New Bengals WR coach James Urban, who coached the Eagles' quarterbacks the past two seasons, sees Cincinnati's wide receivers as a "promising group," he recently told PFW.
Urban, who has studied the Bengals' wideouts on tape, has some talented players to work with; Chad Ochocinco, who caught 67 passes for 831 yards and four TDs last season, could be the club's go-to receiver if he's back for the final year of his contract.
"He's obviously had some very, very productive years," said Urban, hired on Feb. 21 to replace Mike Sheppard, who became the Jaguars' QB coach.
Ochocinco, 33, is reportedly scheduled to make $6 million next season. Terrell Owens, who led the Bengals in catches, yards and touchdowns in 2010, is a free agent and seemingly unlikely to return to Cincinnati.
Late last season, Bengals WRs Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell received more playing time and made the most of it, with Simpson catching 20 passes for 277 yards and three TDs in the last three games and Caldwell hauling in 15 passes for 270 yards. Both fourth-year pros could receive extended playing time this season. Urban called Simpson and Caldwell a pair of "very talented players" who work hard.
To pursue Urban, who had just been promoted to the Eagles' assistant offensive coordinator position, for their WR coaching vacancy, the Bengals had to receive permission from Philadelphia. Eagles head coach Andy Reid, believing the opportunity was a good one for Urban, gave his approval, and on Feb. 21, the Bengals hired Urban.
Urban, who aspires to eventually be an offensive coordinator, believes his work as a QB coach will help him in his new position. He's well-aware of the importance of proper timing in the passing game, he said, and knows that if receivers aren't where they're supposed to be on a given time, the quarterback has to look elsewhere. Urban wants his receivers to consistently win at the line of scrimmage and to beat bump-and-run coverage.
Urban said he's excited to work with Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who will be installing a West Coast scheme, an offense Urban is familiar with from his time in Philadelphia — a stint that saw him work closely with Eagles QB Michael Vick during his remarkable 2010 season.
"I'm very proud of Michael," Urban said.