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NFL head coaches are known for their attention to detail. Meticulous planners who leave no stone unturned. But Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera is not that type of coach.
He didn’t even know that his team’s season might effectively be over.
Washington completely laid an egg today, losing at home to the Cleveland Browns in what amounted to a must-win game. Going into the late afternoon games, the Commanders have a very slim chance of still sneaking into the postseason.
According to FiveThirtyEight, that chance is about 5%. But, they need a lot to go right. The first thing that needs to happen is the Minnesota Vikings beating the Green Bay Packers. If the Packers win, Washington is eliminated from playoff contention.
This was news to Ron Rivera.
How is the Commanders head coach unaware of this detail?
Wow. This feels like something a head coach should know. Does that mean that he thought no matter what happened with his team today, they could still make the playoffs with a win next week?
Is that why he elected to start Carson Wentz? That actually makes sense. What coach, with the playoffs on the line, starts Carson Wentz at quarterback? This is the second season in a row that Wentz has played terrible in Week 17 while trying to get his team in the postseason.
Don’t forget about the Colts epic meltdown last year. They lost in Week 17 and again in Week 18 that got Wentz a one-way ticket to DC.
On Sunday, Commanders fans booed Wentz as he threw multiple interceptions and led the Washington offense to just 10 points.
Washington faces Dallas next week, a game the Cowboys will now try hard to win, despite having the playoffs clinched, since the Eagles loss to New Orleans opens the door for them to still win the division.
The question to Ron Rivera was a good one.
Washington drafted North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell in the fifth round of the past NFL Draft. But he hasn’t seen the field as the team continues to trot out poor-performing veterans Taylor Heinicke and Carson Wentz.
If they are eliminated by the Packers winning on Sunday, Ron Rivera should give the kid a look.
At least don’t start Wentz again.
Then again, who knows what Rivera will do in Week 18.
Someone tell him it’s likely his last game of the 2022-23 season.
UPDATE: Rivera has clarified his remarks.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ