Eric Bieniemy was introduced as the new offensive coordinator of the Washington Commanders on Thursday, the next stage in a coaching career that included two Super Bowl championships in his five years at the same position with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Bieniemy's resume has him qualified to become a head coach in the league, but he's been passed over several times by more than half the league. For Bieniemy to get a head coaching job, he seemingly had to take over a position with the same title in another organization -- although he'll be the play-caller in this role with the Commanders.
"Being a head coach right now is not in my thought process," Bieniemy said Thursday. "I'm focusing on being the best coach that I can be today. I live in the moment. I gotta be where my feet are -- and they are planted right here."
Bieniemy takes over a Commanders offense that has started 12 different quarterbacks since 2018 -- the most in the NFL. Washington averaged 18.8 points per game last season under Scott Turner (24th in NFL) and 330.3 yards per game (20th in NFL). That's a huge challenge for Bieniemy, who comes from an offense in Kansas City that was one of the best in league history.
The Chiefs have scored the most points per game in the NFL (30.1) since Bieniemy became the offensive coordinator in 2018, along with the most yards per game (406.2). Kansas City also has the best record in the NFL during Bieniemy's run, going 64-18 with five conference championship game appearances and two Super Bowl titles in the five years he's been the offensive coordinator. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes also has the most passing yards, passing touchdowns, and the highest passer rating since the start of the 2018 season -- all with Bieniemy as the offensive coordinator.
The Commanders have playmakers at wide receiver in Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel -- along with a solid running back tandem in Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson. Bieniemy believes he has the core in place for the offense to be elite based on a few parameters.
"I gotta make sure I'm putting these guys in the best situation to be the most explosive, the most dynamic, and most importantly -- the best opportunity to be successful," Bieniemy said. "When it's all said and done with, we're gonna play hard, we're gonna play fast. We're gonna play hard and we're gonna have a sense of purpose in everything that we do. The X's and O's will take care of itself."
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Bieniemy deserves to be a head coach, but he's not worried about that at the moment. He's focused on succeeding outside of the Chiefs' bubble, whether that's fair or not.
"Being a head coach, if that's to happen -- it will take care of itself," Bieniemy said. "This isn't anything that's going impact me moving forward. I gotta get these guys in the building to trust me, to get to know me, and get them to be accountable. That's about developing relationships. At the end of the day, you got to get to know the people that you're working with. That's my job more than anything."
"I'm never okay with being comfortable. I'm all about accepting challenges and moving forward. We're gonna embrace this journey together. We're gonna focus on the prize, one step, one play, one day at a time."
One of the reasons Bieniemy chose the Commanders was his relationship with Ron Rivera, who was the linebackers coach of the Philadelphia Eagles when Bieniemy played there in 1999. Rivera and Bieniemy are part of the Andy Reid-coaching tree, although this is the first time the pair have coached together.
The Commanders are a fresh start for Bieniemy -- and an opportunity to prove how good of a coach he is.
"Why not Washington? Look at all the talent. I'm excited about this opportunity," Bieniemy said. "I have no doubt about what they're building here. I have never backed down from a challenge. I'm fired up. I'm excited."