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For Eric Bieniemy, some things are different — while others are just the same

Kansas City’s former offensive coordinator has new responsibilities in Washington — but he’s still “EB”

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NFL: Washington Commanders Rookie Minicamp Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Just like the Kansas City Chiefs, the Washington Commanders are in the midst of their voluntary OTA program. So just like in Kansas City, Thursday gave the Washington press corps its first chance to speak with the Commanders’ new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy while he’s dressed in sneakers, shorts and a whistle.

And in many ways, Bieniemy was exactly the same as he was during the 10 seasons he spent as an assistant coach under Andy Reid in Kansas City.

“I’m pretty loud at practice,” Bieniemy told reporters on Thursday, via USA Today, “but it’s fun.”

Commanders players were full of praise for their new offensive coach, whom they address just as their Chiefs contemporaries did: as “EB.”

“EB is everything they said he would be,” offered running back Antonio Gibson. “He expects perfection from us.”

Wide receiver Terry McLaurin said he appreciates Bieniemy’s demeanor with his players.

“He’s going to bring that intensity,” he said. “When you come out here — and you have that kind of energy from your coach — you have no choice but to come out here and put the work in. I think it’s great that he set the tempo and tone like that.”

But while he may interact with players in a way familiar to Kansas City fans, Bieniemy has much more responsibility under Washington head coach Ron Rivera. He now has full control of the Commanders’ offense — including calling the plays — and Rivera has also named him the assistant head coach.

Bieniemy says is grateful for the opportunity.

“I just appreciate him allowing me to have some input,” he declared, “and he’s given me a little flexibility to help and adjust the schedules because he feels that certain things we needed to change — and I’m enjoying it because it allows me to have input.”

During his time with the Chiefs, Bieniemy (and his boss) always talked as if running the offense — and specifically, calling the plays — was a team effort; Bieniemy often referred to Reid as the man with 51% of the vote.

To at least some extent, that was likely true. Now that Bieniemy is with another team, however, it’s appearing that he may have had less responsibility in Kansas City than the Chiefs were willing to admit. It would certainly help explain why Bieniemy had so much difficulty securing a position as a head coach — and why he was willing to take what was widely seen as a lateral move to Washington: so that he could gain the experience he needs to become a head coach.

“Well, I think it’s part of what this is about,” said Rivera — himself a former assistant coach under Reid. “I think he relishes it. I mean, he’s one of those guys that very few people are gonna outwork. He works very hard at what he’s doing — and he’s developing his way of doing it.”

If you’ll pardon the expression... at the end of the day, that certainly sounds like the Bieniemy we know.

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