Brock Purdy Mentor a Potential Offensive Coordinator for Commanders

Brock Purdy

Brock Purdy's position coach has been named among the candidates to replace Eric Bieniemy as the next offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders.

Dan Quinn’s arrival as new head coach of the Washington Commanders could spell trouble for offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Quinn is likely to overhaul the coaching staff, starting with both coordinator spots. He could replace Bieniemy with former NFL quarterback Brian Griese, who has spent the last two seasons mentoring Brock Purdy as the starting signal-caller for the San Francisco 49ers.

Griese is arguably the most intriguing name on a list of candidates compiled by Ben Standig of The Athletic. Standig noted how 48-year-old Griese “went from the broadcast booth to coaching Brock Purdy the past two seasons. Purdy’s rise from the draft’s ‘Mr. Irrevelant’ pick to a borderline MVP candidate says plenty about the quarterback’s overlooked talent and Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system, but Griese’s involvement is considered notable.”

Griese isn’t the only member of the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree in San Francisco to make Standig’s list. So did passing game specialist Klint Kubiak. Standig detailed how “like Griese, Kubiak interviewed for the New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator opening last month.”

That interview appears to have borne fruit for Kubiak, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting the “Saints are working to hire” him.

As Schefter pointed out, any team wanting Kubiak as play-caller, or Griese for that matter, will have to wait. The 49ers have the small matter of facing the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2024 Super Bowl on Sunday, February 11 before they’ll release any coaches.

Both Griese and Kubiak make sense as potential replacements for Bieniemy thanks to their work with Shanahan. The latter was Quinn’s offensive coordinator when the Atlanta Falcons reached the 2017 Super Bowl.

Griese’s work with Purdy ought to give him the inside track considering how the Commanders need to develop a long-term starter at football’s most important position.

Brian Griese’s Time With Brock Purdy Should Appeal to Commanders

Griese should appeal to the Commanders on two levels. First, because of how he’s developed Purdy from seventh-round pick into a Super Bowl QB1.

Purdy has made the leap thanks to consistently being put into situations that maximize his strengths. They include skilled handling of the football and the ability to make quick reads of off play-action.

Nobody graded higher than Purdy on play-action throws this season, according to PFF SF 49ers.

A heavily reliance on the play-action game is a construct of the Shanahan offense. It’s the most sought-after blueprint for scoring points in the NFL.

Griese’s experience in the system extends beyond coaching. He played for Kyle’s father Mike Shanahan with the Denver Broncos from 1998-2002. Those years included Griese throwing 19 touchdowns and helping the Broncos reach the playoffs in 2000.

Having a coordinator who’s both played and coached the scheme would make the transition back to the Shanahan offense a quick one for the Commanders. The franchise hasn’t operated it since Mike and Kyle were in Washington from 2010-13.

Griese’s background with the Shanahan philosophy makes him a stronger candidate than former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. He’s also been named as somebody Quinn wants to talk with about running his offense.

The case for Griese is further strengthened by his expertise playing quarterback. He’s well-placed to develop the second-overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft, a selection the Commanders are likely to use to find their next passer.

Griese has already helped refine the technique of a raw college prospect. Purdy’s connection with Deebo Samuel against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game was a prime example.

This throw, highlighted by Brad of TheSFNiners, showed Purdy take a precise drop, set his feet and climb the pocket. He then stepped into an accurate throw between the numbers, with the ball placement perfect for Samuel to amass yards after the catch.

The play was textbook stuff and precisely what the Commanders need from their next quarterback. It’s also something Bieniemy struggled to coax often enough from Sam Howell.

Eric Bieniemy Faces a Tough Challenge Staying Put

Bieniemy is still a respected coach thanks to his stint winning two Supers Bowls as OC for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Yet, Howell’s regression late in the season makes it tough to believe Bieniemy will stick around in Washington.

Howell threw a league-high 21 interceptions before briefly landing on the bench. Bieniemy couldn’t keep Howell on track and nor could he develop a consistent running game.

There were also concerns about Bieniemy’s gruff coaching style and how well he was like by some of his players. These are the kind of things Quinn has been hired to lead the Commanders away from.

Hiring a new OC, to go with the “expected” arrival of a Dallas Cowboys’ assistant as defensive coordinator, would begin Quinn’s overhaul in earnest.

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