Brayden Coombs in 2014 is in his third season in a full staff position with the Bengals. For the second straight season, he will focus his work on special teams while maintaining quality control duties. He has also worked with wide receivers and will retain an on-field role in assisting with that position group.
His expanded role with special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons will continue to include being in full charge of selected meetings, and he will have a central role in game planning and film study. Last season’s special teams performance included a No. 5 NFL ranking in kickoff returns (25.1-yard average), and the Bengals ranked third in the AFC in average drive start (23.2 yard-line).
Individual specialists continued to flourish with the Bengals in 2013:
● P Kevin Huber maintained his franchise career records in gross average, net average and ratio of inside-20 punts to touchbacks. Huber hit key late kicks in consecutive wins against New England, Buffalo and Detroit.
● Brandon Tate posted the second-best kickoff return average (26.1) in Bengals history and moved into the franchise’s lead for career KOR average (24.8).
● K Mike Nugent delivered a solid season after missing the end of 2012 with an injury. Nugent hit game-winning FGs in consecutive games at Buffalo and Detroit, and he twice hit from 54 yards. Nugent was three-of-four overall on FG tries from 50 or more yards.
● LS Clark Harris continued his perfect career performance in avoiding any unplayable snaps.
Also last season, Coombs helped develop two rookies — S Shawn Williams and LB Jayson DiManche — into the team’s 1-2 finishers in special teams tackles. And DE Carlos Dunlap blocked two FGs, the first Bengal with more than one blocked kick in a season since 1991.
Coombs has worked with Bengals flagship WR A.J. Green since Green’s rookie season. Green has posted the second-most receiving yards (3833) of any NFL player in his first three seasons.
Coombs in 2012 aided in the development of a young and talented Bengals receiving corps, which on opening day averaged 23.5-years old. Six of the seven receivers who saw game action in ’12 had less than three years of experience, as the receiving corps as a whole accounted for 220 receptions, 2712 yards and 22 TDs. Each of those numbers was up significantly from 2011 (183-2403-14).
Coombs first joined the Bengals in December of 2009 as a coaching intern, and was elevated to coaching assistant before the 2010 season. He spent 2010 working primarily with the defensive staff, focusing on the defensive backs and assisting with video breakdown and game-plan construction.
Coombs played collegiately at Miami (OH) from 2005-09, where he lettered four times. He spent two seasons as a DB, and then was switched to WR for his final three years. He set a school record for receptions in a game (14) in his final appearance as a senior, against Buffalo.
Coombs is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Colerain High School. He earned a degree in business from Miami. His father, Kerry, is the cornerbacks coach at Ohio State.
Playing and coaching history: 2005-09—Played defensive back and wide receiver, Miami (Ohio). 2010-11—Coaching assistant, Cincinnati Bengals. 2012-present—Assistant coach, Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals are trying to wrap up a couple of deals before free agency opens next week in an attempt to keep their offensive line intact and begin the effort to shore up their linebackers corps.
The Bengals are hoping to keep a few of their own this season in free agency, like middle backer Rey Maualuga. The model for what they do this March might be what they did three years ago.