Just a few days after winning his second Super Bowl ring with the Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Biemieny has officially signed a contract to become the next offensive coordinator of the Washington Commanders.
This appears to be a lateral move for Bieniemy, but his move to Washington will give him full control of the offense, playcalling responsibility and, as part of his new title as assistant head coach, hands-on experience running the team. It’s clear that the goal for EB is to become an NFL head coach after this season, as some teams believe Andy Reid has overshadowed the Buffs legend.
This is a similar route that Matt LaFleur and Marvin Lewis took to becoming a head coach. Both made lateral moves to step out of the shadow of their head coach (LaFleur leaving Sean McVay, Lewis leaving Brian Billick), took on more responsibility with a worse roster (Tennessee, Washington), and then getting a HC job after one year (Green Bay, Cincinnati).
While there is precedent for a move like Bieniemy, there have been more coordinators who stepped into a head coaching job without any playcalling experience. Some examples would be Reid disciples Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy, McVay assistants Zac Taylor and Kevin O’Connell, and infamous flameouts Nathaniel Hackett and Matt Patricia.
(Please note that all those coaches are all white, and the one black coach who fits this, David Culley, was set up to fail on a tanking Texans team.) (Also note that none of those coaches were two-time Super Bowl champions.)
Bieniemy will have full control of a Commanders roster that has lots of offensive talent, but still need a long-time answer at QB, as Carson Wentz is expected to be traded or waived and Taylor Heinicke is a free agent.