Eric Bieniemy spoke to the media before today’s practice. He Said Sam Howell did what he expected a first-year QB would do, but the good thing was that he played through the turnovers and mistakes. The team stuck together and showed grit when they pulled out the home victory over the Cardinals last week. Bieniemy and the coaching staff are preparing to travel to Denver to face Sean Payton’s Broncos. EB is very familiar with DC Vance Joseph, and has known him since he was a freshman in college.
Asst HC/OC Eric Bieniemy speaks to the media before Thursday's practice https://t.co/yJad7ViWXE— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) September 14, 2023
Eric Bieniemy always opens his weekly press conferences with an introduction and I kinda like it. Says Sam Howell showed flashes last week but he’s playing through the rough stuff like young QBs often do. pic.twitter.com/Znh9WCMXXl— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 14, 2023
Eric Bieniemy on Howell's Week 1 performance: "I thought Sam did, basically, what I thought a first-year starting quarterback would do. .... I thought we showed grit, we stuck together as a team and you need those life lessons."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 14, 2023
Eric Bieniemy: "I thought Sam did what a first year starting quarterback would do. ... The good thing was that Sam played through it. He made a play with his feet to give us an opportunity. ... Those are the things you build upon. We played with grit."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) September 14, 2023
Bieniemy: "When we needed Sam to be at his best, he was at his best & made plays for us. Guys will struggle & have bad moments. But that's why we practiced the way we practiced. Everything won't be perfect, but the only thing you have to do is be the best team over 60 minutes."— John Keim (@john_keim) September 14, 2023
You know what, I thought Sam did basically what a first year starting quarterback probably would do. And so I thought there was moments where he looked great, I thought there was moments where he just looked okay, and I thought there was moments that he can use as growing pains. But on top of that, using it as a life lesson springing forward.
So, the beauty of it is just like I say, and I keep saying this every single day that I’m here is every time something happens, it’s probably the first time that it’s happened to him. So, the good thing was that I thought Sam did was that he played through it. You know, he made a play with his feet to give us an opportunity, he put himself in the end zone.
So those are the things that you build upon. And the thing about it, like I said, I thought we showed grit, we stuck together as a team, and you need those life lessons and you guys are going to hear me say this throughout the entire season, okay?
It does not matter what the numbers are. The only thing that matters is that alphabet, did you find a way to get the W? And that’s what I’m proud of, I’m proud of us as an organization and proud of us as a team.
Preparing Sam Howell to play on the road in Denver:
Well, I’m pretty sure he played in some volatile stadiums when he played at North Carolina. Yes, Mile High is a very prestigious stadium, it’s a loud stadium, the energy and the fan base, they get behind that team. But our objective is not to worry about that. Our objective is to make sure that we’re getting our guys ready and on top of that, we have to eliminate that as a distraction. So, there are things that we can prepare them for, there are things that we can practice, but at the end of the day, we still got a game to play and so all of that does not matter, only thing that matters is that kickoff is at 2:05 or 2:25, whenever it is. Hell, we’ll line up in the parking lot at Mile High, we’ll line up in the parking lot here, at the end of the day, our guys just want to go out there and play.
Broncos DC Vance Joseph:
Eric Bieniemy will be facing his good friend and former CU teammate Vance Joseph on Sunday in Denver.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 14, 2023
"He has a heck of a scheme," Bieniemy said. "... He's always going to give a quarterback, especially a young quarterback, an unscouted look to cause confusion."
Bieniemy on facing longtime friend and Denver DC Vance Joseph: "Because he played in the secondary, he will always give a young quarterback an unscouted look to where he can cause confusion. Our job is to prepare our guys for those unscouted looks."— John Keim (@john_keim) September 14, 2023
Now, the beauty of playing against this Defensive Coordinator, I’ve known this Defensive Coordinator since he was a freshman in college. So, he’s a personal good friend of mine and we’ve had an opportunity to work together for years. I mean, hell, we trained together in college and when we played in the league, but I know VJ and I’m not going to say I know his entire defensive scheme, but he has a heck of a scheme.
The thing I know about VJ, because VJ played in the secondary, he’s always going to give a quarterback, especially a young quarterback, an unscounted look to where he can cause confusion. So our job, is to make sure each and every week that we’re preparing our guys for all those unscounted looks, always expect the unexpected, apply your rules and go play.
Winning vs the Cardinals:
Bieniemy says "it does not matter what the numbers are, the only thing that matters is that alphabet and did you find a way to get the W. That's what I'm proud of."— John Keim (@john_keim) September 14, 2023
Bieniemy says last week's win "everything wasnt perfect" but that his team stayed together to make things happen in a win— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 14, 2023
Eric Bieniemy: "Guys are going to struggle and guys are going to have bad moments, but that's why we trained and practice the way we do. ... We collectively found a way to be creative and we dragged our ass across the finish line."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 14, 2023
EB said he thought guys may have been trying too hard on Sunday. "When we had to make plays, we made plays and found a way to finish."— George Wallace (@GWallaceWTOP) September 14, 2023
Eric Beiniemy on calling plays last week: "It was fun, it was great having that opportunity." EB makes clear he's called plays before too.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 14, 2023
Eric Bieniemy on play-calling in Week 1: "It was good. Obviously, I've been doing this for a number of years. I don't think anybody ever thought I called plays, but I have called plays (laughs). So it was good."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 14, 2023
Terry McLaurin’s four targets in Week 1:
Well I would say this, I would say the Commanders came away with a victory and Terry is about as happy as anybody. So, you got to understand, in order to build a great team, you got to learn to appreciate winning. Wins are hard to come by, the numbers will take care of themselves.
The thing that I appreciate is the leadership that he provided during that process because when things wasn’t going good, you got to be able to lean on your leaders. You got to be able to lean on them to provide these guys some expertise in making sure that we’re staying together. Those are the moments that I love throughout the course of the game. You never really want to live through that experience, but you want to see those guys rise to the challenge.
I can tell you right now, the last thing Terry’s worried about is the number of targets. Okay, he’s 1-0, he got an opportunity to play at home with a fan base that came out to support him and his team.
EB on Denver: "They've always had a great defense. It's an historic organization. Coach Payton is a hell of a coach."— George Wallace (@GWallaceWTOP) September 14, 2023
Running game Week 1 vs Week 2:
You know what, I saw five guys up front, including some tight ends. I saw them guys come off the ball, I saw them play hard. It wasn’t always perfect, but they showed grit and they strained. B-Rob got in there and did a heck of a job, the young buck got in there, Chris and he ran hard and that was good to see because at times you have to run the ball when everybody knows that you’re going to run it. And then, when you get in situations like that in the rut that we kind of got into, we wanted to make sure that we can chew up clock. But on top of that, you know what, let’s just go out here and find a way to move the chains by making sure that we display all the hard work that we’ve shown and put in getting to this point.
So, it was fun watching them, and I’ll say this, okay, everything wasn’t perfect, but the thing that I enjoyed, I enjoy watching them play together. I enjoyed watching them communicate with each other on the sideline, talking about all the nuances that they can do, looking forward to the next drive. So that’s what makes this fun and that’s the challenge of being in this profession is watching these guys grow, but watching them come together and making things happen.
Coaching the running backs on fumbling:
Here’s the thing, there’s always repercussions, but they shouldn’t have to be reminded because they know nobody ever goes into a game wanting to fumble. And like I told AG, I said, listen, things happen. It’s okay all right. You’re still very much a part of who we are. At the end of the day, we know we got to protect it. We got to basically keep it high and tight in the open field. We got to have two hands on and in traffic and on the way down, we got to have it covered with two arms. And like, I always remind, not just AG, but everyone, you are not the prize, okay? When you’re playing offensive football that ball is by far the most important element on that field that everybody wants. We just got to do a better job of protecting it. And as a team, we didn’t do that offensively, and that falls right back on myself and our entire culture staff. So, we’re making sure that we’re addressing those issues, but not to a point to where everybody’s playing uptight now. We just want them to be aware of it because of what we put on tape. And when you put something like that on tape, guess what? They going to try and expose that as a weakness. So, it’s our job to make sure that that doesn’t happen.
Shifting to a run heavy approach in the game:
Yes, I did. But during that time, I just felt that we needed to run the ball and just getting that energy and feeding off the guys and being in that atmosphere, I felt our guys can run it. And you know, obviously, being around [Kansas City Chiefs Head] Coach [Andy] Reed, he’s kind of spoiled me. And I told you guys, I become a sellout when it comes to the pass game, you know, former running back. But, I actually put my hard hat on and said, you know what? Let’s let these guys go win it. Let’s let these guys set the tone and I thought they did a great job, and I’ll say this, it wasn’t always pretty, but it was effective and we found a way to win. That’s by far the most important. We understand that we got things to work on, we’re going to get better. But the thing I want to make sure of is that we’re doing what is right by our team.
Logan Thomas’ Week 1 performance:
Like I said, you could talk about everybody. Some guys played good in certain moments and certain guys didn’t play as good in certain moments, but when it’s all said and done with, we won. He caught the ball well, he dropped some. Obviously, he would love to not have any drops, but it didn’t phase him. When we needed him to be at his best, he was at his best, just like every other player, okay? When we needed Sam to be at his best, Sam was at his best and he made plays for us. That’s what this is about. Guys are going to struggle and guys are going to have bad moments, but that’s how we’ve trained. That’s why we practice the way we practice, because we know and understand everything is not going to be perfect, but at the end of the day, the only thing that you have to do is be the best team for over 60 minutes.
Commanders RB Brian Robinson told reporters that assistant S&C coach/nutritionist Jake Sankal told players to drink beet juice to help them acclimate to the altitude Denver. Why?— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 14, 2023
Beet juice is rich in nitrate, which helps with blood flow.
Dwight Schrute is wrong. Beets are gross. pic.twitter.com/6nbnrEXscE— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 15, 2023
Curtis Samuel finished Week 1 as commanders leading receiver. Landed on injury report yesterday. Getting a good stretch in today but seems ok. Seen here next to McLaurin pic.twitter.com/MItqn1a5Bs— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 14, 2023
Chase Young not with defensive line for initial drills. He’s talking with assistant trainer Doug Quon pic.twitter.com/qd4chtI8jO— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) September 14, 2023