With six jobs filled and two more tentatively earmarked for folks other than Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, why didn’t Bieniemy get one of the eight open spots in the current cycle?
A strong argument could be made for Bieniemy. He’s in the spot that has produced Eagles coach Doug Pederson and Bears coach Matt Nagy, both of whom have quickly become great head coaches. The Chiefs offense found a higher level this year, in Bieniemy’s first season as the O.C.
“I think the biggest difference is the mentality,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said on the #PFTPM podcast in late September regarding the transition from Nagy to Bieniemy. “Coach Bieniemy brings a fierce, aggressive mentality to the offense. Kind of a gritty, punch-you-in-the-mouth-type of mindset, and I think that has rubbed off on everybody, from Pat [Mahomes] throwing the ball aggressively down field. The play calling is a little bit more aggressive and, sure enough, everybody getting the ball has been a north runner. There’s not too much running sideways. Everybody’s getting downhill trying to finish the plays in the end zone.”
The problem is that Bieniemy doesn’t call plays. Then again, Nagy only called plays for half of a season in 2017, a season that saw the offense sputter after a strong start to the season.
The explanation could be more about the pursuit of quarterback whisperers, and Bieniemy’s lack of background in that area.
“I think the big thing is teams are looking for quarterback guys,” one league source opined to PFT. “Matt, Doug are both former quarterbacks and former quarterback coaches.” Bieniemy isn’t.
There’s still a belief in Kansas City that Bieniemy will become a great coach someday. For now, the Chiefs benefit. Then again, they likely benefit either way; they’ve done a great job filling the pipeline with more great offensive coordinators, as their offensive coordinators become great coaches.