Since firing Bill O’Brien, the Houston Texans have interviewed or at least kicked the tires on a lot of head coaching candidates. Leslie Frazier, David Culley, Jim Caldwell, Marvin Lewis, Tim Kelly, Romeo Crennel, Joe Brady, and now Eric Bieniemy have all been asked to interview to fill the vacancy. Oh, and the Texans tried to interview Matt Eberflus, but he declined to be in the same room as #FireEasterby. Thankfully, they’ve also made it known they have no interest in hiring Josh McDaniels.
When the process first started, Eric Bieniemy was immediately tied to the Texans as their next potential head coach. Franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson came out and endorsed Bienemy publicly. At this point, there’s no valid reason why Houston shouldn’t offer Bieniemy the job, regardless of what they think they do or do not see in other candidates. In order to make this easier for the Texans, we’ve put together a handy-dandy list of reasons why new Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio needs to make this happen.
Bieniemy’s offenses take advantage of players with big play potential.
Under his watch, Adrian Peterson set the league record for rushing yards in a single game with 296. Prior to this, Peterson was a well of incredible potential who had major issues holding onto the ball. Under Bieniemy’s guidance, Peterson turned into a Hall of Fame back. Coming out of college, there were a number of question marks around Patrick Mahomes. Under Bieniemy, Patrick Mahomes looks like the greatest quarterback to enter the league since Tom Brady or Brett Favre and perhaps ever.
Bieniemy’s offenses score seven more points per game than Bill O’Brien’s did.
When you have a guy like Deshaun Watson throwing darts 40+ yards downfield to a guy like Will Fuller V but you only average 24.1 points per game, you should rapidly find yourself demoted to “snack mom” on the local intramural soccer team. If finding ways to put more than 24 points per game on the scoreboard with those two guys is a challenge, maybe slicing orange wedges is more your speed. In his three years with Kansas City, Bieniemy’s offense has averaged 31.0 points per game - the highest in the NFL over that span.
Bieniemy is one of the few candidates that can take Deshaun Watson next level.
Drafting players in the NFL is always a bit of a crapshoot. The combination of player will, coaching, system fit, surrounding talent, and dumb luck all coalesce over the course of a player’s career. Just as a guy like David Carr can have his career ruined by surrounding factors, when you have a guy like Watson doing what he’s doing in spite of the challenges swirling around him, you need to double down on that with excellent coaching (and a better system, surrounding talent, etc.). Bieniemy ticks all those boxes.
Bieniemy understands how a modern running game should function.
See the Adrian Peterson reference above. Bieniemy entered the league as a running back for the San Diego Chargers, smashing into the A-Gap with such passion it would make Bill O’Brien shed a tear of joy. Fortunately, Bieniemy understands that this isn’t 1991 and running schemes have evolved. He also understands how to create opportunities for a lethal, mobile quarterback to smoke a defense should all his receivers find themselves blanketed.
Bieniemy is well thought of in player circles.
Let’s face it, right now the whole #FireEasterby dumpster inferno has already or will scare off a large percentage of potential free agents who get to choose where they play in 2021. Knowing you can come to Houston and work under a Super Bowl winning coach who loves his players and reports to a general manager who has also won a Super Bowl will go a long way to shed the stank of Jack Easterby—even if Cal McNair doesn’t do the smart thing and ask for Jack’s resignation ASAP.
Bieniemy would instantly command respect in the Texans’ locker room.
Rumor has it the final straw for Bill O’Brien’s tenure in H-Town was losing the locker room. Openly disrespecting players like J.J. Watt in front of the team will do that. Bieniemy isn’t that guy. Sure, he has the same level of fire B’OB had, but he’s smart enough to aim it at the opponent, not his own team. Players see that, respect that, and having him on site would go a lot further to fixing the Texans’ culture than Easterby ever did.
Bieniemy is a leader of men.
Winners follow winners. Bieniemy was the nation’s second leading rusher coming out of high school. He came in third in the Heisman Trophy voting and left the Colorado Buffaloes as the all-time leading rusher in school history. He played in the Super Bowl in 1994 and coached in the Super Bowl in 2019. You don’t do those things unless you know how to win.
Men follow other men. Men don’t follow boys, followers, cronies, or people otherwise unworthy of respect. Bieniemy is a winner and a leader of men. For a team that’s suffered as much shared trauma as the Texans have over the last few years, it will take a real leader, a feral winner, to step in and put all that in the past and set the line where the future begins and the past is left behind. Bieniemy can do that.
Bieniemy has been in big games and worked through the fire.
When the Minnesota Vikings played the New Orleans Saints in the now infamous “Bountygate Bowl”, where Brett Favre was cheap-shotted and hit late so many times by Saints defenders he had one continuous bruise from his ankle to his shoulder, Bieniemy rallied the running backs. Iif Adrian Peterson hadn’t fumbled (yes, there’s the bug that bit him early and often), the Vikings would have won that game. and advanced to the Super Bowl.
Fast forward to the 2019 season. The Kansas City Chiefs fall behind by 24 points early to the Houston Texans. Instead of giving up, Bieniemy went to the same well and manufactured arguably the greatest playoff exhibition of offensive firepower ever seen in NFL history. Sadly, it came at Houston’s expense.
Bieniemy is Deshaun Watson’s pick to lead the team.
When you have a guy like Deshaun Watson on your team, locked into a good contract, and he voices a desire to have Bieniemy as the head coach, you make it happen. ‘Nuff said.
Bieniemy does not “waste players’ careers.”
Imagine a team with Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Arian Foster, Duane Brown and Deshaun Watson, all coached by Eric Bieniemy—it would be a team built in a custom Madden Franchise mode. This guy gets the most out of his players and doesn’t view them as assets added to his ledger. Just ask Patrick Mahomes.
That’s ten reasons why Houston should quit screwing around and hire Bieniemy the moment the Chiefs exit the postseason. If they don’t, we can all expect the horrors of the 2021 offseason to linger for years to come.
If that’s not enough, here’s a bonus reason: