After leading the league’s top offense to the best record in the NFL, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is now emerging as one of the league’s top head coach candidates.
The Atlanta Falcons were the first to strike, securing a virtual interview with Bieniemy for their head coaching vacancy Monday, according to the team. Reports say the Detroit Lions and the New York Jets have also reached out to Bieniemy about setting up an interview.
Bieniemy isn’t a newcomer to the coaching carousel, but his stock has risen after the performance of the Chiefs this season, which saw them finish with the top-ranked offense in the league in terms of total yards per game. He interviewed for the Jets’ head coach job in 2019 before they hired Adam Gase — who was fired Sunday.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid reminded everyone that he still believes Bieniemy has what it takes to be a successful head coach in the NFL.
“At the risk of being redundant, I have not seen many guys that are as great a leader as he is of men. And in this business, that’s huge,” Reid said. “You’re never going to have to worry about Eric Bieniemy, never—on the field, off the field. He’s going to be honest with you and straightforward, and then he knows the offense.”
Despite getting in the swing of the job search, Bieniemy is still committed to coaching the Chiefs in the playoffs. Reid says due to their bye this week, Bieniemy has time to sort through things before the Chiefs retake the practice field later in the week.
“It’s a good time to get that done, and in the meantime, the assistants, we keep rolling,” Reid said. “You know how EB is, I mean, he’s not going to let things get in the way. He’s going to stay on top of everything if he has to stay up all night to do it, so he does a great job with all that.”
Reid said when it comes down to it, Bieniemy is one of the best assistants that he’s had in his career, and he believes Bieniemy is ready to move on if the opportunity emerges.
“He talks to that offense every day. He stands in front of them and talks to them every day and I get to see it. I’ve seen a couple of coaches come and go. He does it as well as anybody,” Reid said. “Guys talk about blinks and it’s got to have that blink and have that picture in their mind that Eric Bieniemy can lead their organization and they’re comfortable with that.
“They’re paying you money to do a job and not have the load of the worry thrown on their lap. I know he can do that for somebody.”
Bieniemy isn’t the only internal candidate receiving outside interest. Assistant director of player personnel Ryan Poles, as well as director of football administration Brandt Tills, are being considered for the Panthers general manager job.
The Chiefs earned a bye in the first week of the playoffs. They return to practice Thursday.