Could Eric Bieniemy replace Ron Rivera as Commanders head coach?

Eric Bieniemy and Ron Rivera
Eric Bieniemy and Ron Rivera / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Washington Commanders be grooming Eric Bieniemy to potentially take over from Ron Rivera during or after the 2023 season?

It's no secret that Eric Bieniemy is desperate to become an NFL head coach one day. This is a privilege he's been denied despite countless interviews and rave reviews from the likes of Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes during a trophy-laden stint with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Not calling the shots on offense was reportedly a big reason why other teams were reluctant to take the plunge. This is a concern Bieniemy is looking to alleviate with the Washington Commanders in 2023.

Bieniemy's big switch to the nation's capital came at a significant financial cost to the Commanders. Those in power also agreed to give him full offensive control, the option to choose his own staff, and adopt a leading voice in preparations and recruitment for good measure.

These are all the hallmarks of a future head coach. Something that could be the tipping point to a well-deserved promotion in the not-too-distant future.

Eric Bieniemy could replace Ron Rivera as Commanders head coach

The football gods throw up some strange scenarios at times. Could current head coach Ron Rivera be inadvertently preparing his potential successor for the top job with the responsibilities allocated to Bieniemy this offseason?

Perhaps. And one cannot rule anything out with the ownership group led by Josh Harris set to confirm their purchase of the Commanders from Dan Snyder for $6.05 billion in the coming weeks.

This was a notion recently discussed by Alex Kay of The Bleacher Report when discussing head coaches entering 2023 on the hot seat. Although the writer acknowledged Rivera's future largely hinges on his big gamble with Sam Howell as Washington's starting quarterback.

"[Ron] Rivera deserves a chance to ply his talents with a more ready-to-win organization, a move that would let the Commanders bottom out and rebuild from the ground up. Rivera's seat seems particularly hot this year after the Commanders brought in longtime Andy Reid understudy Eric Bienemy. While he'll initially work under Rivera as the team's offensive coordinator, he is also a potential head coach waiting in the wings. He would make a perfect replacement for Rivera if Washington elects to go a different direction in 2024."

Alex Kay, The Bleacher Report

This scenario will be the last thing on Rivera and Bieniemy's minds right now. Their primary objective is to put the necessary foundations in place for a profitable campaign, which has been mission accomplished up to now despite the obvious distractions making life difficult.

Everyone seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet and working with a collaborative approach in all areas. More importantly, senior figures within the locker team are fully behind the coaching changes in the hope it can inspire a level of positivity not seen for some time.

It's all been a little mundane and mediocre since Rivera became head coach. The Commanders are also in projected purgatory heading into 2023 - they aren't going to be bad enough for the No. 1 overall selection and could just miss out on the playoffs - leaving any new coaching regime in limbo.

If Rivera is fired, Bieniemy represents a tremendous bridge option who'd already have experience working with the players. However, the possibility of a completely clean slate when Harris and his team of investors take charge cannot be dismissed entirely.

What's important for Rivera and Bieniemy is focusing on the task at hand and letting the chips fall where they may. Anything else is out of their hands, in all honesty.