In somewhat surprising news, the Bengals announced today they've signed James Urban to be their new wide receivers coach. It's odd for a few reasons. For one, Urban was just recently promoted to assistant offensive coordinator for the Eagles after serving as a quarterbacks coach for several years. Urban had been tipped by several NFL pundits as a future offensive coordinator candidate somewhere.
So here's he's decided to take what appears to be a demotion to go work in Cincinnati. Considering the Eagles just promoted him, it would stand to reason that they liked him and wanted him around... but in order for him to make this move, they would have had to give their formal permission for him to leave. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said that Urban will help new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden in installing the west coast offense.
"I am very excited to be able to bring Jim to Cincinnati to work with our receivers," Lewis in a news release "He brings us a wealth of knowledge in an offensive system very similar to what Jay Gruden is installing for us. This is a very good fit for our team."
Oddly enough, Urban is arguably more qualified to be the offensive coordinator in Cincy rather than Jay Gruden, whose experience is largely from arena football... So Urban has left the Eagles to take a lesser position with the Bengals under an arena football coach. An odd choice to be sure.
One little conspiracy theory... James Urban has been the Eagles QB coach for the previous two seasons, Bengals' QB Carson Palmer has demanded a trade out of Cincy, one speculated replacement for Palmer has been Kevin Kolb. So could Urban be a precursor to a Kolb trade?