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Eric Bieniemy press conference | June 1, 2023

Opening Statement:
"OTAs have been fun. It's been a challenge. The guys have been working extremely hard. Our coaching staff is doing a heck of a job of getting these guys together. Making sure that they have a complete understanding of what we want and what we expect. So far, so good. Now OTAs have ended, we are on to the next step, which is vet minicamp."

On what he has seen from QB Sam Howell and what he has learned from him:

"Well, first of all, Sam's a very competitive kid. The thing I love about him too, he's smart. He understands some of the times when he's making mistakes and the only thing he wants to know is what can he do to get better. More than anything, I'm enjoying just watching him work and watching how he handles the highs and the lows because you're gonna have some of that throughout the course of working during the offseason. Just like you would if you weren't playing in the game. But the thing that I love about him is that he's always staying steady. His demeanor does not change and he's very, very competitive. And I will say this, he autocorrects himself as well because he knows exactly what he did and what he should have done, which is a good thing."

On how energized he feels and if he feels this was something he needed to energize himself:

"You guys are gonna learn, I'm pretty loud every at practice but it's fun. That's the beauty of being out there because you get an opportunity to interact with your guys. You get an opportunity to watch them work. The thing that I want them to understand while we're out there is maximizing every single opportunity that we have, so yes, you have to create energy. We have to bring that energy so our players can feed off of that so they can be excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. Practice should not feel like practice. Okay, we all in this professional arena, we get to have fun. This is professional sports, so why not go out there and enjoy what you do but there's a professional way in which we gotta get it done. We gotta have a sense of urgency. We gotta have a sense of purpose, all right? And then we gotta have a plan on what we want to accomplish each and every day. I know practice is not gonna be perfect and I'm perfectly fine with that, but as long as we're working hard and long as we're working on three things, minimal per player on something to help improve our game, then you know what, we're giving ourselves a chance down the line."

On what things are not acceptable in practice for the offense:
"Well, first of all, we gotta get out of the huddle. We gotta know where to align and then on top of that, we need to know exactly how we want to accomplish this particular scheme, this particular play. Depending on what the situation is, how we are gonna handle that particular situation. At the end of the day, I want those guys to get it all right. I want them to have an understanding that we can't waste these opportunities. We only have so many reps throughout the course of a practice, so we have to make it right. You know, now I understand at times we gonna make mistakes, but I also gotta look at myself in the mirror and make sure that I'm doing the right thing and communicate in the message clearly, so they have a complete understanding but also too, that the message has been received. So, a part of that, yes, at times coach EB can get outta hand. Okay, but also too, those guys know I want them to strive for perfection in order to achieve excellence by having a complete understanding of what we are doing and how we gonna get it done."

On what led to him moving T/G Sam Cosmi inside instead of G/T Andrew Wylie:
"Well, at the end of the day, you just want your best five to play and so you are gonna put those guys in the best situations that's gonna give us the best opportunity. Obviously, Wylie has played the right tackle position now for a number of years. He's also played guard. Sam has played tackle, but also, we thought his best ability will be inside. But all of those guys have to remain flexible because throughout the course of the season, knock on wood, you hate to say this, but injuries happen. These guys have to have the ability to have some position flex so they can go and line up and give us an opportunity if something was to happen. At this particular time and talking with our O line coach, this is the best situation for all of them. Not saying that one of those guys won't move at some point in time, but we want to give those guys the best opportunity because we feel that gives us the best opportunity to go be successful."

On how he feels the offense is at this point with the CBA limits:
"You know what, it's going good. We're still at the beginning. I mean, it's still the intro section of where we're at. But I will say this, these guys have done a heck of a job of working at it. We're challenging them to study. We're challenging them to study all the film. We want them to gain a perspective of how we gonna get things done. On top of that, it's all about creating a culture of accountability and creating a culture of how we work and how we do things. It's still in this infant stages, but the thing that I like is that these guys have been receptive. They've been working their tails off. Okay, these are professional football players. It ain't like we got a bunch of bad apples in the room. These guys they want to do it right. They may not know it right now on how to do it the right way all the time, but they want to do it the right way and that's the thing that makes it fun."

On if there have been pushbacks in any situations:
"No and so there hasn't been any issues, but one thing I'm always open and honest with the guys. If I make a mistake, hey fellas, I screwed this up. I told you the wrong thing. I shouldn't have done that, so my job is to make sure that I'm also being accountable and displaying that so these guys can gain that trust within me because the last thing you want to do is lose that trust based on something that you told 'em that wasn't a fact or that wasn't right, or it didn't apply in that particular situation. So yes, I have made mistakes and I'm not afraid of showing my vulnerability and so I want them to be the same. I see that and these guys, like I said, we got a good group. These guys are learning what accountability means, but big picture, they're also learning the big picture, meaning that, hey, once they stop buying into, and not so much buying into, but making sure that they can do what is best for their teammate, okay and stop looking out for their selves. Now they're seeing the big picture, which now, if we grow together as a team and the player next to me is by far the most important player, okay, when we're going through a sequence of plays, then that's gonna help take us to the next level because we have to learn how to play together. We have to learn how to play for one another. That's the beauty of team sports and this happens to be one of the best ones because without each other we can't accomplish anything. It doesn't make a difference how much talent we have or don't have. We gotta make sure that we're playing for each other and being accountable and making sure that we understand all the detailed aspects of what it's gonna take for us to have the success that we want to have."

On how he reels back that is he working with a younger quarterback:
"Well, it's early. We've technically had six practices against our defense. So, with the infant stages and the thing that I have to do every day is just make sure I take myself back and understand that, hey, what's real and what's not real? I gotta observe everything objectively and see exactly what type of growth are we making. I've seen a number of players make some growth. I've seen Saahdiq Charles make some growth. I've seen all the different things that Coach Travelle [Wharton] and Coach Juan [Castillo] have been working with him. You know, I've seen Sam [Cosmi] make some growth playing the right guard position. I've seen growth at a number of different positions. Now, I've also seen growth as an offense, not at the rate that you would like, but there's steady steps that are being made which are working in a positive direction. That's all you want when you've had six practices, you gotta look at it objectively and see where the growth is taking place and we're gonna learn how to get it done. I'm not concerned about that. These guys, like I said, there's some good people on this team and there's some good people in that locker room and they care and they want to be great at what they do. They're just going through the infant stages right now of learning a new system and making sure they can put it together."

On his vision for the offensive line and the coaches:
"Coach Travelle [Wharton], he's the offensive line coach. I mean, he's running everything, and we got a veteran offensive line coach and, and Coach Juan [Castillo] who brings a whole lot of experience to that room as well. Coach Juan is our run game coordinator, so he's been a big assistant for Travelle. Travelle is handling the room. He's doing a great job if he needs help Juan gives him a word of whatever and it helps him throughout the preparation, so those guys are doing a heck of a job. I'm proud of what they've done and like I said, this is practice six, so we got plenty of 'em coming up, especially with the vet minicamp coming up next week. Then on top of that we got training camp, which I can't wait to training camp. I'm already fired up about training camp and, and OTAs is not done yet, but those guys are doing a heck of a job."

On where the names for the offensive play calls came from:
"You know what, I've never even thought of it, but it just basically identifies our personnel group. Just letting us know exactly who's in and giving us an opportunity to put the best personnel out there on the field. But those guys, they take a lot of pride in it because if a certain personnel group is called. Those guys know exactly who's in and those guys get excited about being a part of that particular play when it's called."

On taking a new responsibility of setting practice times:
"Coach Ron has been great. I've known Coach Ron now since the 1999 season. And I mean, first of all, he's a great human being, on top of that he's an outstanding head coach. I just appreciate him allowing me to have some input and he's given me a little flexibility to help and adjust the schedules because he feels that certain things we needed to change and I'm enjoying it because it allows me to have input. It also, because of the success that we've had, some of the things I've bought over from Kansas City and how we structure things and on top of that, it's just given me a little bit more responsibilities as far as being the assistant head coach. So it's been great and I'm enjoying it. I'm enjoying all the challenges and the responsibilities. It's a part of the title and when it's all said and done with it, I just want to make sure that I'm doing what is right for us when it's all said and done with."

On Head Coach Ron Rivera making sure that his title wasn't just a title:
Yeah, and that's exactly how he's going about it, which I greatly appreciate him for that.

On how he handles a player that a challenged day at practice:
"You shoot 'em straight. You know, one thing that I take a tremendous amount of pride in is making sure that guys understand we're going to always overcommunicate clarity. We are not gonna leave any stones unturned. If something was to happen, we're gonna make sure that we address that issue right then and there, good, bad, indifferent. But when it's all said and done with, we leave it alone and we keep it moving because we got too many good things to looking forward to. And so I love what [RB Brian Robinson] brings to the table. I love the emotion and the excitement and the energy that he brings. One thing I want him, and not just him, but all of us to understand is that we're all in this together. So regardless, you may be frustrated, but let's make sure that we don't lose our poise about something because it didn't happen the way you wanted it to happen. And that's a part of the growing process, okay? Because in order for us to be a great team, we got to make sure that we act as a team. And so sometimes things happen to whereas these are great learning lessons, and so BRob is about as good as a kid as they come. And he knew instantly he happened to be wrong at that particular time, and he meant no ill will with anything. It was just his frustration and wanting to be great in that particular moment."

On where RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. can impress coaches in the early stages:
"Special teams. One thing that these guys will hear from me, as long as we're together, there's an imaginary sign outside that door that says "hiring all the applicants". So yeah, we got some pretty good running backs here. So just because you play that position doesn't mean that you can't play other positions. The quickest way to making this team is making sure that you become best friends with that special teams coach. And if you're becoming best friends with that special teams coach, that means that you're finding a way to become a four phase special teams player. Chris hasn't taken that for granted at all. He's doing a hell of a job of just working and doing whatever he can to show up on tape for all the right reasons. Chris is a hardworking kid. He takes a tremendous amount of pride in everything that he does and I think right now he's in a good place."

On specific areas he has seen RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. grow:
"So first of all, Coach Randy [Jordan] and Coach Jennifer King are doing a heck of a job with him. He's a smart kid. He works hard. Chris is pretty sharp. I will say this, Chris has just remained steady. Very seldom do you have to correct him on any mistakes. Now, it might be a little technical issue that you may have to clean up, but as far as making mistakes, that's not in his dna, he does it the right way. And that's what you love about him because he's smart, he gets it and he understands the game and he also understands ,the thing I love about him, he understands his strengths and he's very aware of his weaknesses, which makes him a very, I mean, he's very smart."

On the status of the TE room:
"You know what the tight end room is doing a heck of a job. Coach Todd Storm has done a hell of a job with those guys. I mean, Logan [Thomas], [John] Bates, Cole [Turner], Curtis [Hodges]. Those guys are doing a heck of a job. In fact, those guys have stood out for all the right reasons. Obviously in this offense, it's always been a tight end friendly offense. Those guys, they show up, they're making plays and the quarterbacks have been doing a great job of locating them in the passing game. So far so good. Like I said, these guys are hardworking, got a lot of veterans in that group. I think from top down, the depth is pretty good and I'm just proud of where we are at this particular point in time."

On if it is rare for RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. to know his strengths and weaknesses at his age:
"You know what, it's not rare, but it's always good to see. Chris is very sharp. Obviously, his coaching staff did a heck of a job with him, and obviously his parents did a hell of a job of raising him. He's a very sharp kid. He doesn't take anything for granted and that's what you love about him, and that's why he's here. We felt that way about him when he was at Kentucky. And obviously he's had his shortcomings, but he's very aware of who he is and where he is, but he also understands the big picture."

On his connection to QB Coach Tavita Pritchard:
"So I've had an opportunity to know Tavita for a while now. Obviously he played at Stanford. He was, you know, at Stanford when I was coaching at UCLA once upon a time. And just that interaction of knowing who the person was because of recruiting and all that. But on top of that, the coaches that he worked with, some of my good friends were on that coaching staff at that particular time when he was playing. And then on top of that, when he first got into coaching. So I've had this connection with Tavita for a number of years. And then, we finally had the opportunity to really sit down I want to say in 2018 at the first QB Summit. And we sat there, and we connected from day one. Tavita has done a hell of a job. He's very smart, he's very intelligent. I think he brings an energy to that room. He's connected with those guys and he's doing a hell of a job. And the thing that Tavita knows, because he's been familiar with this offense because [Former Stanford Head Coach] David Shaw ran it when he was there. Coach [Jim] Harbaugh ran it when he was there as well. And he just has a connection with those guys and he's doing a great job of just laying out a playing for him, which has been great."

On how the skill position groups have responded to being moved around in the offense:
"I think our skill position group is doing a heck of a job. I think all those guys, the receivers, the backs, the tight ends, I think they're intrigued because at any given time, anybody can line up anywhere. And so it keeps them on their toes and it's forcing everyone to gain a complete understanding of the concepts that we're teaching. And so at the end of the day, you just want to challenge these guys and keep it fresh so they can come out and want to be at their best. But I'm excited with some of the things that we're doing. Obviously, we still got a long ways to go, but on top of that, I'm just intrigued by all the different pieces that we have. I'm not going to give away anything else, but it's been fun so far."

On if he has a specific application in mind when trying different packages:
"Well, I mean, when you have good players, you want to give guys an opportunity to show what they can do. And so at the end of the day, when it's all said and done with, you want to give yourself the best chance to be the best team that you can be. And some guys have different gifts than others, and so you want to utilize their strengths, in different scenarios. And just making sure that you're turning every stone over. So now when it's time to go play, hey, we we're loading it up and hey, we we're going out there, we going to be ready for any given situation."

On his early impression of WR Terry McLaurin:
"Ultimate professional. Does a hell of a job of showing up to work every single day. You want everybody to be like Terry, Terry works his tail off. He sets an example by his work ethics and what he does. He's also a man of his word. So, I mean, I knew about him when he came out of Ohio State. We watched a lot of tape on him, when he was coming out, but loved the man, loved the character, and I am enjoying the professional football player."

On where his energy and pace come from:
"Let me just say this the right way. I've always enjoyed being on the field as a player was out there energized and enthused, having fun. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that guys do not take this opportunity for granted. So you want to let them know, hey, we have an opportunity to put something on tape. We have an opportunity to do something right now that's going to help us down the line. And so we have to maximize this moment. And so you bring that energy so they can feel the urgency and why today is by far the most important day. And so you want it to basically vibrate around the room so everybody can feel that energy. And at the end of the day, you just want these guys to go out and enjoy what we're doing. And so while I'm out there, it's always about making sure we're not taking anything for granted and making sure we're doing the little detailed things that's going to help us moving forward. And sometimes in things, it's just getting out of the huddle and getting up to the line of scrimmage and getting set. It's probably one of the most important things because it sets the tone to a defense. So I enjoy it every single day. I love it. This has been a part of my DNA since I was six years old. And as long as I'm out there, you guys will always hear me. I guarantee it. Thank you."

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