Ron Rivera pulled off the unthinkable!
Who would have thought for even a second that a successful offensive coordinator with a Super Bowl resume would have taken a chance to come to a franchise in turmoil to lead an offense without an established signal caller and a patchwork offensive line? Well, that’s exactly what former Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy did!
It’s very well documented that Bieniemy has been passed over multiple times for head coaching opportunities the past few seasons. So, in an effort to take over full control of an offense and prove he’s worthy of being a head coach in this league, he is taking a leap of faith with an organization that is considered anything but stabile.
How will this turn out? That is yet to be decided, however one thing is absolutely certain - he needs many resources at his disposal on offense to make things work.
Bieniemy inherits a second year player in Sam Howell who has just 19 career passing attempts. This may not concern him as much as some fans, as he essentially did the same thing with Patrick Mahomes in his sophomore year - however we may be talking about one of the GOATs with Mahomes, so we all know that’s not really a fair comparison.
Outside of Howell, Eric will need to bring in an established veteran to help mentor Sam and provide him with someone who can step in in a pinch and lead this offense. It would be nice if Bieniemy could get someone with the same transferrable skills at Howell so the offense wouldn’t need to change in the event Howell had to sit, but that may be unlikely. It’s been stated by this “staff” that they won’t spend heavily on the position this offseason, so I expect a modest contract to a veteran who knows his place as QB2, and a mid-to-late-round draft pick to groom.
Free Agent Options:
- Jacoby Brissett
- Andy Dalton
- Blaine Gabbert
Washington does not have a go-to option at tight end. Seeing how instrumental tight ends have been in the Chiefs offense, it should be a top priority for this staff to go out and find that guy who can stretch defenses vertically down the seam and get open at the sticks when needed. There is no Travis Kelce out there on the free agent market, but there are some enticing players who could help both a young quarterback and new play-caller.
Outside of free agency, Washington could look to the draft to secure that much-needed player. There are some very solid options in the first two days who could be available for the Commanders.
Free Agent Options:
- Mike Gesicki
- Dalton Schultz
- Hayden Hurst
- Robert Tonyan
The 2022 offensive line was abysmal! This is the top area this team needs to drastically improve in the 2023 offseason. We need Rivera to stay out of the decisions here and allow someone else to make the calls to avoid the obvious nepotism.
Ideally, we need at minimum three new starters - both guard spots and at least one new tackle. It would be great to get at least two of these via free agency with likely two more coming through the draft. Center will depend on how Roullier’s rehab is trending, but even if he’s healthy to begin training camp, a young guy to start grooming would be ideal. If Chase is not fully healed, center becomes a top priority.
Free Agent Options:
- Orlando Brown Jr
- Caleb McGary
- Mike McGlinchey
- Isaiah Wynn (T/G)
- Andre Dillard (T/G)
- Ben Powers
- Nate Davis
- Dalton Risner
- Cody Ford
From the outside, it may seem that Washington is limited in cap room, but in reality, a few strategic cuts and some re-structuring can easily clear an extra $50+ million in cap space, with the pending release of Carson Wentz leading the way.
Ron has stated he’d like to be a ball-controlled, run-heavy offense, but if he’s truly leaving the offense up to Bieniemy, he’s going to need to listen to input on the type of players Eric needs, do what it takes to get said players, and then take a step back. We do know that Bieniemy believes strongly in a good running game to set up the pass, however he’s not a grind-it-out, ball-control type offensive mind. His teams have traditionally played with tempo designed to keep defenses off-balance and his units have consistently been some of the higher scoring ones in the league (granted he’s had a future Hall of Fame QB in Mahomes).
These next few months will be pivotal in determining the future success of this franchise under our new offensive coordinator and new quarterback. Ron Rivera the “decision maker” needs to do whatever is necessary to provide his new coach with all the tools he requires to make this offense run at a high level.