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Ron Rivera talks offensive staff changes

Ron Rivera talks offensive staff changes

After three seasons with Scott Turner as offensive coordinator, Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera felt the team needed a change.

Late last season, several offensive players spoke to The Washington Post about their frustrations with Turner and his game plans. The players knew Turner wasn’t to blame for everything, such as the revolving door at quarterback and a putrid offensive line in 2022, but Turner didn’t help himself in other areas.

In the report from Sam Fortier, multiple players spoke about their frustrations with play-calling, predictability, abandoning the running game and deviating from things in-game that were working.

These weren’t just players complaining. In going back and watching multiple Washington games, some of these issues were a theme. The most glaring example was Washington’s Week 15 loss to the New York Giants. Rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr. carried the 12 times for 89 yards; the Giants couldn’t stop him. Robinson averaged over seven yards per attempt, yet Turner somehow quit feeding him the ball. That loss had a big impact on the Commanders missing the playoffs.

Rivera dismissed Turner and after several weeks where he interviewed multiple candidates, eventually hired Eric Bieniemy away from Kansas City after the Chiefs won the Super Bowl. The appeal for Bieniemy was that he would be the unquestioned play-caller and play-designer. Essentially, he was the head coach of the offense, and that was reflected in his title as Bieniemy was also awarded the title of assistant head coach.

Another aspect of Bieniemy coming to Washington was that he’d have the opportunity to choose his own offensive staff, something Rivera felt was needed.

“We restructured the way the offensive coaching staff is gonna be structured,” Rivera said Friday after rookie minicamp. “We’ve moved some guys around over a couple of positions so they can help the younger coaches that we’ve elevated as well.”

One of those changes was letting go of longtime offensive line coach John Matsko. Assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton will eventually replace Matsko in an official capacity once the ownership situation is completely settled.

Other moves Bieniemy made were moving former quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese into more of an analyst role, hiring Tavita Pritchard as quarterbacks coach and Bobby Engram as wide receivers coach.

“A big part of it is for EB; it gives him channels of communication,” Rivera said. “I mean, he…

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