Overreaction No. 3: Eric Bieniemy played a bigger role than we thought
Chris Jones and Travis Kelce caught most of the attention for not suiting up, but there was one more person missing from the Chiefs sideline for the first time since 2013. Eric Bieniemy is now the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders. This is the first NFL season since 2010 not in Kansas City. The Chiefs won two Super Bowls during his tenure as offensive coordinator, but the Colorado alum rarely got credit for the Chiefs' offensive attack.
Now, fans might have seen what the Chiefs offense looks like without Bienemy.
Hear this out. It is well known that Bienemy was not calling plays for Kansas City. That responsibility rested on Andy Reid's shoulders. But he still played a big role in game planning against an opponent and served as a "conduit between Reid and Mahomes," in the words of Matt Verderame.
Whenever the offense sputtered, it was on Bienemy. When things went according to plan, it was Reid's genius. At least, that is how many Chiefs fans viewed the dynamic. His impact may not have been immense during the game itself, but the Chiefs loss this week was due to a lack of preparation and possibly one of urgency.
Reid is known for intense training camps, but Bienemy piles on the preparation for the season. He does so to a degree that caused frustration among Commanders players this offseason, according to head coach Ron Rivera. Bienemy sees no problem with that.
“We all got to get uncomfortable to get comfortable,” Bieniemy said. “There’s some new demands and expectations that I expect. I expect us to be the team that we’re supposed to be. It’s not going to be easy, and everybody isn’t going to like the process. But when it’s all said and done with, my job is to make sure that we’re doing it the right way.”
Dropping passes left and right is not the right way. Continually resorting to trick plays in short-yardage situations is not the right way. Lacking urgency in a one-score game to open the season is not the right way.
I did not give Bienemy's departure much thought when it happened. After all, the Chiefs offense was good under current coordinator Matt Nagy during his initial run. Plus, Reid knows what he is doing, right? But looking at how certain positions struggled at the basics on Thursday makes me think the Chiefs could use someone who coaches players the right way.