Another head-coaching hiring cycle has come and gone in the NFL and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was shut out again.
Bieniemy interviewed with six of the seven teams that hired new coaches, including the Jets. But he did not get a job again, something that has put a spotlight on minority hiring in the NFL. Bieniemy oversees an offense that leads the NFL in scoring (31 points per game), yards (406.9 per game) and yards per play (6.45) over his three years in the position.
On Tuesday, Bieniemy said he is focused on his current job. His Chiefs are in the Super Bowl for the second straight season. He must solve the Buccaneers defense.
“I did not ask to be the poster boy of this particular situation that I have experienced,” Bieniemy said. “At the end of the day, the only thing that you want to do is be recognized with all the things that you’ve accomplished, and for whatever reason that has not happened. That’s OK, because the only thing I know what to do is to just go back to work and continue chopping wood.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid calls the offensive plays, which has been cited as a reason Bieniemy has been passed over. But his two predecessors in the job — Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson — both got head-coaching jobs. Reid has pushed for a team to hire Bieniemy.
“I don’t understand everything, I am not an owner, I don’t sit in those meetings to interview head coaches,” Reid said. “Whoever gets him whenever they get him, they will be very lucky.”
Mahomes: ‘Close to 100 percent’
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes suffered a toe injury in the divisional round against the Browns. He returned to play in the AFC Championship game, overcoming the toe and the concussion he suffered against the Browns, Now, Mahomes said the toe is “pretty close to 100 percent” as he prepares for Sunday’s game.
Arians’ mother will be in crowd
Bucs coach Bruce Arians’ face lit up Tuesday when he revealed his 95-year-old mother, Kay, will be able to attend Super Bowl LV in Tampa.
“She lives in her apartment with her best friend Debbie, her caretaker,’’ Arians said. “We’re flying her down, my brothers and sisters that are coming and doing everything we can to make sure she is safe from COVID to have a great time at the Super Bowl.’’
Giants’ loss is Bucs’ gain
Back in August, Ross Cockrell visited with the Giants and all indications were he was about to sign, as the Giants were short on cornerbacks with the opt-out of Sam Beal and legal troubles for DeAndre Baker.
Cockrell, 29, played in all 16 games for the Giants in 2017 for a different coaching staff and spent the 2019 season with the Panthers, where he was a teammate of James Bradberry. The Giants made Bradberry their big-ticket free agent in 2020.
However, a deal with Cockrell fell apart when financial terms could not be agreed upon. Cockrell was signed to the Buccaneers’ practice squad and ended up playing in 12 games, filling a variety of roles. Arians mentioned the signings of TE Rob Gronkowski, RB Leonard Fournette and WR Antonio Brown and then added, “Ross Cockrell has been one of the best pickups we’ve had the entire season.’’
It did not turn out terribly for the Giants, though, as they moved on from Cockrell by eventually signing Logan Ryan.
Tampa has ‘bonus’ practice
The Bucs had what Arians called a “bonus’’ walk-through practice. He said they went over 40-50 plays. Players dealing with injuries considered questionable for the game — Brown, LB Lavonte David, S Antoine Winfield Jr. and S Jordan Whitehead — all participated in some fashion. … Reid prefers to celebrate victories with cheeseburgers. Asked if he has any comparable go-to celebration routine if the Bucs win the Super Bowl, Arians said, “We will find an adult beverage somewhere and have a great time.’’