More updates continue to come in with respect to the Commanders’ coaching search. With Ron Rivera out of the picture, a number of outside candidates have been connected to the vacancy. The team’s top incumbent option could also receive consideration, however.
Washington has already submitted interview requests with four staffers preparing for their respective teams’ postseasons to begin: Ben Johnson and Aaron Glenn (Lions), Raheem Morris (Rams) and Anthony Weaver (Ravens). The latter has company in Baltimore as it pertains to head coach interest. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has received an interview request, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Additionally, Josh Harris said Monday (via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo) that offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will receive consideration for the HC post. The new Commanders owner said the team plans to finalize its front office strategy first before moving on to its HC list. Considering no in-person HC interviews can be conducted until after the divisional round this year, a GM-before-HC path makes sense. Harris noted Bieniemy will be part of the search.
Bieniemy went through more than a dozen interviews for HC positions during his time as Chiefs OC. Despite Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes-fueled surge to the top of the NFL, Andy Reid‘s right-hand man on offense could not land a job. This became a divisive issue. As reports of Bieniemy struggling in interviews surfaced, the obvious storyline of race became the lead topic surrounding the five-year Kansas City coordinator’s quest to become a head coach. Ultimately, Bieniemy decided to leave the Chiefs to call plays elsewhere. That effort produced mixed results, and after new ownership took over in Washington, it would be surprising if Bieniemy landed the Commanders’ HC job.
Washington’s offensive rankings dropped from last season, sinking to 25th in points and 24th in yardage. DVOA slotted the Commanders’ offense 26th. The Commanders committed to Sam Howell at quarterback, shying away from starter-level QBs after pursuing every available QB1 in 2022. Howell became the first Washington QB since Kirk Cousins to go wire-to-wire as a starter, but Jacoby Brissett twice replaced him in games late in the season. The team lost its final eight games, making it more likely Harris starts fresh with his own hires.
Macdonald is among the younger candidates in this year’s head coaching cycle. The second-year Ravens DC has been expected to receive interest during this year’s HC hiring period. Baltimore finished the regular season with the NFL’s top scoring defense, doing so despite relying on Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy on the edge. Clowney arrived late in the summer, while Van Noy did not sign until September. The two combined for 18.5 sacks, with D-tackle Justin Madubuike dominating (13 sacks) in his contract year.
Harris also hired analytics staffer Eugene Shen as his VP of football strategy during the season. Shen is an ex-Ravens staffer whose Baltimore tenure overlapped with Macdonald’s first stint with the team. It would, then, not be shocking to see Ravens GM and HC candidates emerge.
Adam La Rose contributed to this post.