If you thought Washington Commanders fans were a ticking time bomb before the team’s fourth-straight loss in Week 5, that bomb exploded after Ron Rivera dubbed the quarterback position as the chief reason for Washington’s shortcomings and why they’ve been leapfrogged by the other teams in the NFC East.
It marked the latest instance of Rivera refusing to take accountability.
That’s nothing new, though. But nothing about Rivera’s comment(s) made sense. Not only did Rivera handpick Wentz over several other QBs this offseason, but Daniel Jones had his fifth-year option declined with a new regime taking over and Cooper Rush is 4-0 starting in place of Dak Prescott after he was cut and cleared waivers during preseason.
Rivera’s comments blew up on social media. The head coach caught criticism from every inch of NFL Twitter, including folks we didn’t even knew cared about the Commanders, which prompted an apology to Carson Wentz and the team.
"“I had a mea culpa moment,” Rivera first told “The Dan Geronimo Show” on Tuesday. “I created a little bit of a distraction and that’s one thing that I try not to do and it’s one thing that I’m very aware of. . .”"
Does Rivera deserve credit for apologizing? Sure, but he doesn’t deserve credit for de-escalating a messy situation. That falls on Wentz, who did his best behind the microphone Tuesday to prevent this distraction from spreading like wildfire.
Carson Wentz, not Ron Rivera, deserves credit for mitigating the ‘QB’ distraction surrounding the Commanders.
"“I honestly had no idea any of that happened,” Wentz told reporters Tuesday, explaining that the team’s head of PR gave him a heads up about Rivera’s comments. “Coach addressed it and handled it. Nothing for me that I’m overly concerned about. Coach is a very straightforward and upfront guy. He addressed it in a team meeting, which I thought was really cool, and what he meant by it all, so I feel very confident in it.”"
Put in an impossible situation, Wentz issued a perfectly-worded response to dilute a potential large-scale distraction. What more could you ask for? The craziest part of it all is that Wentz played maybe his best game of the season vs the Titans, and Rivera still went out and blamed the team’s struggles on the QB position.
What makes Rivera’s initial remarks look even worse? The Commanders have a quick turnaround against the Bears on Thursday, so Wentz and the team have no other choice but to put this distraction behind them and focus on the game.
The Commanders aren’t losing the division because of their instability at quarterback. They’re losing the division because their makeshift offensive line can’t protect Wentz, who’s the most sacked signal caller entering Week 6. They’re losing the division because the secondary is still one of the worst in football.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, are winning because they have arguably the league’s top defense. The Eagles are winning because they have a top-notch roster, dominant offensive and defensive lines and a quarterback in Jalen Hurts who, while taking his game to another level, is reaping the benefits of Philly’s deep roster.
And the Giants are winning due to excellent coaching (take notes, Rivera) strong defense and taking care of the football on offense.
Again, we give Rivera some credit for apologizing, but it was Wentz’s care-free and good-guy attitude that actually threw cold water on the fire his head coach started.