Ron Rivera Shouldn’t Have To Apologize For Speaking The Truth: Carson Wentz Is A Problem

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. 

Written by Jason Cole

Jason Cole has covered or written about pro football since 1992. He is one of 49 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has served as a selector since 2013. Cole has worked for publications such as Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, The Miami Herald, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, and started his career with the Peninsula Times-Tribune in Palo Alto. Cole’s five-year investigation of Reggie Bush and the University of Southern California resulted in Bush becoming the only player to ever relinquish his Heisman Trophy and USC losing its 2004 national championship.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. I would buy into this if the Colts had a better record. The Colts look much worse than they did with Wentz. Rivera should keep individual criticism in his office. If Wentz went to the podium and raked Rivera over the coals would you feel the same? The last few drafts have seen Washington go heavy for the O-line and D-line and they have nothing to show for it. Maybe the coach going woke on Jack Del Rio is a sign of how this team is being run. Everything woke turns to sh&*. A wise man once said that and it appears to apply in this case.

Leave a Reply