Coaching turnover was something the Cincinnati Bengals frequently over the past three years. Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, that knob was turned down dramatically as they get to experience newfound continuity with their staff.
One of the changes they did end up making was at cornerbacks coach. The team parted ways with Steve Jackson and replaced him with Charles Burks.
At just 34 years of age, Burks has just three years of experience coaching in the NFL, but he spent the better part of the last decade rising up the ranks at the collegiate level. This is now his second NFL gig as a cornerbacks coach after holding that position with the Miami Dolphins from 2020-2021.
Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, the guy Burks is now coaching under, was in Burks’ shoes not so long ago with the Dolphins. Anarumo’s been around long enough to know what to look for in assistants, and it’s safe to say what he heard about Burks was overwhelmingly positive.
“Great get,” Anarumo said of the Burks hire. “Great recommendations from people I trust. Very good overall teacher. Very good relationship with players. I like him a lot.”
Now with an already young coaching staff, Burks is still one of the greenest staff members, but the common denominator that comes up with him is his ability to teach. Spending nearly 10 years coaching at smaller programs in college surely builds your ability to communicate.
One of his mentors, Ohio State secondary coach Tim Walton, also thinks highly of Burks.
“Up and coming star. An elite thinker with a passion to learn. He’s got a great mind with a vision on how he can impact others.”
Expectations are high for Burks, and he’s walking into as good of a situation as any. Cincinnati should boast another solid secondary with Jessie Bates expected to return in some capacity along with Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton, and Vonn Bell entrenched as starters under contract.
Burks will work directly with Awuzie, Hilton, and whomever the Bengals decide to put alongside them at cornerback. Perhaps Burks will even be given a first-round pick to mold at the position.
Regardless, Cincinnati’s defense needs to continue progressing, and Burks’ coaching will be vital in that process.