ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) Eric Bieniemy had better learn to ration his booming voice.
It was one thing when the running back-turned-assistant coach could spend an entire 3-hour practice barking at the running backs, a handful of players under his direct supervision. Its quite another now that hes in charge of dozens of players on the Kansas City Chiefs offense.
But that in-your-face intensity is also a big reason why Bieniemy has quickly risen through the coaching ranks, from running backs coach at his alma mater, Colorado, to offensive coordinator in the NFL.
So dont expect him to turn the volume down anytime soon.
”The biggest thing Coach Bieniemy will bring to our offense is his intensity,” said Chiefs running back Spencer Ware, who has worked closely under him the past couple seasons. ”If you look at his resume and the players hes coached and the way they play football, each and every play they get out there on the field – having an entire offense with that same mentality is pretty exciting.”
Pretty intimidating, too.
Bieniemy carries a presence on the practice field that looms much larger than his stout frame. When he speaks, people listen – mostly because the volume is so high.
Quite frankly, its hard to ignore.
”I just joked with him out here, hes having to walk around now. He isnt coaching just one position,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ”He has to grind on everybody. That takes a little bit of getting used to. He did a nice job of figure all that during minicamps and that.”
Reid has always thought highly of Bieniemy, who joined his initial staff as the running backs coach in Kansas City. But the fact that he elevated Bieniemy to offensive coordinator after watching Matt Nagy take over the head job in Chicago speaks volumes about Reids belief in his assistants ability.
Never before has he had an offensive coordinator who played anything but quarterback.
There was Rod Dowhower in the early years in Philadelphia, and Brad Childress and Marty Mornhinweg had backgrounds with the most mentally demanding position on the field. Doug Pederson became Reids first offensive coordinator in Kansas City before taking the Eagles top job and parlaying some of what he learned during his time with the Chiefs into a Super Bowl title this past season.
It makes sense, too. The quarterback is the only player on offense who must know everybodys job on every play. Thats why so many of them successfully transition to coaching.
Bieniemy has shown a similar aptitude, though. The Chiefs have always used their running backs in the passing game, so hes had a hand in that part of the scheme, and his success in helping Kareem Hunt go from unheralded and overlooked draft pick to NFL rushing champion was hard to ignore.
”He brings a certain detail to the offense that I think that we really need,” first-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes II said, ”and its something that he stays detailed and he stays on you and he makes sure youre doing the right things, and I feel like itll help me a ton as this year goes along.”
Over time, Pederson and Nagy were given carte blanche with the offense, and theres a good chance Bieniemy will earn that latitude as well. But for now, hell work hand-in-hand with Reid and quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka in orchestrating what could be one of the leagues top offenses.
In other words, theyve also given Bieniemy the tools necessary to succeed.
”This is actually a unique position because I get to touch every position on the offensive side of the ball,” he said. ”Its a unique situation to be in.”
NOTES: The Chiefs released WR Elijah Marks and signed DT Mike Purcell. … Hunt did individual work but was held out of team drills Friday to rest his hamstring, which bothered him during the summer. … LB Reggie Ragland (knee), CB Ashton Lampkin (knee) and FS Armani Watts (ankle) did not practice.
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