The Baltimore Ravens ended their nearly month-long search for an offensive coordinator Tuesday by hiring Todd Monken, a creative play-caller who helped guide the University of Georgia to back-to-back national championships with an explosive offense.
By hiring Monken, however, the Ravens might have done the Washington Commanders a favor.
There’s now one less team interested in Eric Bieniemy.
Bieniemy has been seen as a top candidate for the Commanders, who are still in need of a new offensive coordinator after firing Scott Turner last month. But the Ravens were also reportedly interested in Bieniemy — the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator who figures to explore his options now that his contract is set to expire. Though Bieniemy just won another Super Bowl with the Chiefs, he may choose to branch out from coach Andy Reid so he can become a team’s primary play-caller.
Coach Ron Rivera has said he’s heard Bieniemy is looking “for an interview to work with a defensive coach,” which would fit in line with the Commanders as Rivera comes from a defensive background.
If an interview with Bieniemy happens, a source said it will likely take place later this week after Kansas City’s Super Bowl parade.
Bieniemy has also been in the mix over the past few years for head coaching jobs, but has yet to be hired despite conducting more than a dozen interviews.
“I’m tremendously surprised,” Rivera told reporters last week, referring to the fact that Bieniemy hasn’t been hired as a head coach. “To listen to people’s reasoning, saying it’s because he’s under Andy’s shadow, I think is unfair. I mean, you have to be willing to give the guy the opportunity more than anything.”
Washington may provide an opportunity for Bieniemy to further strengthen his head coaching candidacy if he can help the Commanders become an average-to-above-average offense — something they haven’t had since Kirk Cousins played for the franchise. But Washington’s offensive coordinator job figures to carry some risk as the team could be sold in the coming months and Rivera could be entering next season on shaky ground.
Rivera also has ties to Reid and Bieniemy as the coach was an assistant under Reid in Philadelphia, where Bieniemy played as a running back in 1999 — Rivera’s first year on the Eagles’ staff.
The Commanders have interviewed seven candidates so far to replace Turner. The team announced Tuesday that Greg Roman — coincidentally, Baltimore’s former offensive coordinator — became the latest candidate to interview for the position. Roman spent four seasons as Baltimore’s play-caller, helping the Ravens become one of the best rushing offenses in the league. But he resigned after this past season after the Ravens’ passing attack underwhelmed.
Beyond Washington, other teams with offensive coordinator vacancies include Philadelphia, Carolina, Denver, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Indianapolis.
It’s unclear if any of those teams are interested in Bieniemy, though the Colts interviewed him for their head coaching vacancy before hiring former Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen this week. Of those six, only two — Tampa Bay (Todd Bowles) and Arizona (Jonathan Gannon) — have defensive-minded head coaches.
The Ravens were connected to Bieniemy in part because coach John Harbaugh spent nine years on Reid’s staff before taking the Baltimore job. Bieniemy has been with Reid since 2013, when the Chiefs hired the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach.
But the Ravens chose Monken, Georgia’s (now former) offensive coordinator who also held the same role with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns.
“We conducted 21 interviews with 14 candidates throughout a thorough process that had wide-ranging organizational involvement,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “Todd’s leadership and coaching acumen were evident from the very beginning. … We’re excited to get to work and begin building an offense that will help us compete for championships.”