5 Chiefs assistants who could be promoted to offensive coordinator if Eric Bieniemy leaves

Charles Goldman
·5 min read

During each of the past two occasions that the Kansas City Chiefs had a vacancy at the offensive coordinator position, they’ve promoted internally.

When Doug Pederson left to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2015 season, the Chiefs promoted then-QB coach Matt Nagy and then-spread game analyst Brad Childress to cooperatively fill the role in 2016. Matt Nagy was promoted to a full-time offensive coordinator role in 2017. When Nagy left to become the Chicago Bears head coach following the 2017 season, then-RB coach Eric Bieniemy was promoted to offensive coordinator.

Now with Bieniemy taking a number of interviews for head-coaching vacancies, it’d only make sense that Andy Reid follows this same path and continues to promote from within his own coaching staff. So who could be the next assistant coach to rise through the ranks and become the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator? Here are the five most-likely internal candidates:

QB coach / pass-game coordinator Mike Kafka

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Kafka is the logical replacement for Eric Bieniemy. He was a fourth-round draft pick by Andy Reid's Eagles back in 2010. He got his NFL playing career and his NFL coaching career started with Reid. He joined the Chiefs' coaching staff in 2017 as an offensive quality control coach before a promotion to QB coach in 2018. Philadelphia had an interest in interviewing Kafka for their offensive coordinator job ahead of the 2020 season, but he stayed in Kansas City. He took a promotion, adding the pass-game coordinator title. He's likely waiting for an opportunity to fill the offensive coordinator job with the Chiefs after delaying that opportunity for a year. There is some reported interest in Kafka as a head-coaching candidate after his work with Patrick Mahomes, but no interview requests have been reported yet. It could simply be that this information was put out there by an agent to put some pressure on the Chiefs to promote Kafka for the expected offensive coordinator vacancy.

Pass-game analyst / assistant QB coach Joe Bleymaier

AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

If you've listened to Andy Reid talk during his press conferences this year, you've probably heard Joe Bleymaier's name mentioned often. That said, you probably don't know who he is and what does he actually do for the Chiefs. Bleymaier got his pro career kicked off in Kansas City back in 2016, serving as an offensive quality control coach for two seasons. He's since ascended the ranks, earning the role of pass-game analyst and then assistant QB coach, as well as becoming one of the most trusted offensive assistants in the building. Perhaps most importantly, Bleymaier is one of the behind-the-scenes guys that helps the Chiefs' offense stay so creative. "I’ve mentioned Joe Bleymaier in the past, I joke about the 'Joe Files,'" Reid told reporters of Bleymaier in mid-December. "He’s got a file of things that take you anywhere and everywhere that football is played.” Part of Bleymaier's responsibility is to go through the film from high school, college and the pros to try and find anything that can give the Chiefs an edge. He also is heavily involved in the advance scouting work that the coaching staff does ahead of games. If both Bieniemy and Kafka were to leave Kansas City this season, Bleymaier would likely be next in line for a promotion to the offensive coordinator role or perhaps the QB coach role.

TE coach Tom Melvin

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Melvin has been with Andy Reid perhaps the longest of any of his offensive assistants. He got his NFL start on the Eagles back in 1999 as an offensive assistant and quality control coach. He was promoted to tight ends coach with the Eagles in 2002 and he's continued coaching that position ever since. He followed Reid to Kansas City in 2013 and has helped coach Travis Kelce into perhaps one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game. Melvin would make sense as offensive coordinator because of his vast football knowledge. Earlier this season when the Chiefs debuted "Ferrari Right" it was revealed that Melvin was who Patrick Mahomes sought out to find out if the QB motion in the play was legal. Melvin's insight and years of experience could be useful within the context of the offense as a whole.

WR coach Greg Lewis

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Andy Reid gave Lewis his start as an NFL player, signing him to the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent out the University of Illinois back in 2003. He played in Philadelphia for six seasons before leaving toward the end of his NFL career. He got his NFL coaching start with the Saints in 2015 as an offensive assistant, coaching a WR group that led the league in receptions and yards. He'd join the Chiefs' staff as a WR coach in 2017 and has remained in that role. Lewis has since helped Tyreek Hill become one of the most dominant receivers in the league. He's kept this receiver group ready in the event of injuries, coaching players like Demarcus Robinson (Week 2 vs. Raiders) and Byron Pringle (Week 5 vs. Colts) to career performances in 2019. It's unclear if Lewis has aspirations to become an offensive coordinator, but given his success in his current role, it's hard to imagine that he wouldn't be in consideration.

RB coach Deland McCullough

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McCullough first joined the Chiefs' coaching staff back in 2018 when Bieniemy first become offensive coordinator. He enjoyed a successful college coaching career as a running backs coach at Indiana and USC prior to heading to the NFL and Kansas City. He's since coached Damien Williams to a dominant postseason run back in 2019 and helped Clyde Edwards-Helaire become an immediate contributor with the Chiefs in 2020. Bieniemy, of course, was a running back coach when he was promoted to the offensive coordinator gig back in 2018 and it seemed to work out alright. McCullough is a bit green in terms of NFL experience, but why not go back to the well and give McCullough a shot to run the offense?

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OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Buffalo
+130+3O 54.5
Kansas City
-154-3U 54.5