The case for Eric Bieniemy to be Denver Broncos next head coach
The Denver Broncos are beginning to get deep into the interview process as they search for the team’s next head coach.
On Wednesday, the Broncos completed their most recent interview with Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. For the record, that makes Gannon, Dan Quinn, Kellen Moore, Nathaniel Hackett, Luke Getsy and Aaron Glenn as those interviewed by the team thus far.
There are at least four other known candidates the Broncos are looking to interview, and one of those will be with current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
Though this coaching search has not included the names that many expected, Bieniemy is a name that makes a lot of sense.
There has not been much talk about Bieniemy in connection with the job and he is likely viewed as a long shot to get it, but he should be strongly considered.
Denver general manager George Paton’s last scheduled interview is going to be with Bieniemy, who is still coaching one of the team’s alive in the playoffs.
For the past several years, Bieniemy’s name has come up in multiple coaching searches. He has had interviews but hasn’t been given a job. Why is that?
Here is what Doug Gottlieb of FOX Sports had to say about that last year.
Teams may just be looking to fulfill the Rooney Rule in calling in Bienemy to talk with them, but it is time a team looks at him as a serious candidate. Here’s why:
Why should Eric Bieniemy be named head coach of the Denver Broncos?
Bienemy has been on the coaching staff in Kansas City since 2013. He was the running backs coach for five seasons and then became offensive coordinator in 2018. Working directly under Andy Reid, there is no way he hasn’t gained valuable experience in that time.
How much influence does Bieniemy actually have on the offense is one of the big questions people have in regards to him. But the experience gained in that time could be something he brings to a new team despite any of that.
The Broncos haven’t beaten the Chiefs since 2015. Who better to help them get over that hump than a guy who knows that team inside and out?
Bieniemy knows Andy Reid like the back of his hand at this point so despite how much control he actually has in the play-calling, he has obviously learned the tendencies of Reid and likely knows how to exploit them as well as anyone.
Then there is the Patrick Mahomes factor.
Bieniemy has had the opportunity to work directly with Mahomes, probably the most gifted quarterback in the league, his entire career. While he can’t give Mahomes’ physical skills to whoever the quarterback for the Broncos is going to be, he can spread the knowledge of what he gained from working with a quarterback who plays the game the way he does.
And then, of course, there is the fact that Bieniemy would likely be a hugely popular choice within the fanbase due to his ties to Colorado. From 1987-1990, he played running back for the Colorado Buffaloes and is easily one of the best players in program history.
Bieniemy finished third in the 1990 Heisman Trophy voting and is still the school’s all-time leader in career rushing yards, all-purpose yards and touchdowns. Long-time fans have not forgotten his contributions to the Buffs and those fans would probably love to see him come to Denver.
Eric Bieniemy or Nathaniel Hackett?
Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s name is one of the first to come up when the sports media predicts who will actually land this job. But why is that?
Bieniemy has coached more successful offenses than he has and he has a longer overall track record as a head coach, dating back to 2001. Many of Hackett’s supporters will point to his connection with Aaron Rodgers, but how does that trump what Bienemy has done with Mahomes?
In other words, Bieniemy should be viewed every bit as strong a candidate as Hackett.
What should the Broncos do?
I would like to think that Paton is saving the best interview for last, even though that’s not why Bieniemy is in the interview pecking order the way he is. For the past several years, Bieniemy’s Chiefs have been playing late into the season and under the old rules, teams could not interview a candidate until his team’s season was over.
Teams have used that as an excuse as to why Bieniemy hasn’t been hired already. That rule was changed this year, so it’s no longer an excuse.
Much will ride on who Bieniemy would plan to bring in under his staff, specifically his picks for offensive and defensive coordinator. If he comes to this interview completely prepared, paying attention to all details and has solid, sensible picks as his coordinators, there is no reason he can’t land this job.
Bieniemy can be a leader of men, which is what Paton is said to value most in this search. He can also bring a wealth of experience and knowledge stemming from his time working with a future Hall of Fame head coach and one of the best quarterbacks the league has come across in many, many years. All of this while bringing a familiar face back to the area?
This could definitely be the hire to make.