Eric Bieniemy

UCLA To Hire Eric Bieniemy As OC

Several changes took place on the Commanders’ sidelines this offseason, including Ron Rivera being replaced as head coach by Dan Quinn. The latter elected not to retain incumbent offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, leaving him with an uncertain coaching future. He has found his next opportunity, however.

Bieniemy is set to join UCLA’s staff on a two-year deal under the title of associate head coach/offensive coordinator, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Pete Thamel report. That report includes excerpts from an email Bieniemy sent to ESPN, in which he noted that he was not fired by the Commanders, and that he simply elected not to stay (though it is unclear whether he was given the chance to stay on as Washington’s OC under Quinn, or if he was asked to take a different position on the offensive staff).

“I have no regrets with the Commanders,” Bieniemy wrote. “Contrary to what some think and what has been put out in the media, I was not fired. I actually just chose not to stay. Learned a lot and that is always a good thing.”

Bieniemy will now work alongside DeShaun Foster, who succeeded Chip Kelly as head coach of the Bruins this winter. The move represents Bieniemy’s first NCAA coaching gig since he worked as Colorado’s OC from 2011-12, and it also marks a return to UCLA, where Bieniemy served as the school’s running backs coach for three seasons. The 54-year-old had been in the NFL since 2013, enjoying a successful run as Kansas City’s RBs coach and later offensive coordinator until 2022. He joined Rivera’s Commanders staff in a move which included play-calling duties.

Washington’s 2023 campaign was driven in large part by the decision to hand the reins to Sam Howell as the team’s starting quarterback. The 2022 fifth-rounder showed promise at times, but by the end of the season he found himself being benched mid-game on more than one occasion. Quinn and the Commanders will move forward with new OC Kliff Kingsbury and, in all likelihood, a signal-caller selected with the No. 2 pick in April’s draft as their new starter.

Despite a less-than-impressive showing in the nation’s capital, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz notes Bieniemy drew interest from a number of NFL teams for a new OC opportunity. He joined the Commanders on a two-year contract, leading some to believe he would simply take the 2024 season off before planning his next move. Instead, he will now hold a pivotal role at UCLA as the program transitions out of the Pac-12 and into the Big Ten.

The 2024 offseason has seen a steady flow of coaches leaving the college ranks and taking lesser positions with NFL staffs. Bieniemy – who has seven years of experience at the NCAA level and 16 in the NFL – will head in the opposite direction with this deal. His reputation as an offensive play-designer was established during his decade on the Chiefs’ staff, a tenure which included a pair of Super Bowl titles. He will now aim to boost his stock with at least a brief period at the college level before a potential NFL return.

NFC East Notes: Commanders, QBs, Bieniemy, Cowboys, Smith, Saban, Giants

The Commanders centered their 2023 offseason on Sam Howell, who had played all of one game as a rookie. While the second-year passer showed some encouraging signs, the team was prepared to bench him for Jacoby Brissett late in the season. Howell did become the first Washington quarterback to go wire to wire as the starter since Kirk Cousins in 2017, but the team lost eight straight games to end the season. It remains likely the Commanders draft a QB at No. 2 overall rather than turn to Howell and perhaps another Brissett-level vet as competition,’s John Keim writes.

Washington held the No. 2 overall pick in 2020 but had just taken Dwayne Haskins in the 2019 first round. This effectively took them out of the Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert sweepstakes, joining the Giants (who had chosen Daniel Jones in 2019) in that regard. Washington then took Chase Young. Timing was an issue for the team then, but Howell’s presence — especially with a new owner, HC and football ops boss in town — is unlikely to represent a sufficient deterrent to impede a QB investment this year. Two years remain on Howell’s rookie contract.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • With the Commanders being the seventh team to hire a head coach, and not doing so until Feb. 1, Eric Bieniemy received confirmation he was out late during this year’s hiring period. The one-and-done Commanders OC signed a multiyear deal in 2023, and’s Jeremy Fowler notes the former HC interview mainstay could well take a year off — as money will continue to come in from Washington — and regroup for a 2025 return to the sideline. Bieniemy, 54, may be off the HC radar; but the longtime Chiefs assistant could well resurface as an OC candidate — particularly given this position’s turnover rate in recent years — in 2025. The possibility the Chiefs bring him back, as they did Matt Nagy, also should not be discounted.
  • Over the past decade and change, the Cowboys have generally done well in the first round. They have landed a number of All-Pros — from Tyron Smith to Travis Frederick to Zack Martin to CeeDee Lamb to Micah Parsons — and a few other regular starters. Mazi Smith‘s trajectory is less certain to produce an impact player. Last year’s No. 26 overall pick played 304 defensive snaps as a rookie and logged only four in Dallas’ wild-card loss. Pro Football Focus rated the Michigan alum as one of the worst D-tackle regulars last season. The Cowboys were displeased Smith dropped around 20 pounds from his Combine weight (323) at points last season, per the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken. Drafted as a player who could potentially anchor the Cowboys’ interior D-line, Smith has work to do. The Cowboys also have starter Johnathan Hankins due for free agency in a few weeks.
  • This can be field in the “what if?” department, but as the Giants interviewed Louis Riddick for their GM job — during the cycle that produced the Dave Gettleman hire — the ESPN talent/ex-NFL exec said (h/t Empire Sports Media’s Anthony Rivardo) he reached out to Nick Saban to gauge his interest in becoming the team’s head coach. The Giants interviewed Riddick in December 2017; the ex-Monday Night Football analyst had been up for a few GM jobs around that point. Riddick was also a defensive back during Saban’s tenure under Bill Belichick in Cleveland in the early 1990s. (Saban was the Browns’ DC from 1991-94.) The Alabama icon, who retired last month, was loosely connected to the Giants’ coaching job during the cycle that produced the Ben McAdoo promotion. Saban, who coached the Dolphins for two years (2005-06) before leaving for Tuscaloosa, was not interested in the Giants’ job during the cycle that ended with the Pat Shurmur hire in 2018.

Latest On Seahawks’ HC Decision; Eric Bieniemy On Radar For OC?

Fallout from the Seahawks and Commanders’ HC hires points to Seattle winning out, hiring Mike Macdonald despite Washington’s push. It took a six-year contract for the Seahawks to land the young defensive coordinator, but they are starting over after initially being connected to Dan Quinn.

Likely the Commanders’ fallback option during what turned into a complicated HC search that featured some notable Ben Johnson involvement, Quinn was the first name mentioned in connection with the Seahawks’ job. But the veteran staffer’s past with Pete Carroll may well have been an issue for the team. As the Seahawks sought a fresher option, Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline notes Quinn’s two stints under Carroll worked against him.

The team viewed Quinn as too similar to Carroll, per Pauline. Considering Quinn worked under Carroll in 2010 — after being added to the then-Jim Mora Jr.-led Seattle staff in ’09 — and then led the team’s defense from 2013-14, comparing Quinn to his former boss is understandable. The Seahawks led the NFL in scoring defense during both Super Bowl seasons under Quinn, and he reestablished his value with the Cowboys over the past three years. But he will be tasked with leading the Commanders now, as Macdonald is moving forward with assembling his Seahawks staff.

Quinn and Commanders front office boss Adam Peters informed Eric Bieniemy, following the team’s Kliff Kingsbury OC addition, he would not be retained. At this time last year, Bieniemy had been a Commanders target after five seasons as the Chiefs’ non-play-calling OC. Seeing HC interest decline in recent years and his first year as a play-calling OC produce a decline on offense in Washington, Bieniemy sits in limbo late in the hiring period.

The Seahawks should still be a team to watch in connection with Bieniemy, according to’s Adam Caplan, who connects the NFC West team to the veteran assistant for the OC job. The Seahawks have thus far been tied to new Alabama OC Ryan Grubb and Lions pass-game coordinator Tanner Engstrand for what will be a play-calling OC post. The Giants blocked the Hawks from interviewing OC Mike Kafka.

Bieniemy’s failure to land a head coaching job during his five-year run as Chiefs OC became one of this period’s defining coaching storylines. Bieniemy’s Washington departure also leaves the NFL with no Black offensive coordinators or offensive play-callers. This has been a longstanding issue for the league, even as four teams hired minority HCs during this year’s cycle. The three Black candidates hired — Antonio Pierce, Jerod Mayo, Raheem Morris — came from the defensive side. This pattern has shined a light on Bieniemy’s candidacy, but after the Commanders finished 25th in scoring offense and closed the season on an eight-game losing streak, their 2023 OC’s stock has dropped.

Additionally, the Seahawks will retain their defensive pass-game coordinator. Initially linked to following ex-Seattle DC Clint Hurtt to Philadelphia, Karl Scott will stay in Seattle, according to the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta. Scott has been the team’s DBs coach for the past two seasons, and while Condotta adds his role under Macdonald is unclear, the Seahawks will keep a Carroll assistant on that side of the ball.

The team is also hiring Kirk Olivadotti from the Packers, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. The son of former Dolphins DC Tom Olivadotti, Kirk has been an NFL assistant for most of the 21st century. Spending much of his career (16 years over two stints) with Washington, Olivadotti joined Macdonald on the Georgia Bulldogs’ staff from 2011-13. Olivadotti coached the Bulldogs’ linebackers in that span, while Macdonald was on the quality control level. After spending the past five seasons as the Packers’ ILBs coach, the 50-year-old assistant is expected to coach the Hawks’ linebackers.

Commanders Will Not Retain Eric Bieniemy

When news of the Commanders’ Kliff Kingsbury hire came out, questions were raised about the future of incumbent offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. An answer has emerged regarding the latter, and he will not be in Washington for the 2024 campaign.

Bieniemy will not be retained, new head coach Dan Quinn said at his introductory press conference. As a result, the longtime Chiefs OC will once again be on the move after a single campaign spent in the nation’s capital. Kingsbury was brought in on Sunday, and he will take charge of Washington’s offense. Quinn added that he and Bieniemy spoke earlier today, and the former offered well wishes for the latter in his next NFL opportunity.

Bieniemy spent 10 seasons under Andy Reid in Kansas City, including five as offensive coordinator. That gig did not involve play-calling duties, but he did take on a position which involved full control of the offense last offseason by joining the Commanders. The move from a unit led by Patrick Mahomes to one featuring Sam Howell at quarterback, a suspect offensive line and a skill-position corps lacking in proven options (aside from wideout Terry McLaurin) led to questions about how much success Bieniemy would be able to have in 2023.

On the other hand, Ron Rivera was widely seen as a lame-duck coach entering the campaign, giving Bieniemy a potential avenue to a head coaching opportunity. Rivera was indeed dismissed at the end of the season, and owner Josh Harris confirmed Bieniemy would be a candidate to replace him. The latter interviewed with Washington, but he was not among the team’s list of finalists, putting his own future in doubt.

Quinn is now officially in place, and the Commanders are prepared to move forward with new-look coaching and front office staffs. The team’s offense will likely have a new quarterback as its focal point by the start of next season, as the Commanders hold the No. 2 overall pick. Kingsbury’s hire has led to speculation Washington could make a push to select USC’s Caleb Williams (with whom Kingsbury worked this season), though drafting the former Heisman winner remains a likely move on the part of the Bears with the top pick in April’s draft.

Regardless of how Washington moves forward, Bieniemy will now become a late entrant on the coordinator scene. A number of teams have already filled their OC vacancies. That includes the Raiders, who had an agreement with Kingsbury fall through and have since tapped Luke Getsy to lead their offense. Presuming Greg Roman‘s new Chargers position is confirmed to be offensive coordinator, only the Seahawks remain amongst teams with an opening which has not at least reportedly been filled.

The Commanders ranked 24th and 25th in total and scoring offense, respectively, this season. Those totals paint a different picture than the one which was in place earlier in the season (Howell led the league in passing at one point), and they of course will not help Bieniemy’s stock. Given his track record with the Chiefs – whose offense struggled without him, particularly early in the campaign – however, he could find a landing spot relatively soon.

Kliff Kingsbury Now Leading Candidate For Commanders’ OC Job; Latest On Raiders’ Options

Quickly following news that the Raiders would not be closing the deal to make former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury their next offensive coordinator under now official head coach Antonio Pierce, rumors are circulating that Kingsbury is now the leading candidate for the same position in Washington, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. After spending 2023 as a senior offensive analyst at USC, Kingsbury’s return to the NFL seems inevitable at this point.

Two days ago, the NFL world was under the impression that Kingsbury would become the next offensive play-caller in Las Vegas. That story changed this morning with Kingsbury informing multiple people in the Raiders organization that he would not be joining the team. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, there was “a contractual hang-up” that prevented Kingsbury from following through on those initial reports, and as a result, the Commanders have swooped in, setting Kingsbury in their sights. Arizona Football Daily‘s Mike Jurecki adds that the Raiders offered a two-year contract, whereas Kingsbury was aiming for a three-year pact.

Washington makes sense for Kingsbury for a number of reasons. The Commanders recently landed on former Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their replacement for former head coach Ron Rivera. Quinn being a defensive coach puts the Commanders in a different situation than teams like the Titans or Panthers, whose offensive-minded head coaches will be calling plays over their respective offensive coordinators. Kingsbury will be handed the keys to a young offense, something he has experience with from his time in Arizona.

The Commanders also make sense because there seems to be a very real chance that the team could draft a former pupil of Kingsbury’s in USC quarterback Caleb Williams. Though Williams has long been rumored to be the No. 1 overall pick and the Commanders sit at No. 2, rumors have picked up recently that the Bears, who hold the top pick, will not be trading down. While that could mean Williams is headed to Chicago to try and displace Justin Fields as the starting quarterback, there have been an equal number of rumors stating that Williams wants nothing to do with the Bears, meaning he could slip down to No. 2 and end up a Commander being coached by his former mentor.

Kingsbury reportedly interviewed with the Commanders and Quinn recently, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, and though neither side seems to have settled on an agreement, both sides seem to be moving in the right direction.

As for Vegas, their search for their next play-caller under Pierce continues. UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, who had been a name to watch in Washington before this most recent news of Kingsbury’s prospects, and former Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy are names to watch, according to Jonathan Jones of NFL on CBS. Getsy was considered a top candidate for the position when Kingsbury was originally announced, and Kelly may shift focus to the Raiders if the Commanders do indeed shift theirs to Kingsbury.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN mentions that Las Vegas recently spoke to former Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, amounting to what could essentially be considered a coordinator exchange should Bieniemy land in Vegas and Kingsbury be hired in DC. He also mentions that the team spoke with former Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton but includes that Hamilton may just be in consideration for a position coaching job.

So, today’s breaking news from Vegas does create a bit of a shuffle, but both the Raiders and Commanders seem to have reacted quickly in the fallout. As a result, Washington could be closing in on their new play-caller, while Las Vegas continues to explore their options.

2024 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

The Commanders’ hire has wrapped this year’s cycle. Barring a team making an 11th-hour change, the 2024 HC carousel has come to a stop. The final breakdown produced five defensive coaches being hired compared to three with backgrounds on offense. Many teams are still searching for offensive and defensive coordinators, however.

Updated 2-1-24 (10:37am CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

  • Jerod Mayo, linebackers coach (Patriots): Hired

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Commanders Not Considering Adding Bill Belichick, Mike Vrabel To HC Search

Two Commanders HC candidates dropped out of the race Tuesday. Ben Johnson, the presumed favorite, informed the Commanders and Seahawks he would stay with the Lions. Bobby Slowik, who interviewed with Washington twice, is sticking with the Texans.

This could conceivably prompt the Commanders to expand their search. The Cardinals made this move last year midway through their search. Two big names remain available, in Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel. The Commanders have not interviewed either candidate, being rumored early during this year’s carousel spin to be steering clear of Belichick. That has not changed, per Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano, who adds no indications have surfaced that Vrabel will be an 11th-hour candidate.

Regarding Belichick, Vacchiano indicates the team is leery about the six-time Super Bowl winner’s age (72 in April) and status working alongside a football ops president (Adam Peters) who has roster control. Belichick operated as the de facto Patriots GM throughout his 24-year tenure, and personnel power was believed to be an issue for the Falcons, the only team to interview the coaching icon during this cycle. Although Belichick is a Maryland native, internal questions as to whether he would want to oversee a rebuild have also emerged.

The Commanders’ reasoning for avoiding Vrabel is less clear, but the six-year Titans HC — who had been mentioned for weeks as a trade asset — looks likely to join his former coach in being shut out this year. Vrabel, 48, is well regarded around the league. But he has not interviewed for either of the two remaining HC jobs. The Seahawks have been connected to being interested in Vrabel, but they are now well into their second interviews. It would appear Seattle has determined to look elsewhere as well.

After Johnson and Slowik dropped out, only one candidate with an offensive background — Eric Bieniemy — remains in the mix for the Washington job. The 2023 Commanders OC is not viewed as a serious HC candidate, according to Vacchiano. After Bieniemy’s failure to land a head coaching job became a lightning-rod NFL topic during his Kansas City run, only Washington interviewed him this time around. The team’s offense struggled down the stretch, finishing with an eight-game losing streak and worse rankings worse than it did during Scott Turner‘s final season calling the shots.

That said, some around the NFL have wondered if the Commanders are still gauging Bieniemy’s fit with the next coach as an OC, Vacchiano adds. It would surprise if Josh Harris were to saddle his next HC hire with the OC Ron Rivera brought in, but Bieniemy does bring considerable experience to the table. Regardless of his shortcomings in HC interviews, the five-year Chiefs OC worked as Andy Reid‘s right-hand man during one of the NFL’s prolific offensive stretches. It would not surprise to see Bieniemy become a candidate to keep his job, but ownership insisting on him staying seems unlikely.

Many in the NFL expected Peters to pursue an offense-oriented coach after seeing how Kyle Shanahan revived the 49ers, Vacchiano adds, noting the team is likely to draft a quarterback at No. 2 overall. As it stands now, a defense-geared coach will be mentoring Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels — should the Bears stay on course and select Caleb Williams atop the draft — in 2024, while Belichick and Vrabel ponder their next moves.

As of Wednesday, no more interviews are scheduled. The Seahawks are interviewing Mike Macdonald for a second time today, while Dan Quinn is also a candidate for the Seattle job. Here is how the Commanders’ search looks:

Commanders Conduct HC Interview With Eric Bieniemy

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.

[RELATED: Head Coaching Search Tracker]

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.

Commanders Request Interview With Mike Macdonald; Team To Consider Eric Bieniemy For HC Position

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’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.

Bears To Evaluate HC Matt Eberflus During Offseason; Team Interested In Eric Bieniemy?

The Bears have had an up-and-down season in Year 2 under head coach Matt Eberflus. As a result, his name has been floated as a candidate to be replaced this offseason, but it remains to be seen if the team’s front office will authorize a change.

Both Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles will be evaluated after the 2023 season, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports (subscription required). New president Kevin Warren has signficant sway in the team’s direction, and Russini notes he has spent his time in Chicago “getting a feel for the organization.” Warren will have a major say with respect to changes on the sidelines and in the front office, but the Eberflus-Poles pairing still has time to make a positive impression.

The Bears currently sit at 4-8 on the season, one in which improvement from last season’s tear-down campaign was expected. Chicago began the year with five losses out of the first six games, but a 3-3 record since then has likely helped the cause for Eberflus, Poles and quarterback Justin Fields to remain in their current positions. The latter could easily be replaced this spring given the Bears’ strong chance of owning the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft, but he appears to still have the backing of the team at this point.

Nevertheless, it would not come as a shock if Eberflus were to be let go after the campaign. In that event, a number of candidates would no doubt be on the team’s radar. One of those is Eric Bieniemy, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reports. The longtime Chiefs offensive coordinator took the OC position in Washington this offseason in a move which granted him play-calling duties and the added title of assistant head coach.

In the eyes of many, it also set Bieniemy up for his first NFL head coaching position in the event he were to remain with the Commanders in 2024 and beyond. Current head coach Ron Rivera is widely believed to be on the way out at the conclusion of this season, and Bieniemy’s work with respect to developing second-year passer Sam Howell has drawn praise. The Commanders rank 10th in the league in total offense despite a mediocre ground game, but the team’s defense has floundered in recent weeks in particular and resulted in a 4-9 record.

The Bears are in a similar position in the win-loss column, but improved play on defense – Eberflus’ familiarity dating back to his coordinator days – has been evident at times in recent games. Chicago ranks 11th in yards allowed per game this season (319) and first against the run (79). Eberflus has served as the defensive play-caller since the sudden resignation of DC Alan Williams in September. That move, along with the acquisition and extension of defensive end Montez Sweat, has not yielded a strong performance in the pass-rush department, however.

Eberflus and Poles were mentioned in a September report as being on the hot seat, but the former later expressed the support he had received from the organization. Plenty is still to be determined over the closing weeks of the season, but the Bears’ organizational direction will be a major storyline to watch upon the conclusion of the campaign. With the prospect of two top-10 picks in April’s draft, the team’s HC position could be an attractive one for Bieniemy if he were to find himself in consideration for the job, though he could also receive interest from other teams this offseason.