Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson spent the better part of his day on Wednesday speaking with the Buffalo Bills brass for their vacant head coaching position. Jackson appears to be one of 10 candidates who have interviewed with Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, as well as general manager Doug Whaley and team president Russ Brandon sitting in. It's unknown when Buffalo will make a decision and how far along Jackson is on their preferential list.
If Jackson leaves, the Bengals in-house candidates for the offensive coordinator position appear a bit weak, which looks to favor the inexperienced James Urban.
James Urban (wide receivers coach): Urban doesn't have any experience as an offensive coordinator but has coached under Andy Reid (head coach), Brad Childress (offensive coordinator) and Marty Mornhinweg (coordinator) on an Eagles team that routinely ranked in the top-10 from 2004-2010.
From '09-10, Urban was the Eagles' quarterbacks coach and was promoted as an assistant offensive coordinator, working closely with Mornhinweg in game preparation on Feb. 10, 2011.
"I’m absolutely pleased to have the opportunity to work with the different positions on offense and improve my knowledge," said Urban via a phone conversation. "It’s great to be working with Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg, who are great role models for me. I’ll be helping with the game planning, and also be working toward my goal."
Two weeks later, the Bengals announced that they hired Urban away from Philadelphia, helping the recently hired Jay Gruden, to install an offense with a new quarterback and No. 1 receiver, all while the NFL was gearing up for a lockout. Urban replaced Mark Sheppard, who had left to become the new quarterbacks coach in Jacksonville. In other words, Urban accepted (basically) a demotion to go to Cincinnati.
"This is a wonderful opportunity coming to work with (head coach Marvin) Lewis," Urban told Enquirer.com. "It allows me to continue to expand my knowledge base and work in a different organization and contribute to what we're doing. There are some similarities in the verbiage and the concepts and some familiarity there. I've heard great things about Jay and am excited about working with him."
Urban worked under Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden for three seasons, who applied a modified west coast offense from his brother, who coached with Reid under Mike Holmgren. Jackson replaced Gruden in 2014, holding to most of the same concepts, while adding a simplified progressions for quarterback Andy Dalton.
Urban is heading toward an eventual promotion as an offensive coordinator. Could it be in Cincinnati? If Jackson leaves, it might be the safest bet.