Washington Commanders Assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy addressed the media on Nov. 30. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.
"Good afternoon. Hopefully everyone had a great holiday that was safe and sound with their family. Obviously, we've had a couple of rough weeks here, but the thing I like about our guys, our guys are working. They're getting back into it. Hell, today's a situational day and we're working on our third down as we prepare for these [Miami] Dolphins. Got another challenge ahead of us, fired up and looking forward to the opportunity that's going to be presented this week. So, with that said, I'm all ears."
On how he has seen himself evolve as a first time play caller:
"Well, first of all, this is not my first time as a play caller. I've been doing this now for six seasons. So, I've been in this role, I've been in this seat, I've been in this chair, and certain days are better than others. Obviously, you want every day to be a perfect day, but it's been fun. Obviously, you want to be at your best and you always want what is best for your players. And so, at the end of the day, you just keep striving to be striving for perfection and hoping that you can achieve that excellence. But we all know that it's a work in progress every single day."
*On how he has seen the offense develop: *"You know what, I'll say this. I've seen growth in a number of positions. I've seen [T] Charles Leno. I mean, he's grown, just gaining a true understanding of what we're doing. I've watched [QB] Sam [Howell] grow as a quarterback. He's making plays now. Has everything been perfect for him? No, but he's making tremendous strides. Watching the growth and development of [WR] Jahan [Dotson], watching his route tree grow and just the dynamic playmaking ability that he has. And then just watching [RB Brian Robinson] BRob, BRob has become, I mean it's a running joke with me and him, he's a receiver now [laughs], and he's doing a great job in the pass game. So it's been fun watching the growth process. At the end of the day, you want for all of these guys to have a tremendous amount of success, but it's a work in progress. We got to learn how to do it together consistently."
On him calling plays without Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid around:
"You know what, it's been a lot of fun. It's been a lot of responsibility, a lot of communication that takes place between myself and our staff. On top of that, these guys, it's all a collective group. Everybody's into it and everybody's helping build the game plan. But it's been one that there's been many highs and obviously, you always look back upon things and say, you know what, maybe we should have done this, or maybe we should have done that, but you are always self-evaluating just to make sure that you're dotting your i's and crossing your t's and making sure that you're making the right decisions at the right times for these particular situations that present itself. But I've enjoyed it."
*On his view of the roughing the passer penalty topic: *"You know what, I'll say this, I have no comment because of my bias of the time and age that I played. So, I'm going to just leave that alone. I'll leave that up to the defensive coaches."
On what stands out about Miami Dolphins Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio's defenses in the past and now:
"You know what, I'll say this, Vic has been doing this for a number of years. He's obviously been one of the top defensive coordinators in this business for a long time. I have the utmost respect for him. He does a great job. He does a great job of building a roster, getting the right pieces to do the things that he wants. I remember when he was in San Francisco early in my career, when I was with the Minnesota Vikings. I have a great deal of respect for what he does. Obviously, he's done a great job putting it together. I mean it's his first year. [Miami Dolphins LB] Bradley Chubb is obviously familiar with what he's done because he spent time with him with Denver [Broncos]. But I'm looking forward to the challenge. Obviously, know a lot about his scheme, but it's one of those schemes that you have to be patient. You have to be patient, and you got to be patient to drive the length of the field, and you got to take what is given. At times, he may take a chance and create some type of pressure. Obviously, he's going to bring his four- and five-man pressure, but he wants you to make the mistake. And this is where we have to be consistent and persistent and sustain drives and be patient enough to making sure that we can drive the length of the field and put points on the board and finish."
On how they prepare for Miami Dolphins CB Jalen Ramsey:
"I think each and every week, there's a challenge. Every week when you're facing somebody in the league, there's somebody that's pretty good. In fact, obviously we got Jalen this week. They got the other kid who's on the other side who does a hell of a job, [Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard] X-man, who I've known since he was in high school when he came out of Phillis Wheatley High School down in Houston, Texas. He's also an outstanding corner. The thing that we do, you don't coach your guys and put fear in them. At the end of the day, we got to go out and play. We got to go out and be the very best of who we are. And so, when it's all said and done with, we got to go out and execute our scheme and execute our job better than they're executing their scheme and better than they're executing, utilizing their God-given ability, but we just have to go play."
On the 4th-and-1 play last week:
"Well, first of all, we got to execute better. In hindsight, looking at it, you probably want to do something different. But at that particular time, in that particular moment, that was the right call. Could we have done better? Yes. Is there something that I probably could have called different? Yes. There's a number of things that come up, but when you are a play caller, you got to understand every play that you designed is designed to go for a touchdown. And it's unfortunate that we didn't go for a touchdown in that particular situation. When it's all said and done with, we got to coach better. We got to make sure that we're putting our guys in the right situation. Then on top of that, regardless of what we call our guys, got to go out there and do a great job of executing. So, it goes hand in hand. But that's one of those calls that I wish I could have back."
On if he thought the game was closer than they got credit for:
"Well, it was close and then, I mean, we just didn't finish. I said our guys fought, they played hard, they played fast. Now we have to learn how to sustain drives and finish. That's a part of the growth process. That's a part of the maturity level that we need to inherit as an offense. That's going to help us to grow collectively and together as a unit. So those are just some of the things that when you're establishing a culture of responsibility and accountability, those are some of the things that, that's a part of the growth process when you're enduring this time."
On if facing an explosive offense affects how they game plan:
"You want to score a hundred points if possible. They got a world class track team over there, one of them I'm very familiar with. So yes, they do have a great offense. They're doing a number of things and our job is to make sure that we're doing our part. When it's all said and done with, our guys understand exactly what they're supposed to do. We got to drive the length of the field, we got to finish those drives, and we got to score. On top of that, if we're doing our part, we'll give ourselves the best chance of winning. Our guys are confident. They know exactly what they're capable of. Now we just got to eliminate the BS and just go play."
On if he feels they should slow the play clock against the Dolphins or go in with the same mindset as every week:
"I think it is a combination of both. You want to make sure that you can hold onto the ball as much as possible, but on top of that too, regardless of what you do, you got to score points. That's the name of the game. You got to outscore your opponent. So, our defense is going to go out there and play their tails off. We know that. But when it's all said and done with, we have to do our part. My job is to make sure I'm putting the guys in the right situations, getting creative with the game plan, but on top of that, making sure that we're doing exactly what you said, we got to hold onto the ball and keep them off the field as well. But, if we're holding onto the ball and we're not finishing and sustaining drives, it really does not do anything. So, we have to grow in that particular area. We got to have the patience and the maturity level to drive the length of the field and finish. Finish the drive by scoring, putting the ball in the end zone, or worst case scenario, we're kicking the field goal."
On if the Dallas game was frustrating due to having majority time of possession without many points:
"Anytime you're not winning, they're all frustrating because there's always the, 'If I would've, should've, could've.' So, like I said, I'll continue saying this, I got to do a better job. If I'm doing a better job, our guys will do a better job, and that falls right on my plate. So, I'm never going to run away from anything, I'm always going to stand tall and look myself in the mirror first and foremost. But then, making sure that I'm clearing it up and making sure I'm doing everything under the sun to prevent this from happening again."
On the coaching changes last week:
"I'll say this, it's unfortunate that what happens, happens, and obviously if you've been a part of this business long enough, these things happen. I've happened to know Jack [Del Rio], wow since I was a kid in high school. Jack played at [University of Southern California] USC, he played with a bunch of high school heroes that I grew up idolizing. Obviously, those situations are always tough, but you just keep it moving, you have to. You got to keep growing, you got to keep moving."
On if his daily responsibilities have changed due to coaching changes:
"Nah, my role is still the same. I'm still the Offensive Coordinator, I still have the title of Assistant Head Coach and the little things that [Head] Coach [Ron Rivera] asked me to do, that's what I'm charged with doing. Other than that, Coach EB is just making sure that he can get the offense lined up and get out of the huddle and go play."
On why he has run the ball more on first and second downs recently:
"Well, first of all, like I said, we're growing as an offense. You're seeing our guys do some things and guys are getting comfortable. Ideally you would love for this to start off like this at the beginning of the season, but it hasn't. So, we've made some tremendous strides and growth in the run game. Are we there yet? No, we're not. We still got to clean up some things. We still got to make sure that we're putting our guys in a situation where they can be more efficient and understand exactly how we're going to handle certain things. But when it's all said and done with, we got to go out and play, we have to execute better. I'm going to keep saying this, we have to finish, we have to sustain drives, and we have to finish. What I mean by finishing, you got to eliminate the penalties, you can't turn the ball over when you're doing those things, you can't beat Jones Junior High School. So, those are little things that become a focus issue that we need to make sure that we're clearing up."