It was published early on Sunday morning that Buffalo Bills’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy had emerged as the favorites to land the Houston Texans head coaching job. So much so that Adam Schefter said they were “assembling staffs” in preparation.
As such, with the two coordinators facing off during Kansas City’s 38-24 victory over Buffalo in the AFC Championship Game, here are some early thoughts on what it means for the Texans.
1. The Eric Bieniemy endorsements are deserved
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Many question how much credit can be given to Bieniemy while working under offensive guru under Andy Reid. However, the explosive performance by the Kansas City offense on Sunday night yet again proved that Bieniemy has clearly been a part of something special. The offense is explosive and one of the most creative in the league. https://twitter.com/Chiefs/status/1353524137617190917 How do you defend that? It should come as no surprise that quarterback Deshaun Watson, Chief’s head coach Andy Reid, and many, many others have endorsed Bieniemy as the man for the job to elevate the Texans to the next level. The Chiefs’ offense is an absolute machine that has a chance to continue making Super Bowl appearances for years and years to come. It is not fair to discredit an offensive coordinator for that level of elevation, especially when previous Reid coordinators were quickly elevated to head coaching positions. https://twitter.com/MySportsUpdate/status/1351301972192858112
2. There is no good faith Leslie Frazier argument
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Frazier probably does not deserve the current vitriol he’s receiving from the Houston fanbase. However, whether it’s fair or not, this is part of being under consideration or having an NFL head coaching job. There really isn't a good faith argument for hiring Frazier in the current climate. He would be a retread hire, having previously served as the Minnesota Vikings' coach for four years and amassing a 21-32 record with only one winning season between 2010-2013. Frazier represents a very safe, very known commodity. However, Texans fans all just watched Bieniemy and the Chief’s offense light up Frazier’s defense. Despite a turf toe injury, the Bills’ defense only managed to sack Patrick Mahomes once. It feels like Frazier’s connection to Nick Caserio and Jack Easterby’s shared agent is more of a driving factor than anything having to do with football. With Watson's preferred, more qualified candidate sitting wide available, there is no "good faith" reason the Texans should prefer Bieniemy.
3. Deshaun Watson does and should prefer Bieniemy
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Chiefs have firmly established themselves as the class of the AFC. They have hosted the AFC title game for the past three years and won the past two. Mahomes is 25 years old and Reid is nowhere near retiring. Kansas City is by all means here to stay. If Watson is going to try to win a championship with the Texans, assuming he doesn't go public with a trade demand, they will need someone to elevate their offense to Chiefs-like levels. Settling for field goals and less than phenomenal drives, as we saw often from Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen on Sunday, stands no chance of beating this high octane Kansas City team. Bieniemy brings the offensive innovation and expertise needed to elevate the Texans and Watson to a level where they just might be able to compete with the NFL’s next dynasty. His energy and reinvigoration of the team could have Houston right back in the playoffs and Watson fighting for more than just franchise records. https://twitter.com/MySportsUpdate/status/1351301972192858112
4. The Texans need Bieniemy more than he needs them
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Bieniemy is in a phenomenal situation in Kansas City. He is helping to pilot one of the most prolific offenses in league history while working with great coaches in Reid and quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka and trusting the execution to a great talent like Mahomes. There is absolutely no reason Bieniemy needs to rush an exit from a situation that may guarantee him multiple Super Bowl rings. Meanwhile, the Texans are an absolute dumpster fire. To be more specific, they are a Watson public trade demand away from being the worst franchise in the league. Houston needs someone like Bieniemy to reinspire confidence in the locker room and win over Watson to stay with what is proving to be a totally inept front office. Bieniemy has all the leverage in this potential relationship.
5. Houston fans expect the worst
(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
One look at twitter on Sunday evening told you everything you needed to know regarding optimism in the Texans fan base. There is very, very little. With Frazier officially being available to hire and sharing an agent with Easterby, many expect the Houston puppet master to make a quick move in securing a head coach that will be comfortable with controversial executive vice president of football operations. https://twitter.com/ChronBrianSmith/status/1353532090458005505 Now being tasked with waiting an additional two weeks if Houston hopes to hire Bieniemy, there is a general lack of faith from the fanbase that the franchise will holdout for the superior, higher upside candidate. Which leads to the most depressing potential outcome of Sunday night.
6. The improbable Watson trade just became slightly more probable
(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
With the Bills loss on Sunday night, Frazier should be considered an overwhelming favorite to land the Texans' coaching position. His immediate availability combined with connections to the organization make for a natural hire. Unfortunately, this is a candidate that does not project to land well with a disgruntled Watson. The hiring of Frazier would have the fingerprints of Easterby and Cal McNair all over it, potentially being the "straw that breaks the camel’s back" and forcing Watson to go public with his trade demands. Some sources, including ESPN, have said that Watson’s problems with the organization go beyond any individual head coaching hire. However, moving from an intriguing offensive candidate endorsed by Watson to a candidate many consider underwhelming at best does not bode well for the situation.