Tight Ends Coach James Casey’s Role With the Bengals
The Bengals coaching staff is full of fresh faces and relative unknowns. James Casey is one of the most intriguing.
Not even first year Bengals tight ends coach James Casey knows what kind of coach he will be in the NFL, this is his first year swimming in the highly coveted pool that is coaching at the highest level.
However, his background can give us some clues. In college, Casey did a little bit of everything in college at Rice. This included a 111 catch season as a tight end. Despite his prolific college pass catching, Casey played in the NFL from 2009-2015, but had just 72 catches in his career.
Whenever you see a tight end who had a fairly long career and that few catches, it means one thing. Guys like Casey do not stick around in the league to make roughly ten catches a year, they stick around because they can block.
Casey can certainly do that. In addition to two years in Philadelphia, he played four of his seven seasons for Gary Kubiak in Houston and Denver. Weather it is C.J. Anderson, Arian Foster, or even Terrell Davis going further back, all those guys made their careers in Kubiak’s offense. That system is based on running the football, even if the ball carrier is not a household name. Tight ends have no choice but to block.
With that background, it is a safe bet that Casey’s tight ends in Cincinnati are going to be asked and taught how to block. Second round draft pick Drew Sample was widely considered the best blocking tight end in college football. New offensive coordinator Brian Callahan also has strong ties to the Kubiak system.
Pass catching will be important for Bengals tight ends too. However, blocking is a much harder skill to teach in today’s NFL. Weather it is coaching hires, draft picks, or free agency moves, Cincinnati’s entire offseason points to a run first Joe Mixon centric offense. The role of a tight ends coach in its success or failure will be largely overlooked by those outside of Cincinnati’s team headquarters, but will likely prove critical.