In recent Washington Commanders' practices, there has been a noticeable uptick in the intensity level. Players are being pushed harder, voices are louder, and the stakes seem higher. This is largely attributable to the team's new offensive coordinator and assistant head coach, Eric Bieniemy, who is drawing both praise and concern for his coaching style.
A Coach Unyielding in His Beliefs
Bieniemy is no stranger to clear communication and has a straightforward approach to coaching. "I'm always going to be loud, always going to be vocal, always going to demand from my leaders," he declared.
The former NFL player, known for his drive and determination, understands the high stakes of his role, saying, "If I ain't doing my job, my ass gets fired. It's my job and my responsibility to make sure I'm getting our guys to do what I'm expecting them to do." He stresses the importance of understanding that nothing should be taken for granted in the game.
Often seen pulling players aside for deep discussions, Bieniemy aims to ensure everyone is aligned with his vision. As he aptly puts it, "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 the biggest and harshest critic but also their No.
1 fan. I got their back ... all the time."
A Shift in Coaching Dynamic
However, Bieniemy's assertive approach has raised eyebrows. Some players have approached head coach Ron Rivera, expressing reservations about the intensity Bieniemy brings to practice.
Rivera, addressing these concerns, mentioned, "I had a number of guys come to me and I said, 'Hey, just go talk to him.' I said, 'Understand what he's trying to get across to you.' " The results have been heartening for Rivera. "As they go and they talk and they listen to him, it's been enlightening for a lot of these guys.
I mean, it's a whole different approach." Rivera, who has navigated the dynamics of various coaching styles throughout his career, also noted the distinct differences between his coordinators. While [Defensive coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] has a more adaptive approach thanks to his head coaching experience, Bieniemy remains steadfast in his methods.
As Rivera summarized, "Eric has an approach and it's the way he does things and it's not going to change because he believes in it."