Eric Bieniemy Takes On Commanders OC Role With Chance To Erase Questions About Head Coach Ability

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Eric Bieniemy, who has interviewed for more NFL head coach openings than any person on the planet, is the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders now.

And Bieniemy went to lengths Thursday to let everyone know those futile interviews aren’t his primary concern any longer.

“I don’t like being comfortable,” Bieniemy said. “I’m about accepting challenges and moving forward. So this presents a challenge to me … I’m willing to embrace this journey. And my job is to embrace this journey with the people that are in this building right now.”

New Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. (Commanders YouTube)

An Opportunity To Escape Andy Reid Shadow

Bieniemy spent 10 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was that team’s offensive coordinator the past five seasons while the Chiefs went to five consecutive AFC Championship games and won two of the three Super Bowls they played.

But that wasn’t enough to earn Bieniemy a head coach job, as he interviewed 16 times with 15 teams (twice with the New York Jets) in multiple head coach hiring cycles. He obviously landed none of the jobs, including the Colts’ job for which he interviewed in January.

And so going to Washington to run his own offense can, at least in part, serve as a strategic move to increase his head coach viability.

But Bieniemy wasn’t admitting that Thursday.

“Being a head coach right now is not in my thought process,” he said. “Right now, here’s what I’m focused on: I’m focused on being the best coach I can be today. The rest of everything else will take care of itself starting tomorrow. I live in the moment.

“I got to be right where my feet are. And my feet are planted right here.”

Bieniemy was later in his introductory press conference talking about the importance of earning the trust of his new players and getting them to embrace accountability when he added this about his head coach aspirations:

“All that stuff about being a head coach, we can talk about that next year sometime,” he said. “Right now I’m focused on the job at hand.”

Eric Bieniemy leaves Andy Reid and Chiefs.
Eric Bieniemy has been an assistant with the Chiefs since 2013. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Commanders Assignment Change For Bieniemy

There are going to be significant differences between his assignment in Kansas City and Washington.

“The difference is this: Now I’m the offensive coordinator here,” Bieniemy said. “The rest of the stuff, me and coach [Ron] Rivera we’re going to work that out.”

In truth, the primary difference is Bieniemy is expected to have full control over the play-calling. That’s something he didn’t have in Kansas City with head coach Andy Reid often taking over those duties as he saw fit.

With Bieniemy fully in charge of the offense, that may remove the question about how responsible as a coach he is for the success (or failure) of his offense. That questions was a shadow that perpeturally followed Bieniemy into his head coach interviews — even if it didn’t prevent past Chiefs offensive coordinators from landing jobs.

Next time Bieniemy goes for a head coach interview, everyone will understand that whatever the Commanders produced on offense was directly connected to him and not tied to the genius of Andy Reid.

That’s a great opportunity but also a challenge for Bieniemy.

“Fired up for it, bro,” Bieniemy said. “Fired up and excited.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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