Despite a near-consensus opinion that 2021 will be when the 51-year-old lands a head coaching gig after two straight years of interviews and no offers, a new report from Pro Football Network NFL insider Benjamin Allbright suggests that Bieniemy’s market might only include one serious suitor at this point.
“Currently, I think the head coach favorite for [the] Texans is Eric Bieniemy, despite most other teams in the league not being interested. Houston is doing background on him,” Allbright reported on PFN Weekly this week.
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Character Concerns, Poor Interview History Plaguing Bieniemy?
In addition to some previous legal and character concerns dating back to the early 1990s — detailed here in a January 2019 story from SB Nation’s Cincy Jungle — Bieniemy has apparently squandered some of his NFL interview opportunities in recent years, according to Pro Football Network:
On a previous episode of the PFN Weekly show, Allbright mentioned that Eric Bieniemy is “a titleholder who relays the play calls in but doesn’t make the play calls very often.”
“Andy Reid’s doing the play calling. Like 99 percent of the time Andy Reid is doing the play calling, he designed the offense, all of that stuff.”
Allbright has also mentioned that Bieniemy’s previous interviews have been poor. These poor interviews have likely caused him to fall out of consideration for certain positions in the past. Allbright mentioned that some teams with vacancies aren’t all that interested in Bieniemy. These historical poor interviews could be a big reason why.
With Deshaun Watson recently signing a four-year, $156 million extension to keep him under contract in Houston through the 2025 season, the Texans and their established quarterback may very well be the best fit for Bieniemy’s services. Another veteran offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer of the Seattle Seahawks, has also emerged as a frontrunner for the position in Houston.
Thanks to a new NFL hiring rule in effect as of last Wednesday, December 23, inquiring teams “may request and conduct virtual interviews with candidates employed by other teams” during the regular season, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. No new requests to speak to Bieniemy have been made known to this point, however.
Chiefs’ Mike Kafka Also Drawing Head Coaching Looks
Bieniemy isn’t the only Chiefs offensive staffer drawing interest for vacant head coaching openings. A recent report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter also confirmed previous reports that Kansas City’s passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka is also in the mix.
By the time the NFL’s hiring cycle for head coaches is complete, it’s possible that the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs could have their offensive coaching staff completely raided, losing a minimum of two prized assistant coaches, not to mention any of their assistants they potentially could bring with them.
Bieniemy has been on teams’ radars in recent years, but, very quietly, so has Kafka, who is only 33 years old and is expected to land a head-coaching job at some point.
In an effort to block the Philadelphia Eagles from poaching Kafka as their next offensive coordinator last offseason, Andy Reid and the front office officially promoted him to passing game coordinator in March.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!