Commanders need to change coaches, give Eric Bieniemy a shot

Washington Commanders’ Potential Litmus Test for Eric Bieniemy

When the Washington Commanders hired Eric Bieniemy to run their offense, everyone knew what might happen if things went bad for the team this season.

Head coach Ron Rivera had yet to post a winning season with the Commanders heading into his fourth season. Washington had new ownership, and usually new ownership groups want their own coach. Bieniemy has been looking for a shot to be a head coach for a while. It wasn’t happening with the Kansas City Chiefs but there was a scenario in which Rivera would get fired and Bieniemy would get promoted.It’s time for Washington to give Bieniemy his long-awaited chance the rest of the season.

An utterly embarrassing 31-19 loss to the New York Giants should be it for Rivera in Washington. Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito, who looked miserable as an NFL quarterback before Sunday, carved up the Commanders on Sunday. He had three touchdown passes and no interceptions. It’s not Rivera’s fault the Commanders traded away pass rushers Montez Sweat and Chase Young, but it’s also looking like Rivera won’t be back for his fifth season. Washington is 4-7 after the home loss to a Giants team that had just two wins before Sunday.

Like a team giving a rookie quarterback a shot so it can tell if it needs to draft another QB in the offseason, the Commanders have enough time to figure out if Bieniemy has any promise as a head coach.

Sunday’s game wasn’t great for Bieniemy’s offense either, with way too many turnovers. The Commanders had a shot at the win but Howell threw a pick-six under pressure with 16 seconds left and that ended Washington’s chances to pull out a win. That was one of six Commanders turnovers. But overall this season, Howell’s development has been impressive. Howell led the NFL in passing yards before Sunday’s games, and he had cut down on the sacks he’d taken as well as his turnovers. That reflected well on Bieniemy.

Bieniemy was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs but couldn’t get a look as a head coach. It was viewed as an Andy Reid offense that was run by the incomparable Patrick Mahomes. Bieniemy needed to go a different route to get a head coaching shot. Going to Washington was risky, but also shrewd. Everyone knew that Rivera was on the hot seat. Bieniemy doing a good job running the offense but Washington being bad enough to potentially fire Rivera was a narrow runway to land on, but that’s practically what has happened. Bieniemy has been an intriguing candidate for a while. Washington can give him an audition and not ruin its season — because it’s already wrecked. Maybe Bieniemy won’t work out, but he has enough time left in the season to give Washington a clear idea of what he can be as a head coach. Rivera has had plenty of success as a head coach, but it’s probably time for Washington to try something else. And it’s time for Bieniemy to show what he can do.

Here are the rest of the winners and losers from Week 11 of the NFL season:


Brock Purdy: It’s getting clearer that when Purdy plays well, the San Francisco 49ers will be just about unbeatable.

C.J. Stroud, despite his worst day: The most impressive thing about Stroud’s rookie season before Sunday was that he never seemed to make mistakes. He had thrown only two interceptions.

Jordan Love: Maybe Love is working his way back into the Green Bay Packers’ circle of trust.

Jared Goff: He didn’t play well, but he did enough at the end to lead the Detroit Lions to a win. That’s all anyone will remember from Sunday’s game.


Will Levis: Hey, remember when Levis threw four touchdowns in his first start?The Tennessee Titans committed to Levis being their starter not long after he threw four TDs in his debut, even when Ryan Tannehill was ready to return from an ankle injury. And that was the right call, to get the second-round rookie a long look. But it hasn’t looked that good since Levis’ first game.

Frank Reich: The Carolina Panthers head coach took back the offensive playcalling duties this past week. When you do that, there aren’t many people left to blame.

The article was originally published by Yahoo! Sports

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