johnson’s backup. The fourth-round pick had 60 carries for 208 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 20 receptions for 103 yards.
Kirby Wilson was the Cardinals’ running backs coach for 2018. Arizona ranked last in the league for rushing yards per game at 83.9.
On Sunday, the Cardinals announced they had hired David Raih as wide receivers coach, Steve Heiden as tight ends coach and Brian Natkin was named the assistant offensive line coach under Sean Kugler, who was brought in as the new offensive line coach.
The Cardinals have not yet hired an offensive coordinator to work with Kingsbury.