Eric Bieniemy

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers’ hire, this year’s vacancy count sits at four. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-26-23 (4:36pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Commanders, Ravens Interested In Eric Bieniemy For OC

A key talking point each January, Eric Bieniemy‘s head coaching candidacy has tapered off in recent years. Despite Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson landing HC jobs from Andy Reid‘s Chiefs staff, Bieniemy has been stuck at the coordinator level. Only one team — the Colts — has interviewed him for its HC post this year.

Others remain interested in the five-year Chiefs OC for a lateral move. The Commanders and Ravens are the latest rumored to want an OC meeting with Bieniemy, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. The Indianapolis HC path remains in play for Bieniemy, but similar avenues have repeatedly closed for the longtime Reid lieutenant over the past several years.

The Commanders and Ravens jobs are not classified as lateral moves, since each position would come with full play-calling responsibilities. Thus, the Chiefs cannot block Bieniemy from an interview. Reid has been Kansas City’s primary play-caller throughout his 10-year Missouri stay, and the top-tier HC receives the bulk of the credit for Patrick Mahomes submitting arguably the greatest early-career resume in quarterback history. Bieniemy has been Kansas City’s OC throughout Mahomes’ run as the team’s starter, but after extensive interest emerged early during his time in this job, the league has cooled on him.

Bieniemy, 53, signed an extension with the Chiefs last year and has not been closely connected to other OC jobs prior to this month. It would be bring somewhat of a risk to leave the Reid-Mahomes infrastructure the Chiefs provide, but Bieniemy having success as a play-caller could also finally break down the door to a top job. Ex-Chiefs QBs coach Mike Kafka is now on the HC radar, after becoming the Giants’ play-caller. Mahomes is ticketed to win a second MVP award and has powered the Chiefs to a fifth straight AFC championship game, doing so this time without Tyreek Hill.

Washington has seen multiple options — Jim Caldwell and Darrell Bevellturn down the chance to interview. Ron Rivera‘s hot-seat status also complicates this season, since the OC role has a greater chance of being a one-and-done here than it does in most places. Many around the league expect, for this reason, the Commanders to promote quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese to replace Scott Turner, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Baltimore has also begun its interviews to replace Greg Roman. While Bieniemy, Frank Reich and Byron Leftwich have been linked to the position, none has been confirmed as an interviewee just yet.

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spins, many of the league’s offensive and defensive coordinator positions are open as well. Teams seeking new head coaches will soon begin OC and DC searches — some have already started those processes — but a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

The Browns and Patriots have begun 2023’s coordinator hires. Here are the rest of the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 1-26-23 (10:06pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Carolina Panthers 

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

Jim Irsay Still Pushing For Jeff Saturday Hire; Eric Bieniemy, Raheem Morris In Mix

The Colts lost seven of their final eight games, finishing 4-12-1. The team had not lost seven games to close out a campaign since its inaugural season in 1953. But Jim Irsay still looks to be pushing to keep Jeff Saturday, the interim head coach he stunned the NFL by hiring in November.

Saturday is going through his second interview Wednesday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, who adds as many as seven candidates will advance to the second round of interviews (Twitter link). That list includes Ejiro Evero, and ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano tweets Rams DC Raheem Morris will receive an in-person meeting. The Colts held virtual interviews with 13 candidates — the most of any HC-seeking team this year — but Irsay was not involved in those sessions. He will be there for the second interviews.

Irsay said in November he hoped Saturday would stay on as a full-time HC, and although no team has made an interim coach a full-time hire since the Jaguars removed Doug Marrone‘s interim tag in 2017, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson notes Irsay is still pushing for Saturday. More pushback has emerged, however. Just as Irsay confidants attempted to dissuade him from hiring Saturday two months ago, Anderson adds (via Twitter) those close to the owner are again attempting to convince him Saturday is the wrong choice.

Indianapolis should also be expected to meet with Eric Bieniemy and special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone for a second time. Each remains in the mix, Graziano adds, though no second interviews with either have been scheduled. Bieniemy has generated extensive OC interest around the league, being connected to open jobs and likely on the radar for some that will soon be available, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes the longtime Chiefs OC is focused on potential HC gigs. Only the Colts, however, have interviewed him for their job.

Some around the league believe this will come down to Bieniemy or Saturday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk adds. Considering the backlash both the Saturday hire and Bieniemy’s extended time on the HC carousel have each generated, the Colts choosing Saturday in that instance would create more controversy.

Andy Reid has been the Chiefs’ primary play-caller since 2013, and while Bieniemy has been labeled as a poor interviewer at points during his long run as Reid’s right-hand man, the fifth-year OC has been in place in this role throughout Patrick Mahomes‘ QB1 stay. Considering Mahomes is about to win a second MVP award and will do so after the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill, that should reflect well on Bieniemy. Judging by the Arizona, Carolina, Denver and Houston searches, however, teams are not closely connecting the Reid lieutenant to such success. Bieniemy and Colts GM Chris Ballard worked together during the latter’s time in the Chiefs’ front office, though Fowler adds the Saturday-Irsay relationship continues to loom over this process.

Ballard ran the first set of Colts HC interviews, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes, adding that Carlie Irsay-Gordon (Jim’s daughter) has played a key role throughout this process as well. Ballard attempted to talk Irsay out of the Saturday hire in November and admitted as much this month. It should be expected the seventh-year GM will keep pushing for a different hire, but Irsay obviously will make the final call. This process should drag into next week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (video link).

Saturday promised extensive changes if he were to land the full-time job. He offered ex-Frank Reich staffers Scott Milanovich and Scottie Montgomery OC duties, but each turned down the job. That led to assistant quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier receiving the opportunity. The Colts started three QBs during Saturday’s stay (Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Sam Ehlinger) but only won one game under interim coach. The team’s NFL-record collapse in Minnesota and other shaky performances did not exactly give Saturday momentum coming out of the season. If Irsay bucks staffers’ advice and goes in this direction again, it would make for one of the most interesting decisions in coaching history.

Ravens Request OC Interview With Vikings’ Brian Angelichio

The Ravens continue to cast a wide net in search of their new offensive play caller. In addition to considering Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson, Browns wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, and Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales, Baltimore has requested to interview Vikings passing game coordinator and tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Angelichio has been a tight ends coach in the league since 2012 when he followed Greg Schiano from Rutgers to the Buccaneers. Since then, he’s had some bad luck finding head coaches who have stayed in their jobs long term, bouncing around to Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington, and Carolina before his most recent position in Minnesota. Angelichio joined the Vikings’ staff this year with first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell, who granted him the new added moniker of passing game coordinator.

Angelichio has a few notable coaching performances on his resume. In 2015, he coached veteran tight end Gary Barnidge to a career 1,043-yard season in which he caught nine touchdowns. He’s also coached some of the NFL’s best recent tight ends, overseeing Jimmy Graham with the Packers as well as Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis in Washington. With Angelichio as passing game coordinator, the Vikings ranked fifth in the NFL in passing yards gained and tied for fourth in the league in passing touchdowns this year.

Angelichio has now had his name added to the ever-growing list of candidates to become the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator, alongside Robinson, O’Shea, and Canales. Fowler added that there are a number of other names he’s hearing as potential candidates including former Colts head coach Frank Reich, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

In addition to the many outside candidates, the Ravens also have at least two in-house candidates in wide receivers coach Tee Martin and quarterbacks coach James Urban. Martin is a recent addition to the NFL coaching ranks, joining the Ravens in 2021 after years as a passing game coordinator and play caller for multiple Power 5 programs in college football. Urban has been with the team since 2018, coaching Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson since his rookie season. He’s never called plays, but he’s been in the NFL since 2004 and worked alongside Ravens head coach John Harbaugh for much of that time.

Baltimore is doing its due diligence with its search for a new offensive play caller. The team has doubled down on their intent to center the offense around Jackson, going as far as to allow him as much input into the coaching search as possible. Angelichio becomes one of many names for Jackson, Harbaugh, and company to consider.

Titans Request OC Interviews With Eric Bieniemy, Matt Nagy

The Titans have a vacancy at offensive coordinator after firing Todd Downing, and two candidates for the post have emerged. As Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports, Tennessee has requested permission to interview Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and senior assistant/QBs coach Matt Nagy (Twitter link).

Bieniemy, of course, has been a fixture on the head coaching interview circuit in recent years. He has been unable to land an HC gig as of yet, and while he recently interviewed for the Colts’ head coaching position, it does not appear that the four other clubs who are in need of a new bench boss have him on their shortlist.

Since being promoted from running backs coach to offensive coordinator in 2018 — the year that Patrick Mahomes became the Chiefs’ starting quarterback — Bieniemy’s offense has never finished worse than sixth in either yards per game or points per game. Kansas City finished first in both categories in 2022 en route to the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

Many reasons have been floated for the 53-year-old’s inability to land an HC job, including his race — Bieniemy is Black — and unimpressive interviews. From an on-field perspective, it could be that other teams believe head coach Andy Reid and Mahomes have been more critical to KC’s offensive output over the past five years than Bieniemy, especially given Reid’s significant influence in the offense’s design and execution (though former QBs coach/passing game coordinator Mike Kafka earned a promotion in 2022, when he joined Brian Daboll‘s first staff as the Giants’ offensive coordinator).

Perhaps having success outside of the Reid/Mahomes shadow would give Bieniemy a better chance to secure a head coaching post, although a lack of success in a new setting would obviously damages his HC prospects. The Titans, who have an uncertain quarterback situation, who are presently light on skill-position talent outside of running back Derrick Henry, and who are in the midst of a GM search following Jon Robinson‘s surprising ouster, may not give Bieniemy the best chance to pad his resume. Indeed, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter) that Bieniemy remains focused on HC opportunities.

Nagy, meanwhile, was able to parlay his efforts as the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator under Reid into a head coaching job with the Bears in 2018. After a successful first season in Chicago, Nagy’s outfits struggled over his next three years on the sidelines, and he was fired at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign. Nagy has been mentioned as a name to watch in the Jets’ present OC search, and there have also been reports that he could one day succeed Reid as Kansas City’s head coach.

Per Anderson, Nagy has yet to confirm Tennessee’s request.

Colts Interview Eric Bieniemy For HC Job

A big name has been added to the list of Colts head coaching candidates. Owner Jim Irsay announced on Twitter that the Colts have completed an interview with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

This is a sudden development in the organization’s head coaching search, but not a particularly surprising one. Zak Keefer of The Athletic tweets that the Colts have been “digging” on Bieniemy over the past few days.

A fixture on head-coaching carousels in recent years, Bieniemy has been unable to land a top job. The coordinator was connected to all seven head coaching vacancies during the 2021 campaign, but he only interviewed for two gigs (Saints, Broncos) in 2022. Now, after years of interviewing for a head coach job, Bieniemy has secured only his first interview of the year.

A Chiefs assistant throughout Andy Reid‘s nine-year tenure, Bieniemy has been the team’s OC throughout Patrick Mahomes‘ QB1 run. A report indicated that the 2021 season was somewhat trying for Bieniemy mentally, and the prospect of sitting out 2022 or returning to the college ranks emerged. He ultimately decided to stick in Kansas City, and despite the loss of wideout Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs offense still managed to lead the NFL in points and yards.

Bieniemy would be a logical fit in Indianapolis, where the Colts are looking for a head coach to replace Frank Reich and (potentially) interim HC Jeff Saturday. As ESPN’s Stephen Holder tweets, the coach has “strong ties” to Colts general manager Chris Ballard dating back to their time in Kansas City.

As our 2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker shows, the growing list of known and potential Colts head coaching candidates includes:

Panthers’ Post-Rhule Fallout: Termination, Replacement, Trades

The NFL news circuit was set ablaze today when news broke of the firings of Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. The termination of Rhule was not necessarily a surprise, as he’s been firmly on the hot seat all year and the possibility of firing Rhule had been discussed “well before” today, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, but it did create a newsworthy fallout of information that is of interest to those who follow the sport.

Many have talked about the contract implications of Rhule’s termination, alluding to the millions of dollars still remaining on his contract. While it’s completely applicable to Rhule’s situation, it doesn’t sound like it is a concern to Carolina. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted out that “Carolina is on the hook for this season, but the salaries for the ensuing seasons are offset by what his future college job pays him.” Essentially, Rhule will absolutely get his guaranteed money, but the onus won’t be on Carolina to pay it. Whenever Rhule, who is presumed to be a top college coaching candidate for next year, gets another job, his salary from the new school will offset the amount the Panthers owe him.

It was also announced that Panthers defensive passing game coordinator & secondary coach Steve Wilks will sub in as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The defensive-minded former head coach of the Cardinals has apparently already begun to make the team his own. When Panthers owner David Tepper was asked why Snow was fired, he reportedly pointed the finger at Wilks, telling reporters to direct that question to the interim head coach, according to ESPN’s David Newton.

Here are a few more fallout items from today, starting with some ideas on Rhule’s replacement:

  • The biggest nugget to come out of today concerning Carolina is that, as most NFL executives expected Rhule to lose his job, many in league circles are expecting the Panthers to start dealing veteran assets in an attempt to accrue draft capital that might make the head coaching position more attractive, according to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. The Panthers currently only hold four draft picks for 2023: first-, second-, fourth-, and fifth-round picks, supporting the idea that trading away veterans could improve their current situation. Trading away veterans with expensive contracts, such as star running back Christian McCaffrey or wide receiver Robbie Anderson, could prove troublesome, according to La Canfora, so the Panthers are reportedly willing to eat some of those salaries in order to facilitate moving those assets. Early reports claimed that the Bills have reached out about McCaffrey and that they did in the offseason, as well, according to Person, but Tom Pelissero of NFL Network clarified that, while every team will be calling about McCaffrey, the Panthers haven’t engaged in any trade talks yet. In addition to McCaffrey and Anderson, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports expects wide receiver D.J. Moore, defensive end Brian Burns, and defensive tackle Derrick Brown to be on the table.
  • Jeff Howe of The Athletic posed the question today of who might replace Rhule and offered quite a few suggestions. Howe started the list with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn who took the Falcons to the Super Bowl as head coach in 2016. Next, he mentioned 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Ryans interviewed for the Vikings’ job this offseason and was expected to interview for the Raiders’, as well. The 38-year-old has rocketed up coaching boards since retiring as a player in 2015. Another name mentioned was Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon who also interviewed for the Vikings last year, in addition to the Texans and Broncos. Howe went into great detail on every candidate, seeming to list anybody who may be up for a head coaching job in the next few seasons. His list included former NFL head coaches including the retired Sean Payton, Steelers senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, as well as the current interim head coach, Wilks. Other serious candidates Howe mentioned were Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, and Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. The list essentially devolved into an article about anybody who may make the jump to NFL head coach in the next few seasons, pointing out “wait and see” candidates such as Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, and Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
  • One interesting name that came out of today’s rumors was former Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly. Joe Person of The Athletic advised that an eye be kept on Kuechly, who remains close with Wilks and new defensive coordinator Al Holcomb, to come back in some capacity. After retiring from a pro scout position last year, Kuechly has been working as an analyst on Panthers radio broadcasts.

Chiefs To Retain OC Eric Bieniemy

Eric Bieniemy‘s status with the Chiefs briefly entered murky territory, with the longtime Kansas City offensive coordinator’s contract expiring. The sides will continue to work together, according to NFL.com’s Jeffri Chadiha, who tweets Bieniemy will be back for a fifth season as Chiefs OC.

Bieniemy agreed to a one-year extension with the Chiefs, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. A Chiefs assistant throughout Andy Reid‘s nine-year tenure, Bieniemy has been the team’s OC throughout Patrick Mahomes‘ QB1 run.

A fixture on head-coaching carousels in recent years, Bieniemy has been unable to land a top job. This year, interest was not as widespread; only the Broncos and Saints interviewed the veteran Reid lieutenant. Bieniemy, 52, was not a finalist for the Denver job, and New Orleans went with an in-house promotion (Dennis Allen). As a result, the Chiefs will once again ensure continuity.

For the first time in Bieniemy’s Kansas City OC stint, some doubt surfaced about his role. A report indicated the 2021 season was somewhat trying for Bieniemy mentally and the prospect of sitting out 2022 or returning to the college ranks emerged. Bieniemy’s inability to secure a head-coaching job has been a lightning-rod topic for a bit now. Given the Chiefs’ performance on offense over the past four seasons, Bieniemy should not have been expected to be readying for a fifth year as K.C.’s OC. Reid promoted Bieniemy from running backs coach to OC in 2018, after Matt Nagy became the Bears’ head coach. Nagy followed Doug Pederson in being a Reid OC to land a coaching job.

The Reid-Mahomes-Bieniemy partnership has delivered one of the NFL’s all-time great aerial attacks, with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill having a significant say in the Chiefs’ success as well. Kansas City’s offense hit a bit of a road block this year around the midseason point, but the team still ended the season in the top five in total offense and points scored.

The Chiefs have boasted a top-six offense in each year of Bieniemy’s OC stay, though Reid being the team’s primary play-caller has undoubtedly affected Bieniemy’s chances of being hired as a head coach elsewhere. Kansas City is also coming off a shocking ending to its season, which featured Cincinnati erase an 18-point deficit in the AFC championship game.

Latest On Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy

We learned earlier this week that Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, who is set to become a coaching free agent, is not a lock to return to Kansas City. This morning, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported that Bieniemy and KC head coach Andy Reid will soon sit down to discuss Bieniemy’s future with the club.

Bieniemy, 52, spent the 2013-17 seasons as the Chiefs’ RB coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2018. That, of course, was the year that Patrick Mahomes became the team’s full-time starter at quarterback, and as a result of Kansas City’s tremendous offensive success over the past four seasons, Bieniemy has become a popular figure on the head coaching interview circuit.

Still, he has yet to land a head coaching post, and although he has publicly said all of the right things about that reality, it could be starting to weigh on him. Schefter suggests that the 2021 season, which ended with a devastating loss in the AFC Championship Game and which was capped by more HC interviews that did not lead to HC jobs, was mentally and physically draining for Bieniemy. The ESPN scribe adds that Bieniemy has considered returning to the college ranks — he served as Colorado’s OC for two years before joining the Chiefs and was connected to the USC head coaching post earlier this year — listening to other offers, or even taking the 2022 season off entirely.

The Chiefs almost certainly want him back, however. He does not call the team’s offensive plays, but Kansas City has never been out of the top-six in terms of points per game or yards per game under his stewardship, and former QB coach Mike Kafka, who would have represented a potential replacement, was recently hired as the Giants’ new offensive coordinator.