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Bieniemy makes the case for second season with Howell, Commanders



Sunday’s game between the Washington Commanders and the New York Jets will feature the NFL’s worst possible matchup, at least on one side of the ball.


The Commanders defense ranks No. 32 in the league, but the Jets offense is also No. 32, dead last.

Which will prevail, the movable force or the stoppable object, will be settled on the field.


The other half of the game features a more intriguing matchup,

as the Jets defense, which has been largely successful this year,

takes on a Commanders offense that has been statistically proficient, but has sputtered in recent weeks.


After being benched last week in the fourth quarter, Sunday represents an opportunity for Sam Howell to reclaim his status as the team’s starter, both now and into next season.


His success will also reflect on offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy,

who was asked on Thursday what another year together would do for the duo, and the rest of the unit.


“Right now, honestly, he’s learning the system,” Bieniemy said.

“He’s still continuing to learn the system. There’s other things he has to learn, too.

There’s a lot of complex defensive coordinators out there that are going to present different issues to him.

And that’s a major test each and every week.

Not only is he being tested by us and being evaluated, but on top of that, he’s being tested by what he’s seeing every single play.


“When those things can become secondary to him, now the game can slow down for him.

A second year would be outstanding because it would help him to continue that growth process.”


Coach Ron Rivera will be on his way out after the season, but Bieniemy’s future is murkier.

His success with the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Chiefs’ offensive struggles this year, will help him attract interest in the coaching market,

though whether he gets an opportunity to be a head coach, either in Washington or elsewhere, remains to be seen.


Bieniemy reiterated, as Rivera did after the game, that the decision to pull Howell sat with Rivera,

the head coach. Bieniemy said he agreed with the assessment,

but the two also agree Howell needs to get right back under center on Sunday.


“It was great for him going through that moment because it was a humbling experience for him,

but it also gave him an opportunity to grow by evaluating and just watching,

and having that opportunity to see a veteran handle and conduct himself in such a positive way,” Bieniemy said, referring to backup Jacoby Brissett.


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He’s got to get back on that horse,” Bieniemy said of Howell.

“The thing I’m noticing is that certain things, and I mean the little minute things,

not major things, but certain things that he would take for granted at times, he’s not doing that right now.


“So sometimes you need to be humbled. Sometimes you need to take a step back and really evaluate what’s going on.”


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