The Commanders have cast a wide net in their search for a new head coach, but it has been known since shortly after Ron Rivera‘s firing that Eric Bieniemy will have a chance to be promoted to the position. The latter has indeed formally interviewed with Washington.
Bieniemy met with the Commanders last week, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reports. The interview included owner Josh Harris and newly-hired general manager Adam Peters, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz adds. Both note the detailed nature of the meeting, which doubles as Bieniemy’s first known interview of the 2024 hiring cycle.
The longtime Chiefs OC joined the Commanders this past offseason in a move which included full-time play-calling duties and the added title of assistant head coach. Having stepped out of the shadow of Andy Reid, expectations were mixed for Bieniemy given his newfound control over the unit but also the decided lack of experience on the part of starting quarterback Sam Howell. The 2022 fifth-rounder was placed atop the depth chart throughout the lead-in to the campaign, one in which he flashed potential at times early on.
Toward the end of the campaign, however, Howell was lifted mid-game for Jacoby Brissett on multiple occasions, and he would have been benched if not for an injury on the part of the latter. The Commanders ultimately finished 24th in both total and scoring offense, and improvements across the board will be needed in the coming months to upgrade the unit. That could very well include a new quarterback being selected in April, as Washington holds the No. 2 pick.
The Commanders will have a new organizational structure in Harris’ second year at the helm. The team’s new head coach will answer to Peters. That setup could lend itself to a first-time HC getting the nod, but candidates with a wide range of experience have been interviewed already or received a slip from Washington. Once Peters became the choice for GM, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson was named as a candidate to watch for the HC vacancy. The latter is indeed believed to be Washington’s top target.
Bieniemy’s status as an internal option for the posting means his interview does not relate to the Rooney Rule in Washington’s ongoing search. The team is required to speak with two external minority candidates before choosing its Rivera successor. Bieniemy is now, at a minimum, in the mix for consideration as things stand.