Kansas City’s Eric Bieniemy has already interviewed for the New York Jets once. Will they hire him this time around?
Way back in 2018 – two short years ago – the New York Jets moved on from head coach Todd Bowles. Bowles had been the head coach for four seasons, but the Jets were looking for an offensive guru to develop their new quarterback, Sam Darnold, and lead their offense into the future.
As the Jets weighed their options, they brought in Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for an interview.
Everyone was enamored with the possibility of hiring yet another Chiefs offensive coordinator after Matt Nagy (Chicago) and Doug Pederson (Philadelphia) had found success.
The Chiefs were coming off of an elite offensive season in which Patrick Mahomes won the MVP award. For his part, Nagy was named the NFL Coach of the Year in 2018 after his first season with the Bears.
Bieniemy reportedly interviewed poorly and wasn’t a finalist for the job.
Instead, the Jets opted to hand the keys to the castle to Adam Gase, who led the Jets to one of the worst offensive runs in team history.
Two years later the New York Jets want to bring Bieniemy in for another look. Is now the time for him to be a better fit for Joe Douglas?
Bieniemy’s career began as a running back. He was a second-round pick out of Colorado in 1991. He played for the Chargers, Bengals, and Eagles. After a nine-year career in the NFL, Bieniemy turned to coaching.
In 2001, he returned to his alma mater to take over as running backs coach. In 2003, he accepted the same position at UCLA.
He got his first shot at the NFL in 2006 joining the Minnesota Viking’s staff as running backs coach. In 2010 he was promoted to assistant head coach/running backs coach.
He returned to Colorado for a third time in 2011, accepting the offensive coordinator position. The third time was not the charm for him in Boulder.
After two underwhelming years at Colorado, Bieniemy returned to the NFL as the Kansas City Chiefs’ running back coach. In 2018, he was promoted to offensive coordinator when Nagy left to take the head coach job in Chicago.
Since taking over the Chiefs have had one of the most electric offenses in NFL history. Patrick Mahomes won an MVP award and the Chiefs won a Super Bowl.
At this point, Bieniemy has interviewed with at least 10 teams over three years for their head coach positions. Bieniemy is yet to even be a finalist for a position.
A large part of that has to do with Bieniemy’s history of scandals. He has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, he once assaulted a parking attendant, and, during his time at Colorado, multiple players under Bieniemy had been accused of rape. His time at Colorado came to an end during the investigation of those allegations as he had accepted a position at UCLA.
It’s impossible to know what Bieniemy’s offensive scheme would bring to the New York Jets. He doesn’t scheme the offense in Kansas City; Andy Reid does that. And Reid is the primary play-caller, though Bieniemy has called plays before.
The easy answer is to say that he’d try and replicate the Chiefs’ offense where he goes next, but that’s easier said than done.
Nagy failed spectacularly to bring the Chiefs’ offensive system to Chicago and has been widely criticized for not giving up play-calling duties soon enough.
Pederson brought some of Reid’s concepts with him to the Eagles, but has tried to establish his own philosophy in Philadelphia.
That’s what makes it so hard to draw a positive conclusion about Bieniemy. He has no history of success on his own. There’s no evidence that he can successfully run an offense because he hasn’t been asked to outside of a failed stint at Colorado almost a decade ago.
Is he the next New York Jets head coach?
It’s hard to see Joe Douglas hiring Eric Bieniemy. The first thing he mentioned when asked about the coaching search was character profiles. Douglas is huge on character and building the right culture. It’s why he drafted almost all seniors and team captains in his first draft. With Bieniemy’s past history it’s unlikely Douglas would view Bieniemy as a strong culture fit.
Bieniemy also has his coaching archetype working against him. As an offensive mind with no experience working with quarterbacks Bieniemy is fighting an uphill battle.
And, if we’re honest, Bieniemy wouldn’t have Mahomes or Travis Kelce of a stable of elite receivers or multiple running backs to work with should he come to the Jets. The talent difference between the Jets and Chiefs on offense is significant.
Bieniemy may be a head coach one day, but it’s going to have to be the perfect situation. It’s unlikely that Bieniemy has done anything in the last two years to change the minds of the New York Jets top brass even if there’s a new general manager in place.