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Eric Bieniemy Presser: Sam Howell did a heck of a job keeping his eyes down field vs the Falcons

Eric Bieniemy talks to the media before practice

Eric Bieniemy

Opening Statement:

Good afternoon. Hope all is well, feels good after coming off a victory. I thought it was a great team victory this past weekend, in all elements, in all phases of the game. Obviously, we played a good decent half of football, came out in the third quarter, did some good things, but now we got to learn how to put consistent behavior on tape. So, with all that said, our guys’ attitude and mindset are in the right place. The only thing that we want to do is to continue building off what we established. With that said, I’m all ears.

Giants defense:

I saw a pretty good aggressive defense last week fly around and pretty much shut Buffalo down. That’s a good offense, who’ve done a number of things throughout the course of the years with the personnel that they have. I thought that defense did a great job of just playing sound football. Obviously, it didn’t end the right way, but I’ll tell you what, this is the league. Obviously, you got to make sure that regardless of what their record is, we have to make sure that our attitude and mindset is in the right place because we’re not here to play down to a record. We are here to play an NFL team that’s pretty good. They’ve had some unfortunate luck, but our job is to make sure that we’re taking care of business. But that defense is very, very impressive.

Improvements for the offense:

Well, obviously you never want to have the high number of sacks that we have. You know, first and foremost, the young quarterback is still learning how to play the game. Then on top of that, he just needs to continue to improve with his mechanics and the things that he’s doing. I think that’ll help everything out.

Then our O-Line, they’re doing a heck of a job, they just need to continue protecting. But on top of that, as you know, this game goes hand in hand. It doesn’t make a difference who’s making the mistake. We all get the blame for it. When it’s all said and done, we got to make sure that we’re giving our guys the right info, the right details, so they can just continue to improve. But the thing I like is our guys, our mindsets, are in the right place.

Coaching Sam Howell:

Well, you coach him day-to-day, just like we normally do. You bring him outside for individual drills, you point out the issues that always show up on tape at times, and then you just address them and you continue working with a young quarterback as you’re supposed to.

Improving on first and second downs outside of preventing sacks:

Well, first of all, we got to be good in whatever we call. So, I got to be a better play caller. We got to be better at executing and then we just got to come out and start fast. There’s been some times throughout the course of the season we’ve came out on fire for whatever reason. We just haven’t got that consistent momentum going. So, I have to do a better job of calling plays, getting our guys in rhythm. On top of that, our guys got to come out and play with that energy and that same fire and desire. One thing we all know, we’re all in this together. So, whatever that is, we have to start fast, we have to start strong. On top of that, we got to learn how to maintain and finish stronger throughout the course of the game.

Washington’s WRs vs Wink Martindale’s defense:

Oh yeah, one thing when you’re playing against this defensive coordinator who’s a heck of a defensive coordinator, a good friend, Wink has been doing this for a long time. He’s very creative with the schemes that he designs. One thing that you know is that he’s going to try and get after a young quarterback. So, we have to prepare ourselves for anything and everything, and even the unscouted looks.

Our job is to make sure our guys are sound in what we’re doing. On top of that, it’s our job to make sure that we’re giving the quarterback answers right away, so now he doesn’t have to think as much. Now he can go out there, react and play. This coordinator is a good one, but it’s our job to make sure that we go out there and not allow the coordinator to have an impact on what we want to accomplish. We want to come out and establish our rhythm, making sure that we are in sync and we’re doing the necessary things that’s going to help lead us to victory.

How the wide receivers can find success:

You know what, there’s a lot that needs to take place. Obviously, Coach Bobby does a great job of working with those guys throughout the course of the week. Obviously, Bobby played a long time, so his knowledge and wisdom and expertise in that area is one to look up to. But you have to have a plan versus man coverage. What am I talking about when having a plan? You got to understand exactly what type of technique they’re playing. Then you got to make sure that you’re working on releasing at the line of scrimmage. You got to win at the line of scrimmage.

On top of that, now you got to win at the second level because regardless of penalties being called or not called, guys are going to grab, they’re going to do that, that’s a part of the game. So, we got to have a plan at the line of scrimmage, then we got to execute that plan, but then we got to have a plan at the second level on how we’re going to escape and release to the appropriate depth and the route that we’re running. You always got to work on that and the thing about it, we have to play with speed.

So what other better way to beat man coverage? You got to play with great speed, but you got to be violent with your hands as well in hand-to-hand combat.

Adjustments from the wide receivers to get more in sync:

You know what, I think every week you learn something different. This is just Week Six. Still got a lot of season left. I think our guys are learning each other. I think they’re continuing to learn the expectations of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. And so yeah, there’s some things that we’re learning, but there’s also some things that you’re seeing improvement with.

The thing that I’m excited about is just watching these guys how into it they are. They’re just so mentally and physically, just ready to work because you know, these guys know the difference between when they did something good and when they haven’t played as well. So, these guys are anxious about making sure that they’re doing the little things that’s gonna help them moving forward.

So, those are the things that I’m learning and the things that I like about it is just showing how much we compete and how many competitors we have on this team.

Increasing the yards after catch vs man coverage:

Well, I think it’s a combination of everything. You know, those guys on the other side of the ball get paid too, so they play pretty good defense. And then on top of that, our guys, obviously there’s little things that we can continue to work. You can always work on, like I said, release work, you know, releases. And I know it sounds easier said than done, but there’s a hand-to-hand combat that takes place when you’re at the line of scrimmage. Alright. Then there’s also another hand-to-hand combination that takes place when you’re in space. And so, you have to work on releases and then after the catch. Okay, what type of proximity? Are you close to a defender? You know, I thought Terry did a heck of a job on the shallow cross of running through the would be tackler. There’s been sometimes we’ve had that opportunity and sometimes we haven’t. Obviously, you would love for all your guys to touch the ball and go to distance, but that’s not real. Those guys get paid as well.

Position flexibility and the influence it has on the starting offensive line:

I think you always look for the best five, but on top of that, you are always happy that you have capable backups that you can plug and play. Because those are the things that help develop great teams. And I thought Lucas did a heck of a job of stepping in at the last minute and playing pretty good for us. When it’s all said and done, our job is to evaluate our players. But on top of that, making sure that we got a good nucleus of groups that that can help us moving forward. Like I said, this is just game six. We’re still trying to discover and figure out exactly who we are, but on top of that, I’m enjoying the growth that we’re taking. Now I know it isn’t giant steps, it’s giant steps when you win, but there’s areas that we can always grow in and improve.

Growing phase with his play calling:

I think it’s always a process because you’re always trying to improve yourself. You always trying to make sure that you’re giving the best plays out there to give your guys an opportunity. So, there’s some plays that you wish that you could take back and there’s some plays that you’re fired up and excited about, but that’s just a part of being a coordinator. I think I’m right where I need to be, and that’s here with our guys sitting here at 3-3, just making sure that we’re all taking the necessary steps moving forward to help us all grow together.

Reminding Sam Howell of the internal clock he has to have as a QB:

Yeah, you could talk to him until he’s blue the face, right? But yes, those conversations are discussed on top of that, you know, you watch film together, so these things are discussed. Like I said, the kid is still a kid. He’s discovering how to become a professional football player at this level. Okay. Ideally, we would love for it to be perfect. That’s not necessarily the case.

The thing that I appreciate about Sam is that all the mistakes that he does make, he shows improvement. One of the biggest things that I’ve been harping on is telling him and making sure when he’s scrambling to keep his eyes down field. I thought he did a heck of a job in that game of keeping his eyes down field, when he scrambled out to the right and located Terry and made that big completion, that was huge. That’s improvement.

So as much as you want him to take the giant steps, there’s been some good baby steps that he’s been taking that’s been helping with his process. And so ideally, yes, I want him to work on his pocket presence. Okay, we’re working on that, but I’m not in his shoes. But the thing I do love about him is that he’s a competitor. He’s a great listener and he knows the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong. So that’s what makes it fun coaching him.

Howell not turning the ball over vs the Falcons:

I mean, that’s outstanding because basically when you don’t turn over the ball, your chances of winning, they increase tremendously. Hell, it led to us winning. Our defense created three turnovers. We didn’t turn the ball over. And so that was something that we celebrate because you never want to turn over the ball. And I thought our guys did a great job of protecting the football, which was huge, and it led to helping us secure the victory.

Nick Gates:

I love just being around Nick, even though he played at Nebraska. I don’t hold that against him all the time, but he played at Nebraska. But Nick’s a good dude. He’s fun to be around. I tell you one thing, the thing that I love about Nick, Nick never wants to be wrong, just like most players, but he gives you this look and it’s like, ‘Nick, you made a mistake. I’m not concerned about that. If you continue to make the same mistake, I have a problem. I want you to learn and grow from that particular mistake.’ And he’s one of those guys that always tells you, ‘Coach, I got this, I got your back, I’m going to make it right.’ And that’s what I love about him. It’s the accountability aspect of Nick. You know, obviously he has a fun-loving personality, but he still went to Nebraska. I’m not going to let him live that down. But he’s also doing a heck of a job for us.

Curtis Samuel

Ohio State vs Jahan Dotson’s Penn State: