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Ravens hiring former Bengals WR coach James Urban as QB coach

The former Bengals wide receivers coach is leaving Cincinnati for a division rival.

Cincinnati Bengals 2011 Headshots Photo by NFL via Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals are parting ways with wide receivers coach James Urban as he leaves town to join the division-rival Baltimore Ravens as quarterbacks coach.

This is a mostly lateral move for Urban whose contract with the Bengals expired at the end of the 2017 NFL season. He will now be coaching Joe Flacco and his backups. The Ravens may be seeking a quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft, too, so Urban could have a rookie quarterback on his hands in 2018, too.

Urban just finished his seventh year as the Bengals’ wide receivers coach, a role in which he has helped coach up great players like A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. However, his inability to get more consistent (or any) production from high draft picks like John Ross and Tyler Boyd made him a candidate to be let go this offseason. It seems he will be leaving by choice though and moving on to the Ravens.

Back in 2015 when offensive coordinator Hue Jackson left to become head coach of the Browns, Urban was mentioned as a possible replacement. That job ultimately went to Ken Zampese, who had a disastrous stint in that role before being let go two games into the 2017 season.

Urban was once again thought to be a candidate to replace him, but that ultimately went to then-quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor, who will remain offensive coordinator in 2018.

Urban doesn’t have any experience as an offensive coordinator, but he did coach under Andy Reid with the Eagles from 2004-2010, which typically had top-10 offenses. Urban spent seven total seasons with the Eagles. He was assistant to the head coach from 2004-06, offensive quality control coach in 2007-08, and became quarterbacks coach from 2009-10.

That last title was also a reason why there was some thought the Bengals could keep Urban in 2018 and move him to quarterbacks coach since there’s a vacancy there.

The Bengals now have openings for their offensive line coach, wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach, and all defensive coaching roles. Teryl Austin is reportedly in town today to interview for the DC opening. No other names have surfaced as candidates for any of the open roles. Former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will be leaving for the Raiders. So, the Bengals will be facing at least two of their former assistants in 2018 as the Bengals play the Raiders and Ravens (twice).

Former Bengals offensive linemen Willie Anderson did mention on Twitter that he is not being considered for the offensive line coaching job as the Bengals only want an experienced coach in the job.