James Urban returns in 2013 for his fourth season as Bengals wide receivers coach. His group has helped lead the Bengals to the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, and he has had success not only in nurturing the considerable talent of A.J. Green, but also in developing a deep corps of players who can contribute.
Green, the Bengals’ top draft pick in 2011, continued pouring on the honors in 2013. He was voted to his third straight Pro Bowl and was a starter for the second straight year. He had a career-best 1426 receiving yards, and his yardage total for his first three seasons (all under Urban) is 3833, second-most in NFL history behind Randy Moss for most receiving yards in a player’s first three campaigns.
Green last season set Bengals records for most 100-yard receiving games in a season (six) and most consecutive 100-yard games (five). For the second straight year, he was a second-team choice on the elite Associated Press All-Pro team.
Another highlight of 2013 was a breakout season for Marvin Jones, a fifth-round selection from the 2012 draft. Jones established himself as the No. 2 wideout heading into 2014, with 51 catches for 712 yards and 10 TDs. On Oct. 27 vs. the N.Y. Jets, Jones became the only player in Bengals history to catch four TD passes in a game, and only the third Bengal to score four TDs of any kind in a game. He was the first player on any NFL team to catch four TD passes in a game since 2007.
Green had 11 TD catches in 2013, and he and Jones became the first Bengals WR duo to each get double-figure scores in a season.
Urban has also overseen the development of another 2012 draft choice, Mohamed Sanu, into a strong contender for playing time. In 25 NFL games (seven missed to a 2012 injury), Sanu has 63 catches for 609 yards and six TDs.
In 2011, his first Bengals season, Urban had a big job, charged with leading an inexperienced Bengals 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 results were more than favorable, as the young receivers immediately developed a rapport with Dalton and saw continued production throughout the season and into the playoffs.
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 2010, 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 2004-06 and was offensive quality control coach in 2007 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.
Running backs coach Hue Jackson and wide receivers coach James Urban discuss the sixth-round selections of Rex Burkhead and Cobi Hamilton.