NFL Evaluators Want to Avoid Peak Stupidity When Evaluating Eric Bieniemy

Ignore comments like LeSean McCoy’s. The Chiefs’ new offensive coordinator deserves the same chance to prove himself as anyone else.

In 2013, a Washington the staff consisting of Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, Mike McDaniel, Raheem Morris and Chris Foerster led his team to a 3-13 record. And, ultimately, the record had no effect on the coaches’ promotion to the top of the league’s coaching hierarchy.

The rest of the football world spent its time in D.C. the way we might expect a college spring break in Cancun – the place and the lack of oversight meant wild and regrettable things were bound to happen, but the point is, they survived.

So why are we already looking to make Year 1 of Eric Bieniemy’s reign in Washington the final referendum on the chicken-or-egg question that has been dogging the offensive coordinator’s bid for a head coaching job for some time . four years? That was the theme of this week without news in the football media, which often forces airtime fillers to reach into their bag of tricks to get someone’s attention while sitting in a waiting room with an urgent care. (Where else would one watch Skip Bayless?)

Now that the former Kansas City Chiefs staffer has a chance to run his own offense, some are doing exactly what the owners who overlooked him for a head coaching job did: Do this in a binary set of circumstances. Although Bieniemy was a rising star in the coaching business, he was a Chiefs QB product Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reidor Mahomes was a Bieniemy product, and only one of those answers would ultimately be acceptable. Underpinning all of this was the fact that a good number of coaches, who were white and perhaps better connected across various cables of the coaching fraternity, got opportunities for head coaching jobs despite generating the same questions.

Now, either Bieniemy, who is Black, is succeeding because he can pilot the Chiefs to a successful offensive season, or he is not right and proves his sticks. Conveniently left out of these discussions is that Washington is flying into the season at full speed with Sam Howell as its current starting quarterback and the third best set of skill position players in a division that produced three playoff teams last season.

After robbing Bieniemy of grace for the last ten years, the time to give it back would be now. Having failed to check whatever assumptions or personal biases may have led people to that point, now is the time to become aware of them.


Bieniemy previously spent the last decade with the Chiefs, first as the running backs coach and then as the offensive coordinator.

Luis M. Alvarez/AP

In case you missed it, LeSean McCoy, who was the Chiefs running back for all the check notes—nine games and whose career now depends on saying interesting things on television, ruined the case for Bieniemy on some daytime talk show that we all watched. when it was rammed down our throats during an accidental trip to Twitter. I’ll spare you the details, but it looks like McCoy, in a few weeks, determined how the Leaders worked throughout Bieniemy’s tenure with the franchise and said he had little to do with its success. He has no input on the offence. He doesn’t deal with Mahomes. Therefore, he cannot be a head coach. Yada, yada, yada.

I don’t see why aspects of Bieniemy’s argument cannot be immediately true. Let’s say – although Reid denied it – Bieniemy had nothing related to the execution of the offensive game plan (again, a tough question since Mahomes is always seen talking to him during games and, as I have personally confirmed, Bieniemy is sharing in the creative process that finds some of Kansas City’s most creative. offensive look). That doesn’t automatically mean he’ll be a terrible head coach. Look at Reid, who became the Eagles’ coach without ever having played a role in the NFL before. John Harbaugh has never been a play caller. Mike Tomlin was the coordinator for one season. Kevin O’Connell was a non-playing coordinator. Nick Sirianni was like that.

On the contrary, we would also say that Bieniemy was the secret sauce behind all of Kansas City’s achievements. Does that guarantee he can lead a team? Show me a list of great players who became head coaches, and I’ll show you a list of coaches who had to learn to delegate and shed their egos before their teams had any success.

If Bieniemy ends up being a terrible head coach, it’s no proof that those original negative theories were correct. Good coaches fail all the time. Some have bad owners; some don’t have cap space or draft capital; Some find the late QB Russell Wilson their legacy.

And even if Bieniemy ends up struggling as an offensive coordinator, that doesn’t bother him bad offensive coordinator. It means he’s like every other offensive coordinator Washington has had since the turn of the millennium.

Current Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka once worked behind Bieniemy in Kansas City and left for a similar opportunity to the one Bieniemy now has — to undoubtedly lead his own offense. His candidacy for a head coaching job was greatly improved, in my pseudo-expert opinion, when he took the best way of Daniel Jones and turned him into a serviceable top-15 type player. He didn’t look like the Chiefs offense, which made him more attractive to potential employers.

Bieniemy deserves that kind of intellectual runway—the same keen eye for progress that may not be clear and conditional on other factors—and then some. It deserves a gray area. He deserves a broad perspective when we look at the situation in which he did this job and the personnel he has to work with.

This is an awfully long way of asking you, the football viewing public, not to overreact either way. There is a time and a place to shape Bieniemy’s legacy as a leader, play caller and talent developer. It is not a year from now, some transparent wild ban Hard Knocks–the situation where we are presented with bare facts that are not obscured by bias, or by some middle man with an agenda. The time is now.

The only thing worse than Bieniemy’s true potential would be to fill in our knowledge gaps with our own personal soul, the kind of nonsense that has already complicated Bieniemy’s journey to this point.

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