What does the future hold for Eric Bieniemy after the Washington Commanders made Kliff Kingsbury their new offensive coordinator?
After Kliff Kingsbury was confirmed as the new Washington Commanders' offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy's fate became sealed. The respected play-caller will not be part of the team's plans moving forward. A scenario many thought could come to fruition after an underwhelming first season with the franchise.
Bieniemy took a huge leap of faith by leaving the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in favor of the Commanders. A big pay rise, the chance to run an NFL offense, and responsibilities in keeping with head coaches around the league proved too tempting to ignore. Something that was set to be the final stepping stone to getting a long-awaited top job.
That possibility seems further away than ever. Bieniemy struggled to find the right balance offensively. He placed far too much pressure on quarterback Sam Howell, who was practically a rookie after featuring just once in Year 1 of his professional career. His pass-happy scheme didn't work thanks in no small part to an offensive line that wasn't fit for purpose.
Eric Bieniemy faces a long road back after Commanders gamble fails
As the Commanders' season spiraled out of control once again, Ron Rivera's fate became a done deal once the campaign concluded. Perhaps the ties between the head coach and Bieniemy worked against him, but Quinn wanted to meet him face to face and let him know how much admiration he had for his efforts before both went their separate ways.
"We won't work together here, [but] I wanted him to know I really respect the work he's done. I wish him nothing but the best."- Dan Quinn via FOX Sports
What the future holds for Bieniemy remains to be seen. There are no more head coaching openings available - not that he was considered a legitimate candidate for any vacancy during this cycle. It also seems unlikely that another offensive coordinator position is going to come open at this stage. It's unlikely the Commanders would have blocked any approach - even for a lateral move - but it was tumbleweeds in terms of interest.
After betting on himself and losing, it's back to the drawing board for Bieniemy. A scenario could emerge where he's offered an assistant coaching gig somewhere. Andy Reid loves him. Could this see an almost instant reunion with the Chiefs once their Super Bowl engagements conclude? Stranger things have happened.
There is no easy road to redemption for Bieniemy. At the same time, perhaps getting back to his coaching roots rather than focusing on organizing an entire offense could be exactly what he needs after such a rough time in the nation's capital.
In truth, Bieniemy was never going to succeed in Washington. Some players didn't take kindly to his methods. Some went to Rivera demanding he take power back. There was immediate friction that caused more complications than needed. His unwillingness to alter strategies for the modern-day player ended up being the catalyst behind his downfall.
We wish Bieniemy the best of luck with whatever comes next. It was clear from a long way out that this marriage wasn't going to have a fairytale ending, but he deserves endless credit for leaping out of Reid's shadow and trying to make it on his own.
After all, it's better to try and fail than not try at all.