Chargers head coach candidates: Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy
As the Chargers search for a new head coach to replace Anthony Lynn, The Times will examine candidates the team plans to interview. This is third in series of appraisals of the contenders, along with thoughts from NFL writer Sam Farmer:
Current job: Offensive coordinator Kansas City Chiefs
Credentials: In three years as an NFL coordinator, Bieniemy’s offenses have finished in the top six leaguewide in points and yards every season. Twice the Chiefs have ranked No. 1 in total offense. Of course, since being promoted to coordinator, Bieniemy never has had a quarterback other than Patrick Mahomes. And head coach Andy Reid calls the plays.
Humble beginnings: Bieniemy, a former running back, had a nine-year NFL career that began in 1991 with the Chargers. He entered coaching as an assistant at Thomas Jefferson High in Denver before being hired as running backs coach at the University of Colorado, his alma mater.
Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, is among the potential candidates for the Chargers’ coaching job.
One man’s view: “If you see how our offense has produced over these last few years, he’s been one the most vital pieces of that. Obviously I want him to be here, but I understand that he deserves a chance to go out there and coach his own team and run his own organization. I mean, he’s a guy that will hold everybody in that organization accountable. He’s going to build the culture the right way.” — Mahomes, via the Kansas City Star
Did you know: Following his senior season at Colorado in 1990, Bieniemy finished third in voting for the Heisman Trophy behind Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer and Notre Dame receiver Raghib Ismail. Four months later, he was the third running back drafted — after Leonard Russell and Harvey Williams — when the Chargers took him in the second round with the 39th overall pick.
As the Chargers search for a new head coach, The Times will examine candidates the team plans to interview. Today: Tennessee Titans OC Arthur Smith.
Sam Farmer’s take: Kansas City has the league’s No. 1 offense and most dynamic quarterback in Mahomes, and Bieniemy has to be credited with at least some of that. The question is, where does Andy Reid’s influence end and Bieniemy’s begin? The people who stand by him are behind him 100%. Time and again, Bieniemy has been interviewed by teams, and every time those teams go elsewhere. Many see him as the embodiment of hiring inequities. But there are lingering questions about the impressions he has left in those interviews, and how effective he would be leading a team. He should have a chance to answer those questions soon, as he’ll likely wind up with a job somewhere in this hiring cycle.
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