Eric Bieniemy was introduced as the Washington Commanders’ offensive coordinator on Thursday.
During an introductory news conference, the longtime NFL assistant coach revealed that he was not looking to use the opportunity in Washington as a springboard to a head coaching job.
“Being a head coach right now is not in my thought process,” Bieniemy said. “What I’m focused on is being the best coach today; everything else will take care of itself. I live in the moment. Right now my feet are planted here.”
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Bieniemy joins the Commanders after a 10-year stint with the Chiefs. In his five seasons as Kansas City’s offensive coordinator, the team won two Super Bowls.
The success in Kansas City led to several interviews for head-coaching positions over the years, but Bieniemy never received an offer.
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“It hasn’t happened. It’s not anything that’s going to impact me moving forward,” Bieniemy said. “All that stuff about being the head coach, we can talk about that next year sometime. I’m focused on the job at hand.”
In Kansas City he largely focused on game planning and play design while head coach Andy Reid called plays during games.
In Washington, Bieniemy would likely be given full autonomy when it comes to the offensive philosophy and would call the plays.
Bieniemy replaces Scott Turner, who was fired in January after three seasons at the helm. Washington’s offense during that span was mostly underwhelming and never finished a season ranked higher than 20th in yards. Last season, the Commanders ended the year in the No. 26 spot in points.
Ron Rivera enters his fourth season as Washington’s head coach. He has complied a 22-27-1 record so far, but he led the Commanders to a NFC East title in 2020.
Rivera and the Commanders will likely be under pressure to have a winning season, especially as the franchise remains in an unstable state and embattled owner Dan Snyder explores a possible sale.
“Why not Washington?” Bieniemy responded when asked about why he chose Washington.
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He added that the amount of talent on the roster played a part in his decision.
“Look at all the talent,” Bieniemy said. “I’m excited about this opportunity. I have no doubt about what they’re building here. I have never backed down from a challenge.”
Bieniemy has a relationship with Rivera that dates back to the late ’90s when he was playing for the Eagles. Rivera worked as the team’s assistant coach in 1999.
Rivera empathized with Bieniemy’s head-coaching pursuit.
“I can empathize because I went through the same thing,” Rivera said. “I interviewed eight, nine times before I got my opportunity. I know it’s the same thing for him. Eventually he’s going to get that opportunity.” Rivera also liked Bieniemy’s energy and how he plans to use Washington’s playmakers – notably receivers Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel.
“That’s the biggest thing we want in this offense is to be explosive, to be aggressive and to be complementary but also have an identity,” McLaurin said. “He brings the competitiveness. He brings the championship caliber.”
Super Bowl and league MVP Patrick Mahomes posted a tweet in support of his former coach.
“There should be no questions on how great of a man/coach Coach Bienemy is. His leadership has a direct impact on the player/person i am today! 10+ years learning under one of the greatest coaches of all time.. and i cannot wait for him to continue to prove doubters wrong!”
Bieniemy noted that it was not easy for him to part ways with the Chiefs, but he knew the time had come for him to leave.
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“We’ve had a great deal of success. I was blessed and fortunate to have that opportunity and share that space with some amazing people.
“But one thing in this profession, you learn that comfort is the enemy of progress. So, when it’s all said and done with, I don’t like being comfortable. I’m about accepting challenges and moving forward. This presents a challenge to me.”