Rivera Regrets Recent Rhetoric
This Wednesday, Ron Rivera walked back recent comments about player concerns over Assistant Coach Eric Bieniemy.
“I had a number of guys come to me and I said, ‘Hey, just go talk to him.’ I said, ‘Understand what he’s trying to get across to you, As they go and they talk and they listen to him, it’s been enlightening for a lot of these guys. I mean, it’s a whole different approach. As a coach, I have to assimilate and get a feel for everybody,” Rivera said. “Eric has an approach and it’s the way he does things and it’s not going to change because he believes in it. [Defensive coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] has his approach. Having been a head coach, I think Jack has a tendency to try to figure guys out a little bit more as opposed to, ‘Hey, this is it, this is the way it’s going to be,’ that type of stuff. Eric hasn’t had that experience yet.” (Sourced from ESPN article)
This is what Rivera said to the media on Tuesday, followed by this on Wednesday: “I basically told him I put my foot in my mouth,” he said. “I think what I said wasn’t as clear as it needed to be. I think the understanding of it is just the fact that I think everybody’s making, in my opinion, a little bit more than needs to be made of this. Because again, the results are what you’re looking for on the field, and so far, the last couple days have been outstanding. I think Eric has done a great job of communicating his message now that guys have opened up, talked with him, he’s opened up to them. It’s been a great bit of growth the last couple of days that guys are starting to have the a-ha moments.” (sourced from NFL.com article)
Take what you will out of this, but Rivera has an ulterior motive for his original quotes in my opinion. He can apologize all he wants to, but there’s no doubt that Ron wanted to plant so seeds of doubt about Bieniemy’s coaching style and abilities. Rivera is smart enough to see the writing on the walls with a new ownership group in town; it’s time to either put up or pack your things.
Being a shrewd operator with the media is crucial for any head coach, and Rivera is also smart enough to know that his communication style is one of the knocks on Bieniemy has been for him not getting a head coaching gig at this point. This wasn’t just some random quote by Rivera, it was a play to put himself in a position to get more shine for any successes the team has this year. I don’t blame him for doing this, I just don’t want the general public to miss the point of what he was doing.
Your move, Eric.