Eric Bieniemy

Falcons Interested In Nathaniel Hackett; Eric Bieniemy Also On Radar

After 1 1/2 seasons as Green Bay’s offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett has emerged as a head coaching candidate. The Falcons are interested in the longtime assistant, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports.

Team president Rich McKay is likely to pursue an interview with Hackett when he becomes available for one, per JLC, who adds the 40-year-old OC’s name has come up in “several” internal discussions to succeed Dan Quinn.

McKay is running Atlanta’s search and has a history with Hackett, who is a second-generation NFL coach. The son of former NFL OC Paul Hackett, Nathaniel broke into the NFL as a Buccaneers quality control coach during his father’s stay as the team’s QBs coach during the mid-2000s. McKay was with Tampa Bay at that point.

The Packers hired Hackett last year to work as Matt LaFleur‘s right-hand man on offense. While Aaron Rodgers certainly makes a coordinator’s job easier, the Packers rank second in offensive DVOA this season despite having gone stretches without Davante Adams and Aaron Jones. Green Bay ranked eighth last season, though the team was seventh in Mike McCarthy‘s abbreviated final season. LaFleur calls Green Bay’s plays. Hackett served as OC for the Bills and Jaguars under Doug Marrone; the Jags fired him in 2018. Only one of Hackett’s five pre-Packers offenses ranked in the top 15 in DVOA.

The Falcons are likely to be interested in Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, La Canfora notes. They will have company in chasing Kansas City’s non-play-calling OC, who has been in place throughout Patrick Mahomes‘ tenure as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback. The Texans are also interested in Bieniemy, who has taken HC interviews in each of the past two offseasons and is expected to land a coaching job in 2021.

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Extra Points: Bieniemy, Giants, Panthers

Although the Giants are just one game back of the NFC East lead, they are 1-5 and appear on the verge of their fourth straight double-digit loss season. GM Dave Gettleman has presided over the previous two 10-plus-loss campaigns, and some around the league have tabbed the Giants GM job as a potential opening ahead of the 2021 offseason, Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com note. The Panthers‘ GM spot has also surfaced around the NFL as one to monitor. Marty Hurney, in place long before Matt Rhule‘s arrival, has been rumored as a potential chopping-block candidate because of Rhule’s overhaul and seven-year contract. Hurney’s contract runs through 2020. Gettleman made his way back to New York shortly after his Carolina ouster, but his rebuild has not taken off. The Giants have never lost double-digit games in four straight seasons.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Sticking with staffs, the Texans are indeed expected to strongly consider Eric BieniemyDeshaun Watson has advocated for Patrick Mahomes‘ OC, and Graziano and Fowler note the Texans “definitely” have interest in the Chiefs assistant. The Chiefs are prepared to lose Bieniemy this offseason, which would mark the third time they have lost an OC since 2016. Houston is believed to be seeking a quarterback guru and will have Josh McDaniels (again) and Bills OC Brian Daboll on its target list as well.
  • The Bears may not need to make it back to the playoffs for their current power brokers to stay in place. Both Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace are believed to be on track to stick around for 2021, per Fowler and Graziano. Chicago’s 5-1 start has come with just a plus-12 point differential, and the team benched Pace’s handpicked quarterback early in the season. Despite Mitchell Trubisky‘s struggles and current backup status, Pace is currently believed to be safe to receive a seventh year as GM.
  • It does not sound like the Chargers are expecting to have Austin Ekeler back anytime soon. The Bolts’ starting running back is battling what Anthony Lynn calls a “very serious” hamstring injury that has him set to be sidelined for the foreseeable future, Daniel Popper of The Athletic tweets. Given a four-year, $24MM extension this offseason, Ekeler went down in Week 4. The Bolts have been without many key players on offense since turning to Justin Herbert in Week 2.
  • Adoree’ Jackson returned to Titans practice Wednesday. The team designated the former first-round cornerback as an IR-return player, making him eligible to face the Steelers in Week 7 — if the team activates him by Saturday afternoon. Jackson landed on IR before Week 1 with a knee injury.
  • The Panthers placed Joey Slye on their reserve/COVID-19 list and brought in kickers for workouts this week. Carolina has auditioned Casey Bednarski (Minnesota State), Taylor Bertolet and Austin Parker (Duke), per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Bednarski began his coronavirus testing with the team Tuesday, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. None of these kickers has NFL experience. Slye has not tested positive but came in contact with someone who had, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes. The Panthers do not have a kicker on their practice squad, but Slye has not been at the team’s facility since Sunday and could still kick in Week 7.
  • The Dolphins conducted an interesting workout Wednesday. They brought in former Seahawks second-round pick Malik McDowell for an audition, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The 2017 draftee has not played an NFL down, with an ATV accident and subsequent legal troubles harpooning his career. The former Michigan State defensive lineman recently spent time in prison after a bevy of charges stemming from a 2019 arrest.

Latest On Texans’ GM, HC Search

With Bill O’Brien gone, the Texans find themselves with an interim GM in Jack Easterby and an interim HC in Romeo Crennel. Earlier this week, team owner Cal McNair said that internal conversations as to how the team will permanently fill those roles had yet to begin, but it seems that has changed.

Per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, McNair has hired Jed Hughes, the vice chairman of the search firm Korn Ferry, to assist him. The club will reportedly wait until after the season to hire a new head coach and general manager, but obviously McNair wants to start the process as soon as possible. Interestingly, Hughes also played a key role in helping the Texans identify and hire O’Brien back in 2014.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Patriots exec Nick Caserio is once again under consideration for the Houston GM job. As many of our readers probably remember, the Texans made a play for Caserio in June 2019, only to back out when the Pats threatened to file tampering charges.

Caserio is widely considered to be a top GM candidate, and though he did sign a two-year extension with New England in February, La Canfora says that the new deal prohibits the Pats from interfering with Caserio’s pursuit of a GM job. JLC adds that McNair remains high on Caserio.

Meanwhile, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who has been a hot head coaching candidate in recent years, was one of the first names to surface in speculation after O’Brien’s dismissal. And La Canfora says Bieniemy has a fan in Texans QB Deshaun Watson, whose opinion and feedback will be valued by McNair. Indeed, Watson has already advocated for Bienemy, who may have several options but who will unlikely find an HC-needy team with a signal-caller as good as Watson.

McNair is said to be seeking a QB guru, so Patriots OC Josh McDaniels and Bills OC Brian Daboll will also be under consideration.

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Chiefs’ Eric Bieniemy Turns Down Colorado

Eric Bieniemy won’t be leaving Kansas City. This week, the Chiefs offensive coordinator withdrew his name from consideration, as Mike Klis of 9News tweets

Bieniemy did not formally interview for the job, but the Buffs pursued him hard nonetheless. Klis’ understanding is that Bieniemy was Colorado’s first choice for the job and they kept in contact with him throughout, even while he was on vacation.

Bieniemy has interviewed for a number of NFL head coaching jobs in recent cycles but has yet to come away with any. Colorado presented him with an opportunity to finally run his own show – and return to his alma mater – but he ultimately felt that the Chiefs job was too good to give up. Besides, with another year of electric offense in Kansas City, it feels inevitable that Bieniemy will finally get his big break. Had Bieniemy signed up at Colorado, he likely would have been tied to the school for multiple seasons with a significant buyout for any NFL team hiring him.

Bieniemy has been a Chiefs assistant for the last seven years. This offseason, he interviewed with the Browns, Giants, and Panthers about their head coaching vacancies. Last year, he chatted with the Bucs and Dolphins.

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Eric Bieniemy Planning To Stay With Chiefs

Prior to latching on with Andy Reid when the longtime Eagles coach relocated to Kansas City, Eric Bieniemy was the University of Colorado’s offensive coordinator. And the Colorado alum is squarely on the Buffaloes’ radar for their recently available head coaching gig.

Colorado has made multiple overtures to the Chiefs’ OC about the job Mel Tucker recently vacated when he left after one season to take the Michigan State HC job. However, the Bieniemy-to-Boulder rumors are not expected to produce a move.

The Pac-12 program’s interest in the seven-year Chiefs assistant has not generated much in the way of traction, with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com indicating Bieniemy is content where he is — largely because of what will likely come his way in 2021 (video link). Bieniemy is likely on the verge of receiving a chance to be a head coach in 2021, after taking three interviews this offseason. And the Super Bowl ring he is set to receive may well cement yet another Reid OC earning a top NFL job. He spoke about his dream to be an NFL head coach before Super Bowl LIV.

Bieniemy met with the Browns, Giants and Panthers about their vacancies this offseason and interviewed for the Buccaneers’ and Dolphins’ jobs in 2019. Although things change fast in the NFL, Reid’s right-hand man during Patrick Mahomes‘ ascent figures to have a good chance of being one of the NFL’s 32 HCs come 2021. The 2020 season will be Bieniemy’s third as Chiefs OC.

Colorado also has Giants outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema on its radar; the ex-Wisconsin and Arkansas HC will interview for the post. As of now, it does not sound like Bieniemy will take a meeting with his alma mater. The ex-NFL running back played at Colorado from 1987-90 and was part of the Buffs’ 1990 national championship team. Bieniemy, 50, broke into coaching as Colorado’s running backs coach from 2001-02.

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Giants’ Bret Bielema To Interview For Colorado HC Job

Bret Bielema‘s Giants stay may not end up lasting long. After expressing interest in the Michigan State job, the Giants assistant is set to interview for the position vacated because of the Spartans’ hire.

Michigan State ended up going with Colorado head coach Mel Tucker, the Buffaloes’ HC for one season. Colorado will now interview Bielema for the job, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, a Colorado alum, also remains in consideration for the post, Mike Klis of 9News tweets.

The Giants hired Bielema to be their outside linebackers coach; he also has “senior defensive assistant” in his current title. He spent the past two seasons with Joe Judge in New England, the second of those slates as the Pats’ defensive line coach. But judging by the connection to two Division I HC jobs thus far this offseason, Bielema’s future may be back at the college level.

Bielema, 50, was the head coach at Wisconsin (2006-12) and Arkansas (2013-17). After the Razorbacks fired him, he surfaced on Bill Belichick‘s staff. After the Patriots lost several assistants last year, Bielema served as one of their most experienced staffers. However, the two years in New England doubled as Bielema’s only two as an NFL coach. Bielema was under consideration to be the Giants’ defensive coordinator, but Judge opted for former Patriots coworker Patrick Graham. Bielema then settled for a lesser role with the Giants.

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Colorado Eyeing Eric Bieniemy For HC Vacancy

The University of Colorado is seeking a new head coach, and they’re eyeing an alumni to fill the spot. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the school has reached out to Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy about the vacancy. Earlier today, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the school was expected to reach out to Bieniemy, even though it was unlikely he’d leave his current gig.

Bieniemy was a standout player during his time at Colorado, earning a consensus All-American nod while also being named a Heisman Trophy finalist. The 1991 second-round pick ended up sticking around the NFL for nine years as a player, serving mostly as a pass-catching backup running back.

Following his playing career, Bieniemy returned to Colorado as their running backs coach. He lated moved on to UCLA before taking the leap to the NFL coaching ranks with the Vikings. In 2011, he joined Colorado again to be their offensive coordinator, and he later joined Andy Reid‘s staff in Kansas City as their RBs coach.

He was promoted to Chiefs OC in 2018 after Matt Nagy took the head coaching job with the Bears. Thanks in part to the promotion (and, obviously, the emergence of Patrick Mahomes), the Chiefs have evolved into one of the top offenses in the entire league.

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Eric Bieniemy Still Eyeing HC Job

This year, Eric Bieniemy was in demand on the head coaching circuit once again. And, once again, Bieniemy did not emerge with a head coaching job. Still, the Chiefs offensive coordinator remains determined to eventually run his own ship. 

I mean, that’s everybody’s dream to be one of the 32 head coaches. That’s everybody’s dream,” Bieniemy said (via ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher). “Someday, possibly, it may happen. But right now, the only thing that matters is making sure our guys, our players and our coaching staff is focused on the goal — and that’s making sure we play to the end of that final echo of the whistle come Sunday.”

Bieniemy drew interest from the Browns, Giants, and Panthers this offseason. Last year, he met with the Buccaneers, Bengals, and Dolphins (and turned down an interview with the Cardinals). The offensive guru has been in the running for at least six HC jobs in the last two cycles, but came away with none.

Given that Ron Rivera was the only minority candidate to land a head coaching job in this cycle, many have called for a revamp to the league’s Rooney Rule. For his part, Bieniemy says he’s keeping the focus on himself and his Super Bowl-bound squad.

Every coach may have a different gripe about whatever comes up in their own organization,” Bieniemy said when asked whether minority assistant coaches were being treated unfairly on the whole. “But we all have an opportunity to do what we do…I love my job. I have no complaints in what I do and how I do it. I know one thing: When it’s all said and done with, we get to line up and play football. And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m a football coach.”

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Browns To Interview Eric Bieniemy

Eric Bieniemy turned down the Cardinals, but he’s open to joining the Browns. The Chiefs offensive coordinator will sit down with Cleveland brass on Friday afternoon, per a club announcement.

Bieniemy will be the third candidate to meet with the Browns regarding their HC vacancy. On Thursday, the club chatted with former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

He won’t be the last to chat with the team, either. Per PFR’s 2020 Head Coaching Search Tracker, there are upwards of ten candidates on the Browns’ radar:

Eric Bieniemy To Meet With Giants, Panthers

Another Andy Reid offensive coordinator is drawing significant interest on the coaching market. After receiving interview requests from the Browns, Giants and Panthers, Eric Bieniemy has set his itinerary.

The Chiefs’ offensive coordinator will meet with the Panthers on Thursday and Giants on Saturday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). It is not known if Bieniemy will take a Browns interview.

Bieniemy was part of the 2019 interview cycle, with the Buccaneers, Bengals and Dolphins requesting summits with the Kansas City OC. Should Bieniemy be hired, he would follow Chiefs OC predecessors Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy in landing HC gigs. The former led the Eagles to the Super Bowl LII championship; the latter was last season’s coach of the year. Reid’s coaching tree has proven to generate good hires.

Although the Chiefs fared well under Pederson and Nagy, they’ve certainly hit another gear during Bieniemy’s tenure. While the Reid-Patrick Mahomes partnership receives most of the credit for the Chiefs morphing into one of the league’s most explosive offenses, Bieniemy has served as K.C.’s OC during each of Mahomes’ two years as starting quarterback. Reid serves as Kansas City’s primary play-caller, but his seventh-year assistant has played a role in elevating the Chiefs to two straight playoff byes.

The Giants will also meet with Mike McCarthy and Cowboys secondary coach Kris Richard for their latest HC vacancy. They are interested in Baylor’s Matt Rhule as well. They have also requested interviews with Patriots special teams coordinator Joe Judge and Ravens defensive boss Don “Wink” Martindale. The Panthers have met with McCarthy, requested an interview with Josh McDaniels and are also interested in Rhule.

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