There aren’t many offenses in the NFL teams would more like to copy than the Chiefs’.
So even though he doesn’t call all the plays — head coach Andy Reid handles that — Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said he’s still an integral part of what they do, which should qualify him for future head-coaching opportunities.
“Here’s my response about the playcalling: coach Reid has always done it his way, and that’s how historically he’s done it because he’s coach Reid,” Bieniemy said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN. “He has a beautiful mind, and we all work hand-in-hand together. And he gives me the green light to do a number of things. I have input. I do scripts. I get the install. There are a number of things that I do.”
Bieniemy’s role in the offense should help him, at a time when teams are leaning toward hiring coaches from that side of the ball. Working with any offense which includes Patrick Mahomes only helps. But in a cycle in which eight jobs changed hands, only one minority coach was hired (Brian Flores in Miami).
Bieniemy interviewed for that job as well, along with the Jets, Buccaneers, and Bengals. He said he was grateful for the opportunities, and hopes they position him well for future interviews. But he didn’t agree with the perception that his lack of control of the offense, or his non-quarterback background (he’s coached running backs) made him less viable.
He was on hand this week at the NFL Quarterback Coaching Summit hosted by the league and Black College Football Hall of Fame, so his status stood out. He and Byron Leftwich of the Buccaneers are the only minority coaches in offensive coordinator positions.
“I’ve been an offensive coach my whole entire life,” he said. “People think just because you coach running backs you don’t understand the pass game. Well, when you’ve played the position, and you’re involved in coaching the position, you’ve got to make sure guys understand the entire game plan, meaning you’re very much involved in the pass game. You have to understand protections. You have to understand route concepts. You have to understand how defenses are structured going against you.
“Do we need more [minority] coaches on the offensive side of the ball? Yes. How do we go about doing that? We have to make sure there’s a plan for guys of helping guys get into that quarterback room and into quality-control positions so those guys can add that knowledge and learn how to deal with the quarterbacks, learn the language and speak it.”
And then to convince people they’re able to speak it to the entire team.