Ron Rivera’s Washington Commanders are in last place in the NFC East and it’s not even close. The Philadelphia Eagles are 5-0 and both the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants sit at 4-1. Sadly for Washington fans, the Commanders are 1-4. When asked why other teams were able to essentially lap Washington, Rivera gave a concise answer: “Quarterback.”
After trading for Carson Wentz and drafting Sam Howell this offseason, the production level is clearly not on par with what Rivera had expected. He believes it’s a big reason they’re in last place.
Alex Smith, who briefly played under Rivera in Washington before retiring, ripped him to shreds for that quote. Here’s what he said during ESPN’s pregame broadcast ahead of Monday Night Football:
“I had a really hard time watching that. When I heard it, I couldn’t believe it. I’m not here to defend Carson Wentz. He’s had a tumultuous career and ups and downs. But this is a defensive head coach that’s absolutely driving the bus over his quarterback.”
The Washington defense has been porous and to Wentz’s credit, he’s among the league leaders in passing yards. Smith continued incredulously:
“The blame has got to be spread around. This is a team sport. It is the ultimate team sport. How can a head coach stand up there in front of the media and utter one word, and it’s ‘quarterback’?”
There appears to be a myriad of issues with the Commanders, and the coach himself is not safe from criticism.
Is Ron Rivera in danger of being fired?
The former Carolina Panthers head coach who took the team to Super Bowl 50 has been with the Commanders for just over two seasons. He took them to the playoffs in one campaign, but has an overall record of 15-23. The Commanders have talent in certain positional groups, but that hasn’t translated to success. They’ve had a quarterback carousel, which doesn’t help, but much of the blame often goes to the head coach.
After the first coaching domino fell with Matt Rhule (Panthers), he might be one of the next to go. There is a lot up in the air with the team, including with owner Dan Snyder. There have been murmurs about Rivera’s job security, but nothing too serious yet. It’s not a good look to publicly call out the team’s quarterback as the reason the team is bad and that certainly won’t help his chances.
Nor will it help quarterback Carson Wentz going forward. He is likely used to being blamed for everything after his time at the Philadelphia Eagles and the Indianapolis Colts; but that doesn’t make it easy. The Commanders have a Thursday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears to kick off Week 6. The Bears are 2-3 and seem to have problems passing the football. Wentz and Rivera will certainly be eyeing a win here.
It will be interesting to see if they can take the victory. If not, those murmers will likely grow louder.
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