Philadelphia got a late start to its coaching search this offseason, but the Eagles are making up for lost time by interviewing candidates en masse. The Birds’ growing list of candidates includes Todd Bowles, Joe Brady, Jerod Mayo, Kellen Moore and Duce Staley (the leading in-house option to replace Doug Pederson), who were all brought in for interviews this week. The Eagles are also looking forward to sit-downs with longtime Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Brandon Staley (whose Rams are facing the Packers as we speak) and Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, the latter name reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Saturday.
Like Staley, Bieniemy can’t be hired until his team is eliminated from the postseason. A former NFL running back, Bieniemy spent one season of his nine-year playing career in Philadelphia, backing up the aforementioned Duce Staley in 1999. The 51-year-old has interviewed for every available coaching job this offseason, though surprisingly he wasn’t chosen for openings in Detroit (Dan Campbell), New York (Robert Saleh), Atlanta (Arthur Smith), Jacksonville (Urban Meyer) or Los Angeles (the Chargers are expected to hire Brian Daboll once the Bills conclude their postseason run).
Bieniemy’s failure to secure a head-coaching position has fueled a larger discussion on race and the NFL’s problematic “Rooney Rule,” requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate. Minorities comprise just four of the NFL’s current 32 head coaches (Saleh, Brian Flores, Mike Tomlin and Ron Rivera). Houston’s reluctance, at least initially, to interview Bieniemy has reportedly led to tension between the team and star quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Bieniemy has earned rave reviews since being promoted to offensive coordinator (the result of Matt Nagy leaving to coach Chicago in 2018), overseeing the league’s top offense during that span. Patrick Mahomes said earlier this week it would be “crazy” if another hiring cycle passed without Bieniemy landing his long-awaited head-coaching opportunity.
Some wondered if Philadelphia might shy away from Bieniemy after how things ended with Pederson—another Chiefs alum and Andy Reid protégé—but luckily, the Eagles aren't holding that against him.