Eric Bieniemy interviewed for Commanders' head-coaching vacancy last week

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

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

The other 16 times he interviewed, he did so as the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coordinator.

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 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, however, provide a general outline for what he deems important in the Commanders' next head coach during his news conference.

“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.”

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 to 2022 and winning two Super Bowls with the franchise. He helped Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes soar to new heights in his game and earn two MVP trophies. But the consistent ding against Bieniemy was the fact that he wasn't the lead play-caller in Kansas City, as those duties belong to head coach Andy Reid. Bieniemy tried to change that by making his way to Washington.

With a first-year starting quarterback in Sam Howell, things initially seemed to work 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 season. 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 the first five possessions, over two games, with Brissett under center.

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