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Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy reportedly to interview for Commanders' OC job

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy won't be a head coach this year, but that doesn't mean he won't possibly change teams.

The Washington Commanders will reportedly interview Bieniemy for their vacant offensive coordinator job this week, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. He was linked to this job — and the Baltimore Ravens' position that went to Georgia's Todd Monken — before Super Bowl LVII and, despite winning his second ring with head coach Andy Reid, appears interested in breaking out on his own.

Bieniemy has interviewed for a head coaching job 17 times for 16 different teams since he helped lead the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl in the Patrick Mahomes era in 2019. And 17 times, teams passed on Bieniemy.

The only team he interviewed with for a head-coaching job this year — the Indianapolis Colts — hired Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen instead. The Arizona Cardinals hired Eagles defensive coordinator John Gannon, whose defense Bieniemy exploited during the Chiefs' second-half comeback en route to Kansas City's last-minute Super Bowl victory.

So, it makes sense he'd want to try something new if running an offense that ranked no worse than sixth in yards or points and finished first in both twice during his tenure isn't good enough.

This isn't a unique situation for a wildly successful coordinator — Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur did something similar to shake his attachment to Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan. But it once again underscores a league-wide problem when it comes to minority head coaches and coordinators. Only one Black head coach was hired this year — DeMeco Ryans with the Houston Texans — meaning there will be just six minority head coaches in 2023, and there could be as few as 13 Black coordinators as well.

It's even more concerning when you look at Bieniemy's predecessors: Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy. They both scored head-coaching jobs (Pederson's on his second, too) after time as offensive coordinator under Reid, while New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka interviewed for multiple head-coaching jobs a year after he was Kansas City's quarterbacks coach under Bieniemy.

Commanders need experience at OC

Hiring Bieniemy would be a coup for the Commanders and head coach Ron Rivera.

The team is already sound defensively — Washington ranked third in yards allowed and seventh in points allowed in 2022 — but needs competence on offense. The Commanders have never finished better than 23rd in points or 20th in yards during Scott Turner's three-year tenure, so bringing in a coordinator with ties to prolific scoring offenses would be a major boon.

This is especially important if the Commanders end up starting 2022 fifth-round pick Sam Howell, who impressed in Week 18's 26-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Howell went 11-for-19 with 169 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception, 35 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. Washington could also explore the veteran market with someone like the recently released Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo.

The Commanders have a solid young foundation on offense with receivers Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel as well as Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson out of the backfield.

The next Washington offensive coordinator would have his hands full, though, in a talented NFC East with the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys.

Eric Bieniemy has been the Chiefs' offensive coordinator since 2019. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Eric Bieniemy has been the Chiefs' offensive coordinator since 2019. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)