Eric Bieniemy interviewed for Commanders’ HC vacancy last week

The Washington Commanders began the search for its next head coach in earnest.

Eric Bieniemy, the Commanders assistant head coach and offensive coordinator last season, met with the braintrust of owner Josh Harris and recently hired general manager Adam Peters last week, according to Josina Anderson. It was the team’s first completed interview, so far.

It is the only known meeting that Bieniemy has participated in this cycle, and the 17th time he’s interviewed for a head coaching gig since 2019. However, it’s his first time doing so after being the offensive player for a team and as an in-house candidate.

The other 16 times he interviewed, he did so as the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, and head coach Andy Reid calls the plays for the Chiefs.

Anderson reported that Bieniemy’s presentation was “detailed,” while NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk reported that, “Bieniemy is believed to be a viable candidate for the Commanders job and his interview was not simply a courtesy because he was a member of [former head coach Ron] Rivera’s final staff.”

Washington Commanders assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy appears before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

Washington Commanders assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy reportedly interviewed for the team’s opening at head coach two weeks ago. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

Since officially being introduced as the Commanders new GM, Peters hasn’t tipped his hand on any candidate or the specifics of what he and the front office are looking for in Washington‘s next era.

He did provide a general outline for what he deems important in the Commanders’ next head coach during his press conference, however.

“We’re looking for the best leader for this team, for the Washington Commanders,” Peters said. “We have set criteria that we’re going to have it be aligned in that vision.”

As of right now, Washington has requested interviews with Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald, Ravens assistant head coach/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik and Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

For Bieniemy, the move to Washington was supposed to help bolster his case for a franchise’s top job. He came to the Commanders after spending a decade with Kansas City from 2013-2022 and winning two Super Bowls with the franchise. He helped Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes soar to new heights in his game and two MVP trophies.

But the consistent ding against him was the fact that Bieniemy wasn’t the lead playcaller. He tried to change that by making his way east to Washington.

With a first-year starting quarterback in Sam Howell, things initially seemed to be working out for Bieniemy. Howell averaged 280 yards passing through the first 10 weeks of the season. But the Commanders and Howell regressed over the team’s eight-game losing streak to finish the year.

The second-year signal caller finished with 3,946 yards, 21 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. The overall offense ended the year 24th in yards (312.8), 25th in scoring (19.4), and 26th in offense DVOA.

Even as the season dragged on and Howell was benched, Bieniemy’s offense showed signs of life when run by backup Jacoby Brissett. After his insertion, the offensive scored on its first five possessions, over two games, with Brissett under center.

Washington’s coaching search will pick up in the coming days as teams are now allowed to meet with candidates in person this week. If a coach was still under contract or the team he worked for was still playing, then his interview could only be conducted virtually prior to this point.

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