A pair of much sought-after head coaching candidates are set for interviews on Monday.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday night that Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is scheduled to interview with the Atlanta Falcons, per an informed source. The 14-2 Chiefs rested several starters, including Patrick Mahomes, in their 38-21 Week 17 loss to the Chargers.
Since taking over as OC in 2018, Bieniemy has been the mastermind behind one of the NFL's most explosive offenses, led of course by Mahomes, the 2018 MVP. K.C. has finished with the first, fifth and second scoring offense, respectively, over the past three seasons.
Following San Francisco's 26-23 season-ending defeat against the Seattle Seahawks, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan revealed defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will also interview with the Falcons on Monday.
Saleh is also expected to interview with the Detroit Lions later in the week, Rapoport reported, via an informed source. Both Falcons interviews will be conducted virtually, per Rapoport.
"I know how much the players respect Robert as a coach and love him as a person so I wouldn't say that today was any extra. I feel like that's why they fight for him every week," Shanahan said of Salah, per ESPN. "When you've got a coaching staff who knows what they're doing and also is connected and invested in the players, all guys want to do is be coached the right way and they want you to care about them and Saleh does that as well as anyone. I was very happy with what he did throughout the whole year. I will be very surprised if we don't lose him. I don't know what's wrong with people if they don't hire him."
If Shanahan's prediction comes to fruition, Saleh would depart the Niners after helping to lead an impressive rebuild over the past four seasons in S.F. Injuries greatly altered what could've been a dominant follow-up to 2019 when the Niners finished in the top 10 in scoring (19.4) and yards allowed per game (281.8) for the first time in over 15 years.
"He's as good as you can get and knows more about football, all three phases, and he's going to hire the best staff, he knows about players, he knows who knows what they're talking about, who doesn't know what they're talking about and he also knows how to deal with people," Shanahan continued. "I hope everyone is not very smart and doesn't hire him so I can keep him. But I'm expected not to have him. We've got a lot of other good guys on our staff and I know there will be a number of options and we've got a number of good players.
"What we've built here over the four years with Saleh, with the whole coaching staff, we haven't made many changes, so there's a lot of guys ho we've all grown here together and we've got a lot of players who are used to it, too. So, I expect whatever we end up decided here and obviously we'll wait to see what happens with Saleh but I know the Niners will be all right."