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James Urban
Wide Receivers

Bio

James Urban returns in 2017 for his seventh season as Bengals wide receivers coach. His group has helped lead the Bengals to the playoffs in five of the last six seasons, and he has had success not only in nurturing the considerable talent of A.J. Green, but also in developing a corps of players who can contribute. And the 2016 season provided a case study for those two points.

James Urban returns in 2017 for his seventh season as Bengals wide receivers coach. His group has helped lead the Bengals to the playoffs in five of the last six seasons, and he has had success not only in nurturing the considerable talent of A.J. Green, but also in developing a corps of players who can contribute. And the 2016 season provided a case study for those two points.

      Though Green missed all but two snaps of the last seven games, due to a hamstring injury, he was on pace through nine games for the finest season of his stellar career. He had 66 catches for 964 yards, which wound up as his season totals, but at the nine-game mark, those numbers projected to 16-game totals of 117 catches and 1714 yards. Both of those totals would have been Bengals season records, and the receiving yards total would have set a new mark by nearly 300 yards.

      Elsewhere among the WR corps, Urban faced a challenge in ’16. Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, talented wideouts Urban had coached since their rookie season of 2012, both parlayed their Cincinnati success into free agency opportunities with other teams. But in their absences, the Bengals got excellent production from two new faces, veteran free agent Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd.

      LaFell totaled 64 catches for 862 yards, both figures ranking as the second-highest of his seven-year career. Boyd totaled 54 catches and 603 yards, and he led all NFL rookies in third-down catches (22) while tying for the rookie lead in third-down catches that produced first downs (16). LaFell and Boyd combined for 118 catches and 1465 yards, comfortably outpacing the total of 98 catches and 1210 yards produced by Jones and Sanu in 2015, in what was their best combined year.

      Green’s rookie season was 2011, the same year Urban joined the Bengals staff, and despite Green’s missed time last season, he has compiled a spectacular six-year resume. He already ranks second in Bengals history in career receiving yards (7135) and fourth in receptions (481), and by the time his current contract expires (in 2019), he projects to become the all-time franchise leader in both categories. Green stands as the only NFL receiver since the 1970 merger to start his career with five consecutive 1000-yard seasons and five trips to the Pro Bowl, and in 2016, only the hamstring injury kept him short — by just 36 yards — from joining Randy Moss as the only NFL players with 1000 receiving yards in each of their first six seasons.

      Urban had a big job in his Bengals debut year of ’11, charged with leading an inexperienced receiving corps into a new offensive scheme. The presence of a rookie quarterback (Andy Dalton) and limited preparation time (due to NFL labor issues) increased the challenge. But the young receivers immediately developed a rapport with Dalton, and the team reached the playoffs, a finish that preseason forecasters had widely deemed out of reach for the young team.

      Prior to joining the Bengals, Urban was Philadelphia Eagles QBs coach in 2009 and ’10, where he helped direct Pro Bowl seasons for Donovan McNabb (’09) and Michael Vick (’10). In ’10, Vick earned accolades as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year and was the NFC starter in the Pro Bowl.

      Urban spent seven total seasons with the Eagles (2004-10). He was assistant to the head coach from ’04-06 and was offensive quality control coach in ’07 and ’08. During his seven Philadelphia seasons, the Eagles earned five playoff berths and won three division titles. He first worked with the Eagles in 2003, serving as a coaching intern while employed full-time at the University of Pennsylvania.

      A native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., Urban played in college at Washington and Lee (Lexington, Va.) as a wide receiver and kick returner. He worked for seven years in the college ranks — at Clarion (Pa.) University and at Penn — before joining the Eagles.

      James and his wife, Patrice, have two daughters, Brielle and Cassidy, and a son, Jameson. James holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington and Lee and a master’s degree in communications from Clarion.

 

     Playing and coaching history: 1992-95—Played wide receiver, Washington and Lee. 1997-98—Assistant coach (AC), Clarion. 1999-2003—Director of football administration/operations, Pennsylvania. 2004-10—AC, Philadelphia Eagles. 2011-present—AC, Cincinnati Bengals.


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