Mike Florio and guests on “Pro Football Talk” on NBC Sports on Sirius XM Channel 84 suggested that Eric Bieniemy’s visit with the Kansas City Chiefs prior to the AFC championship game and during Super Bowl week in Vegas isn’t just casual.
Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes were reportedly very excited to have Bieniemy back in the mix, and Reid mentioned that Bieniemy drove to Baltimore and spoke to the Kansas City offense before their convincing AFC championship win over the Ravens.
Patrick Mahomes Won Two Super Bowls With Eric Bieniemy
Patrick Mahomes expressed how passionate and respected Bieniemy is and said the team got “chill bumps” when EB stepped into the locker room.
Bieniemy hasn’t received any head coach offers, and after a season in which he worked wonders at times with mediocre rookie QB Sam Howell, he was released from his duties with Washington, who preferred to hire offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who failed with Kyler Murray in Arizona.
Word on the street is Kingsbury has a great relationship with USC quarterback Caleb WIlliams, who is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. After getting the pink slip, Kingsbury spent last year as a senior offensive analyst at USC, where he worked closely with the Trojans’ Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.
Caleb Williams Is From D.C.: Washington Commanders Trade Up From No. 2 Pick?
Williams, who is from Washington, D.C., is probably hoping reports are true concerning the Commanders trying to move up one spot in the draft to grab their franchise quarterback.
The Chicago Bears hold the top pick but are expected to stick with former No. 1 pick Justin Fields and use this draft to drastically upgrade the offense.
In hindsight, the Commanders probably did Bieniemy a favor by releasing him. He’s now free to rejoin Andy Reid and the Chiefs in some capacity next season while also guaranteed to be engaged in competitive football with the best quarterback in the game. Maybe it takes an offensive innovator like Reid to appreciate what Bieniemy brings to an offense.
The weapons were limited, especially at quarterback, but Bieniemy’s presence definitely improved Washington’s offensive potential, especially early in the season before the franchise began tanking for Caleb.
It was initially suggested that Bieniemy would take over the Washington offense for a few seasons and then assume the head coach position once defensive-minded Ron Rivera departed.
Rivera was cut loose and Washington decided to go in another direction and hire Dan Quinn as the 31st head coach in team history. The former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator led one of the best units in the league, but in an era where offensive acumen is king, to ignore Bieniemy is another odd occurrence in the struggle for Bieniemy to get one of the NFL’s 32 coveted head coaching jobs.
NFL Analysts Believe Bieniemy Being Groomed To Take Over For Andy Reid
Florio and his co-hosts think EB is around for a reason. They may be projecting a bit, but it totally makes sense. Kansas City is the only franchise that seems to value Bienemy to the standard of his résumé. He’s basically in no-man’s land right now.
Andy Reid said recently that he’s not thinking about retiring anytime soon. On Wednesday, at a Super Bowl presser he said in reference to the possibility of retiring.
“You’re going to know when it’s time. Today’s not the day.”
That’s why Bieniemy took a lateral move to Washington in the first place. It was a try-out to see if the franchise thought he was head coach material, and Bieniemy got his answer in the form of a pink slip.
That may devalue him with other teams, but not Kansas City. The Chiefs, who are attempting to win its third Super Bowl and first without EB as offensive coordinator, know his value. Veteran playcaller and former Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy has done an adequate job with the offense this season, but there was a clear dropoff from when Bieniemy was assisting Reid in calling the shots from 2018-22.
Reid, who told reporters Bieniemy’s coaching future is “great” despite being fired by the Washington Commanders, also let it be known that Bieniemy is still getting looks from other teams with coaching vacancies.
In addition to adding inspiration to the offense, another reason for Bieniemy’s presence probably has to do with being in the thick of the action, being accessible and visible.
When Bieniemy left for Washington, there were rumbles that his aggressive demeanor didn’t sit well with Patrick Mahomes at times. Mahomes has denied any bad feelings toward him and even credited EB’s presence with being a boost for the team.
Despite Reid’s continued endorsement, Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan said in November that players would not give Bieniemy a “glowing endorsement” if asked by ownership.
“I continue to hear that if this is up to the players, if they are counseled in any way by this ownership group, there will not be glowing endorsements by and large for Eric Bieniemy, from the guys on offense,” Paulsen said. “I’m not sure his style works in today’s NFL as we think it might. I just continue to hear from people in and around the building that the players that are working under Bieniemy aren’t necessarily advocating for or standing on the table for him to become the guy.”
Former NFL running back LeSean “Shady” McCoy said similar things about Bieniemy in the past. Criticism of Bieniemy usually focuses on his personality and not his ability.
“What’s his value? What makes him a good offensive coordinator?” McCoy said. “See, the problem is a lot of these people who go on social media (and say) ‘Oh, he should be the guy for the job,’ they haven’t played there, they’re not in the locker room. They’ve not been in the rooms where he’s coaching. He has nothing to do with the passing game at all. When the plays are designed, that’s Andy Reid.”
Personalities count, but great coaches are much harder to find in the NFL than good people. And with legends like Mahomes and Reid in his corner, it’s only a matter of time before Bieniemy gets a taste of the head coach life. With a bit of patience, there are many insiders who feel it could happen in Kansas City.