The Denver Broncos are set to interview the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to replace Vic Fangio. While there are multiple reports about off field issues from his time at the University of Colorado that will need to be vetted, he’s been a popular head coaching candidate for a few years now. He interviewed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019, the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, and Cleveland Browns in 2020. Last year he interviewed with the New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Los Angeles Chargers, and Houston Texans.
To find out more about what the former Buffalo could offer the Broncos, I reached out to my friend Craig Stout, who covers the Kansas City Chiefs for KC Sports Network.
If an NFL team doesn't like Bieniemy, then they should just say it with their actions by not hiring him.— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) January 13, 2021
Trying to quell any anger by leaking issues with "Reid's coaching tree" or "Having to wait four weeks" is bullshit.
1st and 10
My understanding is Andy Reid is the play caller and Bieniemy is a former running backs coach, so I’m curious what he brings to the table as an offensive coordinator?
Stout: Bieniemy has always been a good “day to day” offensive coordinator. He helps with the weekly game prep, handles a lot of the overarching weekly offensive responsibilities, and has gotten to call plays at times during Reid’s tenure. His focus seems to be stronger on the execution than a strong focus on play design, and that execution has largely been good in his time in Kansas City. If anything, the unique nature of the responsibilities with the Chiefs could actually play better toward the responsibilities of a head coach, as he’s well-versed in the grand scheme of the week’s preparations.
The Chiefs offense has had the least drives in the NFL (36) through four weeks.— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) October 5, 2021
The lead the lead in scoring percentage (55.6%), net yards per drive (47.5), and points per drive (3.56), despite being second in the league in turnover percentage (19.4%).
2nd and 1
The Broncos won’t have Patrick Mahomes if they hire Bieniemy and may wind up drafting a rookie, so I’m curious if you believe he can be an asset when it comes to developing a young passer?
Stout: This is probably the biggest question surrounding Bieniemy as an offensive-minded head coach. He’s obviously witnessed the progression of Patrick Mahomes, but a fair amount of that credit has been given to quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka. Bieniemy would likely need a comfortable option to handle a young quarterback’s development if he were to take on the playcalling duties as the head coach. I fully believe in his capability to develop some of the mental side of the position, but refining the technical aspects of a young prospect may require a position coach that is a little more “hands-on” with the quarterback’s development.
3rd and 1
Does it seem safe to assume Bieniemy would incorporate a version of the Chiefs offense at his next stop? If so, does that look like a good fit for what you know about the Broncos personnel?
Stout: I fully believe that Bieniemy would bring over a screen-heavy, play-action passing attack with a strong reliance on some power run elements. Andy Reid is known for his precision in the screen game, and that has translated well to Bieniemy’s desire for precision on every play, not just in a singular facet of the offense.
While it may not be as full throttle as the Chiefs offense has seemed with Patrick Mahomes at the helm - and it may seem a bit more simplistic than Reid’s diverse attack - I’d expect an offense that will be drilled down and executing at the highest level.
Defenses may know more tendencies toward stopping a Bieniemy offense, but the quality of execution could make it not matter for the team he’s coaching. That sort of approach would fit with some of the Broncos’ weapons. A strong dose of Javonte Williams makes sense during his rookie contract, and the execution of blocks, opening of running lanes, and further development of Williams’ vision could make him a premiere back under Bieniemy quite rapidly. He’ll also take advantage of a mobile offensive line working through the screen game, especially with the young trio in the interior. Quinn Meinerz, Lloyd Cushenberry, and Dalton Risner will be put on the move often, and the angles they execute with should help to eliminate second level blockers more readily.
Finally, the young weapons that the Broncos have on the outside will certainly be used vertically in the play-action passing game to knock defenses out of single-high looks and force more split-safety alignments — much like Mahomes has seen in Kansas City over the past two years.
Next #Broncos HC will inherit a roster with some young building blocks, including...— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 9, 2022
Plus, Denver has their 1st-round pick & double 2s & 3s.
4th and inches
At his press conference George Paton emphasized the need to find a head coach who can provide leadership to every facet of the Broncos. Does Bieniemy look like a fit in this regard?
Stout: Eric Bieniemy exudes leadership. Arguably his best quality is how hard his guys play for him. It can lead to some boring press conferences that are full of coaching platitudes, but he genuinely means them, and the players can feel that when he speaks.
Travis Kelce has been through multiple offensive coordinators - who he has praised in his own ways - but the relationship between him and Bieniemy has been special from the start, and Kelce has attributed Bieniemy with his development as a professional. There have been tales of players that didn’t enjoy playing running back under Bieniemy in the past, but that was largely due to the demands he put on them to be better. Those that stuck it out and stayed the course have been nothing but effusive in their praise of their coach leading them to be the best player - and human - that they can be. While most think that Bieniemy has earned a head coaching job due to his contributions to the scheme in Kansas City, his impact as a leader has arguably been the greatest for this team.
Pretty cool. Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy said they stole that first TD play from Michigan in an old Rose Bowl vs. USC. I looked, and yep. This is from New Year's Day 1948. Fritz Crisler = visionary pic.twitter.com/bcWp5BEf0h— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) February 3, 2020
Do you think Eric Bieniemy would be a good head coach for the Denver Broncos?
Stout: I do. I’ve been a little surprised that someone with Bieniemy’s track record and ability to get his team to buy-in fully has not gotten a coaching job to date. Some may attribute that to Doug Pederson or Matt Nagy leaving before him to mixed results, but neither had the presence that Bieniemy has had in his time in Kansas City. I think he’s nearly perfectly suited to handle a head coaching job in the NFL due to the responsibilities he’s added to his plate in recent years and his execution of the “day to day” work.
The question marks for Bieniemy will revolve around his coordinators and position coaches. An up-and-coming offensive coordinator with some creativity would blend perfectly with Bieniemy’s desire for executing the basics at a high level. He’ll also need a defensive coordinator on staff that can be trusted to execute almost autonomously, much like Reid has set up the responsibilities in Kansas City. Those coordinator hires - which Bieniemy himself will have to sell to the brass of the team he’s interviewing with - could tilt his team from an above-average squad to one that could run with the Chiefs and the Chargers in a couple of years.
Bieniemy is not going to be the sexiest interview lined up for the Broncos. One could argue that’s the reason that he hasn’t landed a job as a head coach yet. However, I genuinely believe that he’s more prepared than any coordinator without head coaching experience in the league due to his unique working relationship with Reid.
Do you want the Broncos to hire Eric Bieniemy to be their Head Coach?