The Commanders, one of just nine NFL teams that remain undefeated, are on a roll with new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. However, Washington’s coach knows they’ll be facing a huge challenge when it comes to facing the Bills defense, in particular, All-Pro linebacker Matt Milano.
Bieniemy, who spent the past the past five years as the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator under head coach Andy Reid, has not simply studied Milano’s body work, he might be the veteran’s biggest fan. During a press conference on Thursday, September 21, Bieniemy didn’t shy away from completely gushing over the Boston College alum.
“Let me give Mr. Milano his flowers. He is a beast. I am a fan of his,” Bieniemy said. “Over the years we’ve played, I can’t speak enough volumes for him because first of all, he probably doesn’t get the respect that he should. He flies all over. He makes a number of tackles throughout the course of the game. On top of that, he can cover. And then in that scheme, he’s just a key integral part in what they do.
“And you’ve got to understand, I’ve known (former Bills defensive coordinator and assistant head coach) Leslie Frazier for well over half my life. I’ve known (Bills head coach) Sean McDermott for well over half my life. So, I understand the position that that kid is playing. All the accountability that falls on his shoulders. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Milano, and they need to give him his respect because he’s just a hell of a player. I love what he brings to the table.
“He’s a guy that plays hard. He’s a physical player in the run game. On top of that, he can cover. And then when it’s all said and done, he’s going to find a way to make a play.”
Like all of Bills Mafia, Bieniemy, 54, is still reeling over Milano’s incredible pick over Raiders superstar running back Josh Jacobs.
“Hell, you guys probably saw that interception he made last week, which was unbelievable. It doesn’t shock no surprise me. If anybody was going to do that, it was going to be him. So hats off. Great player.”
Josh Allen Calls Matt Milano the ‘Silent Assassin’
Milano, 29, is one of the most quiet and mysterious Bills players. He’s a man of very little words and a player who generally keeps to himself, but the Bills absolutely respect and recognize his talent. In March, the Bills preempitvely signed Milano to a two-year, $28.3 million extension, which will keep him in Buffalo through the 2026 NFL season.
While injuries kept Milano out a career-high six games during the 2020 NFL season, he’s since proved to be the most reliable and consistent linebackers in Buffalo. Last season, the Pro Bowler recorded 99 total tackles, 11 passes defensed, three interceptions, two fumbles recovered, 1.5 sacks, and a pick-six. Thus far this season, Milano has already recorded two interceptions, two passes defensed, and 12 total tackles.
“That boy can do it all, man,” safety Micah Hyde said of Milano, per the AP. “He’s no longer our secret on defense, because the word’s definitely getting out. He’s making too many plays.”
One of the few personal details quarterback Josh Allen and his teammates know about the linebacker is that he loves house music, but they can’t praise him enough for his talent as a player.
“I don’t know what allows him to do it, but it was the least surprising Matt Milano play ever,” Allen said of his interception against the Raiders. “If it was anybody else, it’s like, ‘Holy cow, what a play.’ And then you see it’s Milano and it’s, ‘Of course Milano does it.’ He’s just got this like silent assassin mentality, and it’s fun to watch.”
Sean McDermott Complimented the Commanders’ Talent-Packed Defense
While not as effusive as Bieniemy’s comments on Milano, McDermott offered their opponents high praise during Wednesday’s press conference. The Commanders’ defense includes four former first-round picks with Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Daron Payne, and Jonathan Allen.
“The talent is what jumps off of the film right away, and the twitchiness of their defensive line,” McDermott said before Wednesday’s practice. “And they’re deep, that’s a good thing for them. That’s how you build good defenses, it starts up front.”
“We’re going to have to do a good job of – it’s going to be not just the offensive line, but it’s got to be everyone involved – in trying to make sure we manage [the pass rush] as much as we can.”