The Jets conducted their first interview for their coaching vacancy Wednesday, as they met with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy in Kansas City.
The former NFL running back has no head coaching experience. But since 2001, Bieniemy has been a running backs coach or an offensive coordinator in college and the NFL. The Jets announced they had completed the interview.
Bieniemy, who played for the Chargers, Bengals and Eagles, has worked under Andy Reid in Kansas City the past six years. He replaced Matt Nagy as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator this season, but Reid is the primary play caller.
Bieniemy has worked with standout quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the Chiefs, who led the NFL in scoring (35.3) and total offense (425.6 yards) and are the AFC’s No. 1 seed. The Chiefs led the NFL in scoring (35.3) and total offense (425.6 yards) and are the AFC’s No. 1 seed. Before joining the Chiefs in 2013, he spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator at the University of Colorado.
Jets officials flew to Kansas City to interview Bieniemy with the Chiefs earning a bye for the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Bieniemy also interviewed with the Buccaneers on Wednesday, and is set to meet with the Dolphins and Broncos later in the week.
The Jets, who fired Todd Bowles on Sunday after a 4-12 finish, are expected to hire someone who is more offensive minded to help in the growth and development of quarterback Sam Darnold. Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said having past head coaching experience wasn’t a requirement.
“It can’t hurt,” Johnson said. “But it’s not the be all, end all of this search.”
Johnson, however, did say that if the candidate developed a young quarterback it would be “a big plus.” The Jets have made Darnold the centerpiece of the team and the coaching search.
The Jets also are expected to interview former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who checks a lot of boxes. He worked with Brett Favre toward the end of his career and Aaron Rodgers at the start of his. McCarthy helped Rodgers become one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Former Lions and Colts coach Jim Caldwell also is expected to get an interview, as is former Texas Tech coach and current USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.
Interestingly, Jets safety Jamal Adams began following Kingsbury on Instagram on Tuesday after Yahoo reported the Jets would interview him.
SNY’s Twitter account referenced Adams following Kingsbury, and tweeted, “Looks like Jamal Adams might have a top choice for the next head coach of the Jets.” Adams retweeted SNY and wrote, “U damn right!”
Kingsbury, who was the offensive coordinator/quarterback coach at Texas A&M before going to Texas Tech, has worked with Johnny Manziel, Mahomes and Baker Mayfield. He was hired by USC last month, so he didn’t work with Darnold. But Adams believes he can help Darnold be a star.
“He’s an offensive-minded coach,” Adams said during his weekly spot on WFAN’s ‘Carlin, Maggie and Bart’ Show. “He’s going to bring swagger. He’s going to develop Sam into a great quarterback. Look at his track record.
“Help Sam out, man,” Adams added. “Sam is going to be phenomenal. That’s what people don’t realize. Sam will be phenomenal. We have a franchise quarterback. He’s going to do his thing. You bring an offensive-minded coach. The defense, we’ll get that handled.”
Other known candidates for the Jets vacancy are Cowboys passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach Kris Richard and Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
The Jets have requested permission to interview both men.
ESPN reported that former Dolphins coach Adam Gase would interview with the Jets on Friday. He was fired Monday after Miami finished 7-9. Gase was 23-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins.
Other names who could emerge include Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, Saints offense coordinator Pete Carmichael and tight ends coach Dan Campbell, and Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.