The Washington Commanders hired former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy as their offensive coordinator/assistant head coach. Bieniemy was brought in to replace Scott Turner, the Commanders’ offensive coordinator from 2020-22.
Bieniemy’s resume in Kansas City speaks for itself. The Chiefs’ passing game never fell below the top five with Bieniemy, and the offense was consistently among the league’s most dominant units. They had the highest-scoring offense in 2018 and 2022 when quarterback Patrick Mahomes was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. Kansas City hosted five consecutive AFC Championships, winning the Super Bowl twice in three appearances (LIV and LVII).
This success led the Commanders to hire Bieniemy on Feb. 17, but many still believe he should have been granted a head coaching position for a team. ESPN writer Kimberley Martin expressed her frustration on an episode of Get Up, saying Bieniemy is “overqualified” for his position in Washington.
“He deserves to be a head coach,” Martin said. “Especially when you watch the Super Bowl, two of the coordinators on the losing sideline are now head coaches. Meanwhile, Eric Bieniemy is in Washington, a franchise that we constantly have talked about being the very definition of dysfunction.”
Others have justified Bieniemy’s lack of offers, crediting Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid for the offensive success. Former running back LeSean McCoy, who played for Kansas City in 2019, has long advocated against Bieniemy.
Regardless, Bieniemy expressed his satisfaction as Washington’s new coordinator. In his introductory press conference, Bieniemy said, “Being a head coach right now is not in my thought process. Right now, I’m focused on being the best coach that I can be today. The rest of everything else will take care of itself starting tomorrow.”
The Commanders hope he transforms the offense after a lackluster display in 2022. Washington’s offense averaged just 18.9 points per game, ranking 24th in the league. The Commanders boasted a receiving core of Curtis Samuel, Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. Rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr. performed admirably after missing the first few weeks of the season with injuries following a shooting on Aug. 28.
The hope is that Bieniemy can elevate the offense and develop sophomore quarterback Sam Howell. ESPN insider John Keim shared why he believes Bieniemy will be an upgrade over former coordinator Turner.
“The belief right now is that he’ll know how to use their skilled players better to create bigger plays,” Keim said. “Turner’s offense called for a lot more deep throws. The Chiefs ran a lot of quick routes designed to get their playmakers the ball in space and let them run after the catch, which suits Washington’s talent. I think they like Bieniemy’s ideas for the play-action game, an area that wasn’t emphasized enough under Turner. I also think Bieniemy will stick to the run a bit more than Turner did.”
Keim also emphasized the coaching qualities Bieniemy instills, saying, “I think there will be a stricter adherence to details, making sure everybody gets the message and is doing the right things on a play. Bieniemy’s reputation is that he holds people accountable.”
The Commanders have good pieces offensively, but have yet to find a solid quarterback. NBC Sports Washington reporter JP Finlay said Bieniemy will develop a system to better aid that position next season, especially if Howell is behind center.
“Expect his offense to use more motion and get quarterbacks on the move even out of the shotgun,” Finlay said. “The key is shifting the offensive line after the snap to create more time for a young quarterback and ideally let him identify defenses quicker.”
Many football fans in Washington are excited to see Bieniemy with their team this upcoming season. One of these fans is Howard University freshman business major Aidan Knight.
“Beiniemy’s rapid style of pace should help the Commanders utilize their young pieces such as Terry Mclaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Brian Robinson.” Knight said. “He brings a veteran leadership which will be respected by the young team and also brings his own unique flair which helped power top offenses for nearly a decade.”
Copy edited by Jadyn Barnett