Rivera clarifies his statement about Commanders players expressing concern with Bieniemy’s style

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, left, talks with owner Josh Harris during an NFL football practice at the team's training facility on Aug. 2 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Ron Rivera said Wednesday he spoke to Eric Bieniemy about his comments that some Washington Commanders players expressed concern over the new offensive coordinator’s coaching style, apologizing for the remarks that put him in hot water around the NFL.

Rivera attempted to clarify what he said about players coming to him to ask about Bieniemy’s vocal approach on the practice field.


“I basically told him I put my foot in my mouth,” Rivera said. “I think what I said wasn’t as clear as it needed to be. And I think the understanding of it is just the fact that I think everybody is making, in my opinion, a little more than needs to be made of this.”

Rivera, who hired Bieniemy fresh off the longtime assistant winning a second Super Bowl with Kansas City, said it was his intent to explain that coaches have different ways of doing things. He did that by contrasting Bieniemy with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who like Rivera has been a head coach in the pros before.

Bieniemy has not been hired for a head job in the NFL, despite interviewing with nearly half the league.

Players who worked under Bieniemy with the Chiefs came to his defense, including now-Miami receiver Tyreek Hill, who said on social media, “There is no other coach that has your back” like Bieniemy.

“Take that coaching and get better,” Hill posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “It’s tough but I promise you it will make you better.”

Bieniemy defended himself Tuesday, saying he has always been an intense coach who demands a lot from players.

“My job is to make sure that we’re doing it the right way,” Bieniemy said. “There’s a way to do it. Do they understand that? Yes, because they’re seeing the results. Will everybody buy in? I believe so, but if not, it’s OK, because you know what: My No. 1 job is to help take these guys to another level.”

NOTE: Sam Howell will start at quarterback in Washington’s preseason opener Friday at the Cleveland Browns, the Commanders confirmed Wednesday. Howell has gotten the vast majority of snaps with the first-team offense during camp, with veteran Jacoby Brissett receiving the others. It was not immediately clear how long Howell and the starters were expected to play in the exhibition game.

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