Andy Reid was not short on praise for longtime friend and new Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
The two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach was asked about Bieniemy, who coached under him for 10 years in Kansas City, during an appearance with 106.7 The Fan's Brian Mitchell and JP Finlay on Tuesday.
On the surface, it looks as though Bieniemy made a lateral move, leaving the Chiefs to take the same position with the Commanders. The nuance of course being that Reid calls all the plays in Kansas City even as Bieniemy technically served as his offensive coordinator for five seasons.
What did Reid communicate to Bieniemy about taking the job in Washington?
"He and I talk all the time, so that part was the easy part," Reid said. "We communicate and we communicate well. I'm not telling you I wanted to lose him to Washington, but at the same time, you want what's best for your guys. And so, EB's had a ton of interviews here for head coaches. He's worked his tail off to have that opportunity to be a head football coach in the National Football League, and it didn't work out, and some of it was because of the shadow that I think I cast. And we talked about it."
"And so, this gives him an opportunity to run his show," Reid said. "Now you know Ron [Rivera] and I are very close, too. I talked to Ron about this, too. But I talked to EB about if you can get with a defensive head coach, then normally what they're gonna do is let you go and run with this thing. And that's what he's gonna be able to do."
"That way he puts his name on it. No more Andy Reid on the side," he continued. "It's all about EB and he deserves that opportunity. Most of all, he deserves that opportunity. And he'll work great with Ron. Ron's phenomenal. He'll work great with Ron. They're two different personality types, but both of them love ball and both of them can teach, and that'll be a big thing."
Prior to coming to Washington, Bieniemy had developed a reputation – however unfairly – of being tough on his players, to the extent that people wonder if that's why he's been denied so many head coaching opportunities. Reid was asked if he could dispel this myth.
"You need some juice in this thing," Reid said. "And that's what the Commanders are getting. They're getting some juice with EB."
"And he loves his players, that's what's the most important thing," he said. "And he's gonna tell them when they do good, he's gonna tell them when they're not doing good, and he's gonna teach them how to do better when they screw up. I think every player wants that and that's the way he operates.
"And he's gonna come at ya, he's gonna challenge ya. I mean that's healthy. Nothing wrong with that. The guys, they have to understand that he wants to give everybody an opportunity to be great. And if he can do that, if he can present it that way and the guys are willing to accept that and actually try to be great, not just talk about it but try to be great, then you're gonna win a lot of games."