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Eric Bieniemy Presser: In order to appreciate winning, you have to despise losing

Washington’s offensive coordinator and players talk to the media after practice

Eric Bieniemy

Opening Statement:

Good afternoon. Hope all is well with everyone. Seems like it’s been a long time since we’ve had this opportunity to share. Right now, obviously we’ve had a few unfortunate situations that have taken place with the losses that we’ve had. But one thing I will say, our guys are in great spirits and know exactly where we are and why we are in this particular situation. And the best thing about being in this situation is that everybody has a complete understanding on how to work themselves out of it. So, with that said, you know, it’s Thursday. It’s our situational football day. Yesterday, we did a heck of a job with the focus, with our intent, with our purpose. Right now, we seem to be in the right place, with the right mindset. So, I’m very, very excited about practice and looking forward to the next step. All right. With that said, I’m all ears.

Losing streak:

Protecting Sam Howell:

You want to make sure that you’re taking care of your quarterback. Obviously, some of that is self-inflicted wounds by him, but also too, I mean, we’re a team and collectively we all take our share in the blame. So, we just need to make sure that we’re doing a great job of protecting upfront. We gotta make sure that we’re giving our guys all the answers on how to handle all the different issues.

But then when it’s all said and done, we just need to perform and execute better and you would love to keep the quarterback clean. Obviously, this is the National Football League. Sometimes things happen and I’ll say this, sometimes without any bad luck, we wouldn’t have any good luck.

The beauty of it is, I think all of this that has happened is helping us to grow together. The thing that I’m finding is the communication level between players. Also with coaches, I can see the growth process. One thing that you learn and I’ve shared this before and I was just telling our players, this communication is the key to any successful relationship.

I like where we are because I can see our guys doing a much better job of over communicating at the line of scrimmage. I can hear them in the background communicating, making all the necessary calls. So yes, would we like to be better? Yes. Would we like to keep him clean? Yes. Okay. But for whatever reason, that has brought us to this place, and it’s making us a much better team.

Keeping Howell in the Buffalo and Chicago game and what he gained from that:

Well, when I was a young player, I wanted every opportunity to gain as much experience as possible. So being a former player, I know how players think and so players don’t want to ever be pulled. So, the thing that I’m looking at is just giving Sam an opportunity to learn how to grow and play through the good as well as the bad. This is why we are a team. You can grow. You can learn things from those experiences. So, when it’s all said and done with, this is a part of the process that we are supposed to have at this current moment.

Players improving by not taking sacks and getting rid of the ball:

I think every day is a learning process for Sam. So, you know, it’s unfortunate that these sacks have happened. I think there is some good that has taken place. I mean, obviously you never want the outcome to be what it was, but I thought Sam did a heck of a job of managing the game. I thought he played his tail off. I thought he competed. I thought he hung in the pocket. I thought he tried to do everything that we asked him to do. So, when you have a player of that magnitude, obviously you don’t want the bad to take place. But the thing that I’m learning about Sam is that Sam is just a competitor. Sam wants to do right. He does not want to let his teammates down. The thing that I appreciate about him is, he doesn’t back down from anything. He feels that there’s nothing he can’t handle. So, with him having that attitude and mindset, yes, it is my job as a coach to protect him, but also too, how are we going to get the playing experience if we don’t learn how to play through those times, through those experiences. So right now, I think he’s doing a great job of handling everything. Proud of what he’s done. And I mean, we’re five games into this and I truly believe everything is looking up.

Is Logan Thomas leading the team in targets a product of defenses taking away the WRs or wanting to get him the ball:

Well, I think it’s a combination of both. And sometimes when you’re in a situation where we just haven’t been playing this well, you just wanna make sure that you can go out and do the things that can help your team to function. So right now, obviously Logan has more targets, I don’t think anybody’s upset about that. I think more than anything, we’re all upset that we haven’t had as much success as we think we should be at right now.

And so, the biggest thing is just making sure that we’re dotting our I’s and crossing all our T’s. Obviously, there are players that we prefer to target, but when it’s all said and done with, okay, our job is to win games. That’s our job. Our job as a staff is to make sure that we’re putting our players in the positions to be successful.

Okay and then on top of that, we gotta learn together as a staff and collectively as an offensive unit, how to handle the shit. This shit, excuse my language, is not right.

And so, for whatever reason, we’ve placed ourselves in those situations. And the thing that I can say is obviously you don’t ever want to go through that. But in going through it, it has helped us to grow. It’s helping me to grow. Okay? It’s helping our coaches to grow, together. It’s also helping each and every individual player, because first and foremost, they’re taking a look in the mirror and basically evaluating what are they doing. What can they do better? On top of that, we’re doing that collectively as a group. All right?

At the end of the day, we want to make sure that everybody’s doing everything under the sun to make sure that we can right this ship. And so, yes, no one wants to be in this situation, but one thing I will say, I’m grateful for having this opportunity because I can see the light. It may not be shining as bright outside of these walls, but I can see the light because I can see the growth in our guys. I can see the growth in our players. I can see the growth in our offensive unit collectively.

Handling the shit:

Refocusing and leading the group into the week:

I think more than anything, the thing that I do, jump right into it. I’m a guy that always prides himself in being the hardest worker. I’m gonna study. I’m probably over preparing in most cases because I always want to have the answers. And if I can’t, if I don’t have the answer, it’s my job to find the answer.

And so, the way I get back in focus is just getting right back where everything starts, it starts in that classroom, okay? It starts with some of the things that I’ve learned throughout my career as a player and throughout my coaching career, whether it was with Coach Gary Burnett early at the University of Colorado or with Carl Durrell at UCLA or with Brad Childress with the Minnesota Vikings or John Embree at the University of Colorado or with Coach Andy Reid and so you lean on those things. You lean on some of those experiences to help you to reenergize and recharge and refocus, because when it’s all said and done with, these guys are gonna feed off of my energy.

Evaluations:

These guys are gonna react to how I react. Just like I’m evaluating them, they’re evaluating me. One thing they’re not gonna see from me is a person that’s slacking in any area. I may be slacking with the razor and the workouts. So I mean, I need to work out more. That’s what I need to do better, but they’re not gonna see me taking anything for granted that can help us moving forward. So those are the things that helps me to recharge.

Family:

And then my family just got here. They just got here this weekend, so I’m excited. My wife, my kids, the young adults, I should say they’re here. That makes it even more fun because now when I go home, it’s just not me in an empty home going straight to bed. Now I can go home and talk about my day and share these experiences with my family.

Ron Rivera:

Our conversations have been great. First of all, I’ve known Coach Ron since, I mean, obviously I knew of him as a player, but having an opportunity to be on that staff with him, I mean, on that 1999 football team in Philly, I was just blessed and fortunate to develop a lot of relationships with a lot of those coaches. And obviously a lot of those coaches became head coaches.

So the thing that I love about Coach Rivera is that he’s always upbeat. He’s always talking about all the good. He’s never focused on anything negative. That’s what I love when we’re sharing our conversations, because he’s always sharing the good, but just like he shared a few stats on Sam when you think things aren’t as good as they are.

Sam Howell’s growth process:

Well hell, you look at Sam’s growth process, obviously, you know, you don’t want him taking the hits that he has taken. You probably don’t want a young quarterback slinging it around the park that much. But you know what, Sam has done a great job of handling that. He’s doing a great job in a number of things.

Now, I’m not a stats guy, okay, but sometimes when you look at them, you’re like, well damn, I guess we’re doing okay. Obviously, we have to fix some things. We have to fix a few things. But now that needs to translate in the win column. So when me and coach are talking, we’re talking about all the good, all the things that we need to continue focusing on, and how we going to keep uplifting these guys and getting them excited about what’s next.

Balancing cohesion with the offensive unit:

Well, first of all my name is boss, my name is offensive coordinator. My name is former player. My name is Dad. My name is Uncle. My name Is sometimes counselor, sometimes my name is, Hey, sometimes guys need a shoulder to lean upon. So the thing is there is a delicate situation. We obviously are all professionals we’re all grown adults and understand exactly what our charge is. But also, I’m sensitive to the nature because I was once a player, okay. I was once one of those guys who have been through some hardships on some teams that didn’t have the best of luck.

So sometimes you’re just looking for someone to lean on, just sometimes you can be in there for them, or sometimes just a comfortable space for them to sit and relax. And so at the end of the day, I’m enjoying all the roles and all the hats that’ve been designated to me because each and every person on this team is very different. And you got to handle each and every person different.

But collectively, we all know why we are here. We’re here to win games. We are here to win the NFC East. We are here to establish home field advantage. We are here to win the Super Bowl. That’s the charge, that’s the goal. That’s not going to change.

But on top of that too, there’s a human element of it. And we just got to make sure that we don’t lose sight of the people that we’re actually working with as well.

Early success/deficits:

I’d like to sit here and say it doesn’t impact anything, but I’ll be telling you a lie obviously. There’s a lot of things that go into a game plan wanting to do. But at times, unfortunate things happen. And my job is to make sure that I’m giving us every opportunity to have a chance.

The unfortunate thing was we need to make sure that we can find a way to have early success for whatever reason when you’re establishing building a culture and you’re trying to get everyone on board with everything, sometimes it’s easy to go back to what you’re used to. Sometimes it gets easy when things don’t go right, it’s easy to say, well damn here we go again.

Nah, that’s not who we are. That’s not why we are here. Everybody in this building has dreamed about basically putting themselves on that stage and taking that trophy home with them. So it’s our job as coaches collectively to make sure that our guys are staying focused on the prize.

Now, we obviously didn’t get off to a great start. One thing I’m proud of, and I thought we could’ve played much better, but I’m proud of the way that we played the second half. We came out with the energy that I was expecting in the beginning. Now we just need to find a way to make sure that energy starts from play one. How are we going to get that done?

I’m working that out. I don’t know. But when it’s all said and done with these guys understand, it is important for us to start strong and to finish strong, and to also not take anything for granted when it comes to playing throughout the course of a game. Because I think right now, we just don’t know how to maintain a high focus of success, just making sure that we can strive for perfection throughout the course of a 60-minute process.

So we’re still trying to figure that out. But the thing that I like is the communication. I said that earlier, the communication aspect of it. I’m watching our guys talk through some things. I’m watching them handle things in between plays. I’m listening to them while they’re at the line of scrimmage. It’s been some good stuff.

There’s a lot of growth that has been taking place. And just like I said earlier, this is exactly where we need to be. Ideally, you don’t want to be sitting here at two and three, but for whatever reason, we put ourselves in that situation. And it’s helping us to grow collectively. It’s helping us to grow individually, but the thing I’m loving about it is helping us to grow as an offensive unit together.

Has the challenge been greater than expected coming to Washington:

No, not at all. Every season, you have to understand this is the NFL. Everybody gets paid to play. Everybody gets paid to coach, everybody gets paid to win. Everybody wants to be that guy that’s standing on the leaderboard being that winner. But for whatever reason, that’s not where we are.

Has it been tough? Nah. This is where we need to be. Ideally, you would always like it to be better, but when this becomes a job, then I know it’s time to walk away. This is the fun part trying to put all the pieces together so now we can have an established foundation that we can build upon and keep building upon it.

Now, when these young guys start coming around, or newer guys start becoming a part of who we are now, they’re going to understand, ‘Hey, you know what? We’re not a part of that. We don’t do that anymore. This is who we are. This is what we are about. This is what we are proud of and this is how we going collectively continue to build and grow together.’

Brian Robinson:

Brian has done a hell of a job and first of all, when you’re going through games like we had, it’s unfortunate because things happen, but you never ever want to leave out players from the game plan.

Obviously, the game got away from us, so we felt we had to do some other things to give us a chance to get us back in position. The thing about it, we were so close to getting that game back within seven, and yeah, you don’t want to neglect your best players.

Brian has done a hell of a job of working his tail off. The thing I love about the kid is that he just comes to work every single day. He doesn’t complain. He just wants to do whatever he can do to help us to be better. That’s what you appreciate.

When you’re building a culture, when you are establishing a foundation, those are the type of people that you want to build it with because he gets it. Sometimes we don’t know what it is, but he gets it. His personality and his attitude are contagious and it impacts everybody around him. When you’re watching him work on a consistent basis, the only thing you want for him just like most all of our players, you want them to have success.

But right now, this is where we are, and this is who we are. We are a two and three football team that’s not playing very well, but we are learning that consistency is the key to success, and we got to learn how to become a consistent unit.

55 straight passes:

Well, you’re evaluating yourself. Obviously, you want to do everything under the sun to win. I think Andy Reid would be proud of me that we threw it 55 or how many times was it 55? I think he would probably be sitting up there like, ‘yeah EB, I see you. Once upon a time, you were asking for 25, 30 carries for Jamaal Charles. Now you’re slinging it around the park.

I mean, you try and give your guys the best opportunity to go win. And no, you never want to come into a game and say we’re going to throw it 55 straight times. But at that particular time, I felt that was what was needed. I felt that was what was needed to give us a boost.

Throughout that I thought our guys played their tails off. There’s just a few plays that if I would’ve, should’ve, could’ve, no telling what happens. The thing that we’re learning is we can’t take those moments for granted.

We’re also learning what the term accountability means. These guys have heard me say this over and over and over again, that indirectly we all impact each other’s lives. We got to make sure that we’re doing all the little detailed things that are necessary that can help us to have the success that we need to have. It’s not just about studying and being a bookworm. It’s about how you take care of your body, making sure that you got the right habits at home, getting the amount of rest.

Then when you’re coming into this building, I’m coming into this building with the right attitude and the right mindset. Then understanding that collectively, throughout the course of a game, you may be called upon three times to be great. The question is, as you watch and you go through that process, is have you prepared yourself mentally and physically to be great for those defining moments? I think our guys saw that in true form in this game.

The thing these guys are understanding is I have to do my part collectively. We’re understanding I have to do my part individually. We’re learning I have to do my part because if I do my part I’m giving us a chance to have a chance. This is where we are.

Nobody wants to be 2-3, but I’m sitting here telling you that everything now is looking up because the growth process for us has been great because we’re growing together, we’re learning together, we’re learning about each other.

Despise losing:

I’ve learned this, losing gets on my nerves. I’m being serious. In order to appreciate winning, you have to despise losing. I despise it. It’s my job to make sure that we don’t have to go through these emotions. How do I conquer that? I got to make sure that I’m doing everything under the sun, making sure that we don’t go through these experiences. Making sure that our coaches are armed with the right information.

On top of that, just making sure there’s anything that I can go back and plan it a different way, what would I do? It’s helping me basically reevaluate everything. That’s what I’m learning. How to reassess self.


Jahan Dotson

Eric Bieniemy: