Washington Commanders assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy addressed the media after practice on Aug. 9. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.
"Good afternoon, I appreciate you guys taking the time to be here. It's been a hell of a camp. It's been a lot of fun. The journey has been very good. The guys have been working their tails off. We've had some highs. We've had some lows. But the thing that I appreciate about them is that they embraced it and they're learning, first and foremost. They're learning a lot about themselves. They're learning a lot about what it takes. They're growing together. That's the fun part and its fun watching that growth process. With that said, I'm all ears."
On his intensity as a coach:
"First of all, one thing I am, I'm an open book and I always invite players in, but also, too, as I've gone through this process, yes, I am intense, and I would be afraid too, to start, if I didn't know it. But on top of that, one thing they do appreciate is this: I'm always going to be upfront and I'm always going to be honest. Just like I stated when I first got here, we all got to get uncomfortable to get comfortable. There's some new demands and expectations that I expect. I expect us to be the team that we're supposed to be. It's not going to be easy and everybody ain't going to like the process. But when it's all said and done with, my job is to make sure that we're doing it the right way. There's a way to do it. Do they understand that? Yes, because they're seeing the results. Will everybody buy in? I believe so, but if not, it's okay. Because you know what? My number one job is to help take these guys to another level and I can see it. When you think about where we started in the spring to where we are right now, we're making a lot of strides. I'm proud of these guys. It's been some, excuse my language, some good shit to watch."
On if he feels he is too intense and if he wonders if he has to tone it down:
"I've been coaching since I retired from football. So, you got to understand this, with the group, I'm always going to remain the same. I'm always going to be loud and I'm always going to be vocal. I'm always going to demand from our leaders. But on top of that, I'm watching everything. Body language, how we address in the huddle, how we're getting up to the line of scrimmage, how we're presenting ourselves. Those things are important because you got to send a message to the defense. I want our guys to clearly understand that we're not taking anything for granted. When it's all said and done with, do I spend time with players? Yes. You guys have been here, you see me pull players onto the side and have long discussions with them just so we are all always on the same page. Eric Bieniemy is who he is. Eric Bieniemy knows how to adapt and adjust. Eric Bieniemy is a tough, hard-nosed coach, but also understand I'm going to be they're biggest and harshest critic, but I'm also their number one fan because I got their back and I'm going to support them at all times."
On adjusting to the flow of camp:
"It's camp, no adjustments necessary. The only thing I want our guys to do is to make sure when they leave the building, go home and study. Get you a good night of sleep and when you wake up, make sure your mind, body and soul is ready to go because when we step into this building, just like I said before, there's an imaginary sign outside that says, hiring all applicants. I want our guys to understand every day we're interviewing for a job. There's some big-time competition. I want to see guys become great. I tell them all the time, I'm selfish. I like seeing players become great players. I like people who love to exceed their expectations. It's my job to make sure that I can get everything out of them together and collectively."
On the philosophy he has when he feels he has to make a change in personnel:
"Anytime there's a decision to be made, collectively we'll sit down and discuss that. Obviously, the head coach will always be involved in everything, but that's just something that we do collectively as a staff. On top of that, the head coach is always involved, but one thing about our staff, there's an open dialogue. First and foremost, let me go back to say this. Because we're not giving our staff enough credit. We got a hell of a coaching staff that's doing a hell of a job. I don't know if you guys have recognized it, but this offensive unit has improved. They're working their tails off. They're fine tuning the details. Our coaching staff, not only have they bought in, but they got their guys producing. We got a hell of a staff. One thing that we've learned collectively as a staff, communication is always the key to success. We do a great job of keeping our lines of communication. There's nothing that goes unsaid, good, bad or indifferent. We want to talk through and work through every issue. So, when it comes down to personnel, yeah, we always sit and have those discussions. Sometimes those discussions are tough, but when we leave that room, we all locked arm and arm and it's time to go to work."
On who has improved the most on the offense:
"I don't know if I can just point out one individual. It's been a number of players. There's been some highs and lows and you don't ever want camp to be one sided. Sometimes when you see me, I'm walking off the field and my mouth is all in a certain way. Obviously, we probably got our ass kicked that day. Our guys are working hard. I think the quarterback position, [QB] Jacoby [Brissett] and [QB] Sam [Howell] have been playing their tails off, [QB Jake [Fromm] as well. The running backs have been competing their tails off. All those guys are working, watching these young receivers and these young tight ends and then watching these o-linemen work. It's been fun collectively watching these guys compete. But on top of that, watching the growth process, and I'm only asking them each and every day just work on three things. Find three things to work on. I know practice is not going to be perfect, but if there's three things that you can address, define what those three things are, then if you are making that necessary adjustment and working on those things, we got a chance. That's what I'm seeing from each and every group and that's been the fun part. That's why I know guys are buying in and they have belief in what we're doing."
On addressing players if they're struggling with adapting to the new coaching style:
"So before it even goes anywhere, I make it the point to address the conversation because my job is to be very observant. I got to know the people that I'm discussing and working with so my job is to address if there's something that they may have an issue with, please let's discuss this. Here's the reason why I felt a certain way, here's why I said it. Now, okay, I put it back on the player and you got to understand we're in a grown man's business, we're in a grown man's world. My job is to make sure that I'm doing the best possible job of over communicating clarity. I take a tremendous amount of pride in that. They also know when I'm getting on them, ain't nothing personal. What's personal is that I want us to win. I expect that particular player to be great at all times. I expect the effort to be a standard that's accepted by all of us. So, when you're not reaching that, it's my job to address it. So, sometimes they may like the highlights and the praise, but sometimes they may not like it and I'm perfectly fine with that because that's my job. Because if I ain't doing my job, my ass gets fired. So, it's my job and my responsibility to make sure and I'm getting our guys to do what I expect them to do."
On the offensive line:
"You know what, our young O-line, they're doing a heck of a job. Like I said, there's been ups and downs. There's been some days that haven't been as good, but there's been some days they've done a hell of a job and the thing that I'm loving about that group is that they're having fun together. O-line groups are very, very unique because everything is based on communication. They probably do more communicating with each other than any other position outside the quarterback and so I love seeing the personalities develop. These guys are working. We got some big strong guys up front that are tough, that are hardnosed and then here's the thing that's kind of unfair, which is good in a sense obviously because we're on the same team, but think about the guys they get to work against. Okay, those guys get to help them to become better professionals. So, what better challenge than to face the front four that we're seeing every single day? I love it, I live for it, and I can see the improvement in our guys. Has it all been perfect? Nah, it's not what training camp is about. It's about working and fine tuning and learning how to grow together and become one as a team and then once we start putting the pieces together, everything else will make us into that fine oiled machine moving forward. So, I love where they are right now."
On Sam Howell's development:
"You know what? Sam is doing a good job. Sam's actually doing a hell of a job. I think sometimes early in camp you could see where he was overthinking. But we've been putting a lot on our players, been putting a lot on his plate because I want him to understand there's a thing that you got to do. You got to process everything and the thing that I love, I've seen the growth. You can see when he's confident, he's coming off the mound releasing that ball. It's a thing of beauty. It's been fun watching this growth process and I think the sky can be the limit for this kid."
On Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett moving forward:
"You know what, both those guys, first of all, Jacoby's doing a hell of a job. Jacoby has had a great camp as well. Jacoby has been competing. He's been doing everything that a veteran quarterback is supposed to do. He's led, he's shown by example, he's been a voice for Sam, he's been a great voice in that quarterback room and he's been a guy that just allows his personality to show. Sam has gravitated to that and he's seeing what it takes, and you got to understand, Sam is one of those kids. Every day is a new day for him because he's never done it and this is the first time for him, every single day. So now he's like a kid in the candy store, he gets to observe what Jacoby is doing and some of that stuff is feeding right off of Jacoby and it's feeding right into him. They have an outstanding relationship in my opinion, but it's been fun watching this group grow together."
On Sam Howell going into the preseason:
"I'll say this first and foremost, we're going to have that discussion on playtime with coach. But I mean, just like anything and everything, we all need work. All of our guys need to go out and play against a different opponent. Let's see what we can do collectively together."
On the young offense reacting to mistakes when watching film:
"You know, it's open dialogue. I wish all of y'all could be in there and I make them talk. I want to hear what they're thinking, but on top of that, I want them to understand this. Indirectly, we all impact each other's lives. I always discuss what accountability means. So sometimes I think we get caught up in the individualism of a team sport rather than seeing the big picture, so if I'm trusting that you're supposed to be somewhere or you're supposed to do something, I'm trusting that you're going to do that. When you do not do what we're all expecting you to do, you're impacting our career. When that individual becomes greater than the good, it's not a good thing. It's my job to point that out and make guys understand that, listen, we are all in this together. We got to make sure that the man next to me becomes by far the most important person. When that man becomes by far the most important per person on that particular moment in that particular play, now I know we got a team. Now we have f---g chance. Excuse my language. Y'all see I'm getting fired up."