“I wasn’t as clear as I should have been,” Ron Rivera clarified comments Tuesday about players’ concerns about the intensity of new offensive coordinator Eric Bienemi’s practice.
“I’ve said many times since Eric was hired that I liked the overall message he delivered to the team on his first day, which is that we have to learn to be comfortable when we’re uncomfortable,” Rivera said as he read. From a report prepared at Wednesday’s practice. “And I think what’s happened to people on that side of the ball, they’re uncomfortable. There’s been a lot of change. … Change is hard and I’m always encouraging our players to have better conversations and relationships with our staff.
“Since those conversations with Eric and the players, I’ve seen improvements. I can honestly say the last two practices have probably been the best training camp, I think it’s been great. For me, a team is starting to embrace the message and how he does things and how we do things. Shows an attitude of wanting.
Rivera added that he “owns” his comments, including the mixed message he sent about Bieniemy and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. He didn’t want to pit the coordinators against each other.
“I didn’t quite communicate it and I met Eric,” Rivera said. “We had a great conversation, and it was great. I think the biggest thing is that we’re all on the same page. … I’m fortunate to have an experienced staff, guys like Eric and Jack, and a roster of players who want to take this franchise to the next level. The players and the staff support each other. We are all working to create a culture where feedback is valued.
Rivera raised eyebrows on Tuesday when he said some players approached him about Benemi’s training regimen and said “they were a little concerned.”
Discussing those concerns without any pressure or pointed questioning, Rivera also noted on Tuesday how there are alternative training tactics. Del Rio has a tendency to try to find guys a little bit more, rather than, “Hey, this is it, this is how it’s going to be,” he said.
Asked why he made those comments Wednesday, Rivera said he was trying to convey how coaches do things differently.
What about Rivera’s latest comments?
Rivera’s attempt to clarify his Tuesday comments was based on a league-wide focus rather than a change in stance.
Yes, the head coach admitted he could have been more clear. Rivera, as he did early on, reiterated that Bainemi’s attitude and energy needed and needed work. He reiterated his admiration for Bieniemy’s view that “you have to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
“You can’t deny that yesterday was a good practice … and I think they understand what they have to do,” Rivera said.
The coach and former linebacker with the Chicago Bears mentioned Del Rio in his Bieniemy comments on Tuesday. Doing so presupposes a direct comparison between the two coordinators, Rivera explained Wednesday.
“I tried to convey that we have our own way. And one is not better than the other. I had (Bears defensive coordinator) Buddy Ryan ride me for two years. I had (Bears head coach) Mike Ditka ride me for nine. That’s the way they did things. .
For now, consider this a minor note rather than a new story in a post-Don Snyder world. The first on-field test is Friday in Cleveland and the play of quarterback Sam Howell and the entire offense will be the focus, hopefully. – Stantic
What is Bainimi’s training method?
There is intensity, and there is meaning. Bieniemy’s training regimen is firmly in the former category. So while the practice upgrades the offensive coordinator’s voice continues to be heard ‚ Rivera, before his news comments on Tuesday, initially noted Bieniemy’s impact as “loud” — and not necessarily negative.
He insists on running to the “finish,” as if he’s stopped early, but continues to press for the end zone. Sometimes Bieniemy yelled at the starting offense or had to leave the huddle when certain players were unhappy with their approach.
The wonder, however, is whether that level of intensity applies to all players or is sustained over the course of a long season. For now, players have spoken favorably of Bieniemy’s style when asked publicly. Antonio Gibson said that faster procedures require an adjustment period. Gibson also noted that he feels like he’s in the best shape of his career.
While we don’t know when some players addressed Rivera (OTA? mini-camp? Monday?), it’s not surprising that some players expressed concern. Rivera’s surprising sharing of information is another story. – Stantic
Washington hired Bieniemy as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator in February. Bieniemy has been with Kansas City since 2013, first as the running backs coach and then, beginning in 2018, as the offensive coordinator. He won two Super Bowls with the Chiefs in 2020 and 2023.
Washington went 8-8-1 in the NFC East last season. The Generals are averaging just 18.9 points per game, 24th in the NFL.
(Photo: Geoff Burke / USA Today)
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