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Falcons Rumors: Eric Bieniemy Had 'Strong Interview,' in Mix to Become Next HC

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2021

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy addresses the media during a news conference for Sunday's NFL AFC championship football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. The Chiefs will face the Tennessee Titans for the opportunity to advance to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy reportedly had a "strong interview" with the Atlanta Falcons about their head coaching vacancy.

A source told Steve Wyche of NFL.com on Saturday that Bieniemy was "prepared, knew everything about the team, had a great plan and is a bona fide candidate" for the Falcons after Monday's meeting. The source added Atlanta officials "absolutely refute" any reports it was a poor interview.

The update comes after Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Cory Woodroof of The Falcoholic) suggested the meeting didn't go well.

"[The Falcons] literally want to hire a Black coach," Wilson said on The A-Team radio show in Houston. "They would love for him to crush the interview. He did not crush the interview, and these teams care a lot about these interviews."

Bieniemy has emerged as a top head coaching candidate over the past couple of years since being elevated to Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2018. He spent the previous five years as the team's running backs coach as part of a 20-year career as an assistant.

The 51-year-old former NFL running back has received a full vote of confidence from Kansas City head coach Andy Reid.

"Well, listen, I think he's top-notch," Reid told reporters Monday. "At the risk of being redundant, I have not seen many guys that are as great a leader as he is of men. And in this business, that's huge. You're never going to have to worry about Eric Bieniemy, never—on the field, off the field."

The Chiefs' star-studded offense, fronted by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, has led the NFL in total yardage in two of the three years under Bieniemy's guidance (2018 and 2020). The season in between ended with K.C. winning the Super Bowl, and it's the favorite to defend that title to open this year's playoffs.

If hired by the Falcons, Bieniemy would inherit an offense that underperformed in 2020. The Matt Ryan-led group finished 18th in total offense (368.4 yards per game) and 16th in scoring offense (24.8 points per game).

Atlanta has also interviewed its own interim head coach, Raheem Morris, along with Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh as it looks to fill the void left by Dan Quinn, who was fired in October.

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