New Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy says he believes that he can be a head coach in the NFL eventually. But right now, it’s not worth talking about.
Today? He’s officially part of the Washington coaching staff, and that’s all that matters.
Bieniemy said all the right things upon being introduced by the franchise as its new co-head coach and offensive coordinator on Thursday. The former Colorado Buffaloes standout tailback comes to the team as a high-caliber addition to Ron Rivera’s staff. He also happened to help guide the Chiefs to their 38-35 win over the Eagles in Super Bowl LVII about two weeks ago.
Bieniemy has been rising through the ranks for several years now, and he’s been a candidate for a much bigger job on more than one occasion. However, he’s also been noticeably passed over all of those times, and it’s kept his name swirling in a breeze of controversy. For many fans and observers, the question remains out there: Why hasn’t he gotten a head coaching position yet?
For his part, Eric Bieniemy didn’t fall into the trap of talking about it. Instead, he was quoted multiple times as saying he was “fired up” about being part of the Commanders organization. The prolific play-caller sounded like he was just focused on getting to work in D.C., and nowhere else.
“Being a head coach right now, it hasn’t happened,” Bieniemy said. “It’s not anything that’s going to impact me moving forward because the only thing I need to be concerned with is what’s important today.”
“Today I got to be the best person that I can be. I got to be the best coach that I can be.”
In his seasons as the Chiefs’ Offensive Coordinator, the team appeared in three Super Bowls, winning two (including this year). With two-time MVP Patrick Mahomes at the helm, Bienemy’s offense was consistently ranked near the top of The League.
That’s why it became so baffling to many that he hadn’t taken the logical progression. Some called it racism on the part of NFL owners, while others said that Bieniemy had been ‘exposed’ as not being all he was cracked up to be. Still more thought that perhaps he might have some other baggage that no one outside the NFL knew about – although this last scenario doesn’t seem likely. In the end, it’s hard to tell where the truth lies.
For now, Bieniemy is focusing on the task at hand. And that’s probably for the best.
It’s going to be a tall order for Bieniemy to help Rivera turn things around. Washington (8-8-1) finished last in the NFC East and struggled to find any semblance of consistency in 2022. They only scored 18.9 points per game and the franchise has only qualified for the postseason twice in the last 10 years. Their last appearance was in 2020 when they squeaked in with a 7-9 record. On top of all of that? They haven’t won a playoff game since 2005.
So, the thought of ‘next year’ is probably far from Eric Bieniemy’s mind right now, because the ‘right now’ is total chaos. And if his NFL future is going to be secure? Any failures right now won’t help his cause. So perhaps the coach knows what he’s doing by merely keeping his eyes straightforward.