With the Bill O’Brien era coming to an end on Monday, the Houston Texans must find a new head coach. And in order for Deshaun Watson to reach his potential, he desperately needs the Texans to hire the man who has helped turn Patrick Mahomes into the NFL’s biggest star.
While Andy Reid may be the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, his right-hand man, Eric Bieniemy, should get hired this offseason to run an NFL team of his own. But will the Texans pull the trigger on arguably the top head-coaching candidate in the league? Or will Jack Easterby harken back to his New England Patriots roots to find Houston’s next head coach?
Eric Bieniemy has helped turn Patrick Mahomes into an NFL superstar
Nobody would argue that Patrick Mahomes possesses rare physical abilities. However, the reigning Super Bowl MVP would not have achieved such early success without great coaching. Andy Reid may run the show, but Eric Bieniemy has quietly been the Chiefs’ secret weapon.
From 2013-2017, the 51-year-old served as the team’s running backs coach. Ironically, Mahomes took over as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback in Bieniemy’s first year as Kansas City’s offensive coordinator. The pair surpassed expectations with a record-setting season.
Mahomes won NFL MVP honors after leading the league with 50 touchdown passes. Bieniemy’s creative play designs led to some highly impressive scores by the Chiefs, who nearly made it to the Super Bowl with a first-year starter at quarterback.
In year two of the Mahomes-Bieniemy relationship, Kansas City’s offense once again torched defenses. In the playoffs, the NFL’s biggest star threw 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions thanks in large part to a savvy offensive coordinator who knew how to attack defenses and found ways to get the ball in the hands of the Chiefs’ most explosive playmakers.
Deshaun Watson desperately needs the Texans to hire Mahomes’ secret weapon
Unlike Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson has not had the benefit of great coaching since entering the NFL. Instead, he watched Bill O’Brien make a number of game-management and play-calling mistakes. To make matters worse, O’Brien’s personnel decisions gutted Houston’s NFL draft capital and took away Watson’s top weapon.
But now that the Texans have moved on from their disappointing head coach, the team desperately needs to hire Eric Bieniemy. After all, when you hand your quarterback a $160 million contract extension, it’s with the belief that he can lead your franchise to a Super Bowl title one day. And no head-coaching candidate represents a better fit for both Watson and the team than the Chiefs OC.
Like Mahomes, Watson offers a tantalizing skillset. He runs well and can throw on the move. He also has a strong arm that allows him to take deep shots to speedy receivers like Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks. Plus, Watson brings excellent leadership skills and maturity to the table.
The pairing of Bieniemy and Watson would give Houston terrifying potential on offense. The former’s creative play designs and experience working with Mahomes would give him a great chance of succeeding on his own. For Watson, collaborating with a coach who brings a Super Bowl pedigree and a fresh approach would allow him to reach his ceiling and put the painful, frustrating memories of the O’Brien era behind.
Will Houston pass over Bieniemy for a more familiar face?
On paper, the fit between Eric Bieniemy and Deshaun Watson seems like a no-brainer. However, Patrick Mahomes’ secret weapon could get passed over if Jack Easterby wants to bring two of his former Patriots colleagues to Houston.
The Texans executive spent six seasons in New England as the team’s character coach. During that time, he grew close with Josh McDaniels and Nick Caserio. McDaniels brings head coaching experience from his brief time with the Denver Broncos. He also nearly took over the Indianapolis Colts before Robert Kraft convinced him to remain in New England.
Caserio serves as the Patriots’ de facto general manager. The Texans actually tried to hire him to be their GM in 2019 before the Patriots filed tampering charges.
While Bieniemy deserves to be a head coach, he could face an uphill battle in beating out a candidate who Easterby knows well. Plus, the potential package deal of McDaniels and Caserio may entice Houston to move forward with the New England duo rather than the Kansas City OC.
Ultimately, we will have to wait until the offseason to find out who will become Houston’s next head coach. But if the the Texans want to ensure Deshaun Watson lives up to his deal, they desperately need to hire Eric Bieniemy.