Did the unnamed Washington Commanders players get off lightly for their remarks to head coach Ron Rivera about Eric Bieniemy's methods?
As the dust settles on what was an unnecessary distraction that centered on Eric Bieneimy's coaching methods, the question as to whether or not there will be any lingering resentment on the play-caller's behalf remains. While both the two-time Super Bowl winner and Ron Rivera are professional enough to focus on the task at hand, it's another example of how much damage one slip of the tongue can cause in an era of hot takes and making mountains out of molehills.
Rivera thought people made too much of it, although he did acknowledge that it should have been kept in-house. There is a real buzz about the Washington Commanders thanks to Dan Snyder's departure, so this was the last thing anybody needed with attention finally turning towards football matters once again.
Commanders players tabbed as 'sissies' by former TE
That should be the end of it until further notice. But one former Washington player felt those on the current roster who made the initial complaints have gotten off way too lightly.
Rick "Doc" Walker, who played six seasons with the now-Commanders and has a Super Bowl ring to show for his efforts, is firmly of the belief that Bieniemy is exactly what this team needs heading into such a critical campaign. He also accused the players involved of being a little soft in the pursuit of greatness via USA Today Sports.
"Now we have a new attitude, though some seem to have gotten their feathers ruffled over Bieniemy. I just hope he keeps doing what he is doing. Anybody that has ever gone from bad teams to good teams understands why bad teams are stuck on stupid. If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to keep getting the same results. All I care about is if we are better in September than we have been since Ron Rivera has run the team. We have got to be better in September. In order to do that, it gets ugly in the process. It’s not going to be perfect. You have to go through some tough times. I just want all the whiners that think EB’s practice. EB is training you to be a champion. I know it is foreign to a lot of these sissies, but the bottom line is that was pathetic what went down."- Rick Walker via USA Today Sports
Bieniemy's coaching style isn't for everyone - especially where the modern player is concerned. However, the results are evident and when the likes of Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes are constantly shouting your praises, that means something.
Becoming complacent and accepting of mediocrity might be the biggest complication here. Too many got away with too much under previous offensive coordinator Scott Turner, so having raised standards and a coach that has no trouble holding them accountable in front of their teammates represents a rude awakening in no uncertain terms.
Rivera knew what Bieniemy's approach was before he made bringing him into the franchise their top priority this offseason. Therefore, he probably expected one or two to voice some level of displeasure after having things so easy for so long.
Nothing worth having comes easy. Bieniemy seems to have everyone singing from the same hymn sheet now and anyone not pulling their weight over the next two weeks will be deemed surplus to requirements.
That's the long and short of it, really. The players probably did get off lightly, but it's Rivera's fault it became common knowledge in the first place, so the blame for this mess falls squarely on his shoulders.
Walker's points were valid. But it's time to move on.