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Why exactly did Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera have to apologize for pointing out the obvious? Carson Wentz is playing some really bad football right now.
There are reasons Wentz is on his third team in three years and on a path toward becoming a career backup. Hiding from that is not doing Wentz any good.
This is the NFL, where winning matters and performance is bluntly analyzed on a daily basis. When someone plays poorly, it is pointed out. In New England, coach Bill Belichick used to start his weekly film session with the team by pointing out what Tom Brady did wrong. It set a tone for the team that if Brady could be criticized, no one was beyond getting torn down momentarily in the process of building toward greatness. That was one of the keys to the Patriots winning six Super Bowls.
I understand all the arguments about football being a “team” game and that players and coaches should hang together in tough times. At 1-4, Washington is playing putrid football and will put that on display against Chicago on Thursday night. While people can point out that Rivera’s defense, which was staunch last season, has regressed while allowing more than 20 points in each game, the reality is that Wentz is at the center of the Commanders woes.
Stop Being Afraid To Speak The Truth
And it’s time that people stop being afraid to say it if Wentz has any hope of righting the ship. At one point in his career in 2017, people were talking about whether Wentz was in line to win a Most Valuable Player award. Then he got hurt, Philadelphia went on to win a Super Bowl without him and Wentz has never been the same.
Wentz is third in the NFL with six interceptions after five games. He also has six fumbles. He is on pace for career highs in both categories. This isn’t just a bad season; it’s akin to the play that got Jameis Winston pushed out of Tampa Bay after 2019.
On Sunday against Tennessee, Wentz bottomed out when he threw an interception at the goal line that cost Washington the victory. Wentz made that throw into double coverage. On the previous play, Wentz was also almost intercepted when he threw in the area of three defenders.
This all comes after Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay publicly criticized Wentz this offseason in the aftermath of dealing Wentz to Washington. Philadelphia, which once upon a time gave Wentz a four-year, $128 million contract extension, traded him to Indy, which then dumped him on Washington after one season.
The Problem Is Wentz
It is plainly obvious to anyone in the world that the problem is Wentz. He’s either not making plays that could win games or putting the Commanders defense in bad position. At the same time, Washington needs a quarterback to build around. They need to find out if Wentz can recapture the magic he once had and that made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft.
So, when Rivera said Monday that “quarterback” was the main reason, he wasn’t saying anything that people didn’t know. He certainly wasn’t saying anything he should have to apologize for.