The Detroit Lions should still be considering Eric Bieniemy for their head coaching vacancy.
While many of us have become fixated on the potential hire of local product Robert Saleh to become the next head coach of the Detroit Lions, we can’t discount the idea of hiring Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
Now, plenty of us became deflated after hearing that Marvin Lewis will be strongly considered for the position. Lewis is not exactly a bad coach, but more of a safe hire. Lewis is the definition of security. The 62-year old Lewis held the position of head coach with the Bengals for 16 straight seasons. That is essentially a lifetime in NFL terms.
Although Lewis produced a 131-122-3 career record, he failed to win a single playoff game going 0-7 in seven chances. Sound familiar? The Detroit Lions fired Jim Caldwell after back-to-back 9-7 seasons, understanding he previously guided Detroit to an 11-5 season only to lose a Wild Card game to Dallas that had been filled with controversy.
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Now I’m not going down this ‘Caldwell-well’ again, but the point I’m trying to get across here is that the Detroit Lions already had their ‘Marvin Lewis’ in Caldwell. If it was not good enough the first time around, why are they considering it again? The Detroit Lions need to make a splash-hire and take a chance on a coach that moves the needle. Lewis is the ‘safe’ hire, but it’s time to swing for the fences with either Saleh or Bieniemy.
Hiring Bieniemy may not only be great for the Detroit Lions but perhaps a last-ditched effort to keep quarterback Matthew Stafford around.
There is plenty of speculation surrounding Stafford and if he is willing to go through yet another regime change with the Detroit Lions. Stafford will be 33-years old heading into next season. After finishing the last four seasons injured, he may prefer to move elsewhere in hopes of winning a championship rather than spend another three years once again building from the ground up.
In Detroit, Bieniemy will have an abundance of offensive weapons at his disposal, starting with D’Andre Swift out of the backfield and T.J. Hockenson at the tight end position.
The Kansas City offense is built around Patrick Mahomes’ ability, but before Mahomes exploding onto the scene, Alex Smith excelled in this Andy Reid offense. It’s difficult to compare the two, but the Lions have pieces in place to emulate that Kansas City offense. Stafford may not be Mahomes, but he certainly has the arm talent to deliver the football at an elite level and deep down the field if the offense surrounds him with the correct talent to model the scheme.
Mahomes recommended Bieniemy to his friend Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans, who led the NFL in passing during the 2020 season. Watson expected the franchise to at least interview the Cheifs offensive coordinator; they did not, sparking an abundance of speculation about Watson’s future with the franchise.
Hockenson is trending towards being the ‘Travis Kelce’ of Detroit’s offense and Swift has proven to be a dual-threat running back similar to Brian Westbrook or Kareem Hunt in an Andy Reid offense.
One thing lacking in Detroit is a Tyreek Hill-type talent. Kenny Golladay is a special player but does not have a similar skill-set to Hill (who does?). This makes the potential of drafting DeVonte Smith seventh overall extremely exciting.
Kansas City produced the leagues’ top offense in 2020, totaling 6,653 total yards; over 300 yards ahead of Buffalo and Tennessee, who tied for second. Kansas City produced the fifth-best offense in 2019 totaling 6,067 total yards, and the top offense in 2018, amassing a whopping 6,810 total yards. That is massive offensive production over the course of the last three seasons, with Bieniemy holding the title of offensive coordinator.
If the Detroit Lions were to hire Bieniemy and pair him with the players mentioned, perhaps he’d be the best option to right the ship here in Motown.