Eric Bienemy is now a Washington Commanders coaching staff member as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. It was no secret that Bienemy would keep his options open after winning two Super Bowls in Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid. The culture hoped that an NFL team would be smart enough to elevate him to a head coaching position after his showing that he is one of the best offensive minds in the NFL.
Repeatedly, the 53-year-old has been passed over for head coaching jobs, and he reportedly has interviewed for 12 head coaching positions over the past five years. Now Bieniemy replaces Commanders offensive coordinator Scott Turner and is No. 2 on the coaching staff next to head coach Ron Rivera. The crimson and gold never finished higher than 23rd and 20th in scoring and total offense during Turner’s three years.
The Big Turnaround
Now Bienemy will try to turn around a DMV-based offense that has struggled for the past six years. Bienemy is used to playing in the upper echelons of NFL rankings, but now with the Commanders he is with a team that has failed to finish with an offense ranked in the top 15 in either points or yards the last few seasons.
Former coaches under Andy Reid, like Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson, were catapulted into head coaching roles after working under him, but Bienemy is still searching for his moment.
“I’m hoping he has an opportunity to go somewhere and do his thing where he can run the show and be Eric Bieniemy,” Andy Reid said to ESPN.
The statement is a nod to the fact that Reid gets most of the praise for Patrick Mahomes’ dynamic playing ability at the gunslinger position. With the facts about who is calling the plays that have made Patrick Mahomes the heir apparent to the top quarterback throne, Bienemy cannot shake the shadow of Andy Reid, which is why leaving K.C. was an intelligent move.
However, if the Commanders don’t improve under Bienemy, it can also be treated as an exposé of his talent. Ironically, for his signing picture with the Commanders, Bienemy flexed something his new boss Ron Rivera cannot as a coach, a Super Bowl ring.
Rivera did win one as a player at Super Bowl XX in 1986 as a member of the Chicago Bears. It also doesn’t hurt that Rivera coached under Reid for five years, and the two remain close. Reid’s unwavering support of the Bienemy most likely lent him some more political currency for the Commanders’ offer.
Washington reportedly liked how creatively the Chiefs maneuvered their talent and enjoyed Bienemy’s presence, his ideas during the interview, and his plans for using Commanders players.
Bienemy is walking into a Commanders franchise that is still reeling from toxic workplace culture and controversial leadership. More than football operations needs to be turned around in D.C., and Bienemy enters the team when talks about a potential sale are more and more prevalent.
With the plight of Black coaches still a live issue due to their scarcity in the NFL, Eric Bienemy is another example of a deserving Black coach that has yet to gain access to the next level, head coach of an NFL franchise.