According to Pro Football Network’s NFL Insider Benjamin Allbright, Eric Bieniemy is someone to watch as an early frontrunner to become the next head coach of the Washington Redskins. Bieniemy has been the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs for the last two seasons and has seen a significant amount of success alongside his mentor Andy Reid.
According to Allbright, Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder has been vetting applicants to try to find the ideal candidate that could maximize the talent they believe they have in quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and many in Washington believe Bieniemy can do just that.
With the help of Reid, Bieniemy has overseen a potent offense with Patrick Mahomes under center. Together, they constructed the league’s top-ranked offense in 2018, which averaged 425.6 yards per game. Mahomes, meanwhile, put together one of the greatest seasons in league history with 5,097 passing yards and 50 touchdowns.
If Bieniemy does, in fact, become the head coach of the Redskins, the hope is that he would be able to replicate this success with the likes of Haskins, Terry McLaurin, Derrius Guice, and others.
Will Bieniemy’s past history at Colorado come into focus?
Most NFL fans remember Bieniemy as a running back for the Bengals from 1995 to 1998, but before that, he was a star running back at Colorado University.
While at Colorado, he put up some impressive numbers. As a freshman in 1987, he rushed for over 500 yards. The next season, Bieniemy was the first running back at CU since 1977 to rush for more than 1,000 yards. He also tied a school record by rushing for more than 100 yards in seven games.
While the numbers were impressive, it was slightly overshadowed by an altercation that Bieniemy was a part of during his freshman season. Reports claimed that Bieniemy had been called a racial slur during which a bar-room brawl had broken out. Bieniemy pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to perform community service.
In 2001, Bieniemy was hired as Colorado’s running backs coach but was arrested in April of that year for a DUI. As a known legend in the program, Bieniemy was also a major figure in the recruiting process. During his two years there, several rape allegations were pressed against Colorado players, and Bieniemy’s time there ended while the school was under investigation.
However, even with all of this in Bieniemy’s past, Allbright reports that he is widely thought of as a good guy around the league.
Concerns about Bruce Allen and Washington’s power structure
According to Allbright, there is some hesitation from numerous head coaching candidates because they are concerned about president Bruce Allen and the power structure in Washington. In fact, according to PFN Draft Analyst and Insider Tony Pauline, many in the league believe that the Redskins won’t win until Allen is replaced.
It was assumed that when Snyder relieved Jay Gruden of his head coaching duties, Allen wouldn’t be far behind. There were also reports earlier this month that Snyder was evaluating the future of everyone within the organization. This all makes for a difficult environment for a new head coach. This very well could play a big role in the hiring process, but Snyder knows of the concerns and could lead to him dismissing Allen.
If Bieniemy is hired, it would break the recent trend of young, offensive college minds being thrust into NFL positions. Coaches like Sean McVay, Kliff Kingsbury, and Zac Taylor are all leading NFL teams at the moment, whereas Bieniemy has nearly more coaching experience than the three combined. He has 10 years of experience as a position coach, with three years as an offensive coordinator.
Bieniemy knows what he can bring to a team offensively. He leads with confidence, and it is likely due to said confidence that Snyder is considering him for the head coaching position.
“If you know anything about me and what I did at Colorado as the offensive coordinator, people would be shocked and surprised,” Bienemy said. “People look at me sideways because I’m a running back, and they think I always want to run the ball. No. I understand the importance of the passing game, and I understand the importance of making sure we’re pushing the ball down the field.”
Other potential candidates
While Bieniemy may be at the top of the list, there will be a number of other coaches considered for the position. According to Allbright, the Redskins are interested in Stanford head coach David Shaw, but it is not known at this time if the interest is mutual. Shaw has been of interest to a number of NFL teams over the last few years due to his success and deep connections to the NFL. Shaw will likely be in high demand once again this offseason, and Snyder will likely be in the front of the line.
There were also rumors of Snyder trying to make a move for Mike Tomlin earlier in the season. Unfortunately for the Redskins, Tomlin has turned in a potential coach of the year performance with Pittsburgh, and will likely retain his position. Even with a number of injuries, Tomlin has brought Pittsburgh back into the playoff picture with a third-string QB.
We will continue to monitor the situation and update as more news becomes available regarding Washington’s decision. For more, make sure to follow Ben on Twitter: @AllbrightNFL along with Pro Football Network: @PFN365.