Falcons rumors: Eric Bieniemy has strong interview, firmly in the mix to become head coach

Falcons rumors: Eric Bieniemy
Nov 1, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy look on from the sideline during the first half against the New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons will make significant changes this offseason to their organization following a disappointing 2020 season. While the search for a head coach is still in its early stages, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy could be gaining traction in Atlanta.

Bieniemy, regarded as one of the top head-coaching candidates in the 2021 hiring cycle, interviewed with Atlanta on Monday. Now, not long after early speculation suggested things didn’t go well, further clarity indicates the 51-year-old offensive coordinator crushed his interview.

NFL coaching candidates: Eric Bieniemy, other top HC candidates in 2021

Falcons rumors: Kansas City Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy in the running to become Atlanta’s head coach

According to NFL Network’s Steve Wyche, Eric Bieniemy is very much in the mix to become the new Atlanta Falcons’ head coach in 2021. Kansas City’s offensive coordinator, the man who was instrumental in Patrick Mahomes’ development, also did extremely well in his hours-long interview with the Falcons.

“Prepared, knew everything about the team, had a great plan and is a bona fide candidate,” a person involved in the interview said, via NFL Network’s Steve Wyche.

Atlanta met with Bieniemy earlier in the week, before conducting preliminary interviews with other coaching candidates. However, when rumors leaked that Bieniemy’s meeting with the team went poorly, Atlanta’s executives were reportedly furious and wanted to make it clear that he made a strong impression.

Falcons rumors: Team to interview Robert Saleh for head coach opening

Thus far, the Falcons have interviewed five coaches who are in consideration to replace Dan Quinn. Atlanta’s interim coach Raheem Morris was the first to discuss the opening and has a legitimate shot at the shop. Since then, the team has met with San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady and Green Bay Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett. Atlanta plans to interview Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles after the first round of the NFL Playoffs.

Related: Atlanta Falcons interview Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett for head coach opening

The Falcons are also in the hunt for their next general manager. For that vacancy, the organization completed interviews with Indianapolis Colts director of scouting Morocco Brown, New Orleans Saints vice president Terry Fontenot, Los Angeles Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes, former Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith and in-house candidate Anthony Robinson.

Prospective candidates are pitching owner Arthur Blank on taking the team in whatever direction they believe will help turn things around. As a result, stars Julio Jones and Matt Ryan could potentially be on the trade block this offseason.

Falcons rumors: Owner reasserts that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones might not return

It’s possible the Falcons spend another week meeting with additional candidates, conducting an exhaustive and thorough search. However, it shouldn’t be too long before we have an idea of what direction this team is headed in 2021 and beyond.