As the now-Commanders acquired Carson Wentz to be its next quarterback after three decades of unsuccessful options — none lasting more than three seasons as Washington’s primary starter — the fan base just sighed. Wentz was never going to be the guy. He looks like Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf on back-to-back plays and the negative half has his days numbered as a starter in the NFL. His play in Philadelphia and Indianapolis guaranteed it barring a receiving corps of Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Terry McLaurin, and Cooper Kupp. He had one of four.
Outside of a win over the Jaguars and Thursday night’s 12-7 win against the Bears where neither team played well enough to win, but someone had to, I guess, Wentz has led the Commanders to last place in shockingly the best division in football with a 2-4 record. And there’s no chance Washington gets to the postseason. Tanking and starting over with C.J. Stroud behind center is a better long-term option. For whatever reason though, head coach Ron Rivera has been oddly triggered by discussing Wentz over the past week.
Four days ago, a reporter wanted Rivera’s thoughts on what separated his team from the rest of the NFC East, with two combined losses entering the main slate of Week 6. And without thinking twice, the Commander in charge let out this doozy: “The truth is that this is a quarterback-driven league. And if you look at the teams that have been able to sustain success, they’ve been able to build it around a specific quarterback.” He’s also drunk if he’d take Daniel Jones over Wentz. Both suck. One has more experience disappointing people and hasn’t gotten tackled by a turf monster.
At Thursday’s postgame press conference and 72 hours after throwing Wentz under the bus, Rivera gerrymandered where he stands on his starting quarterback, defending him and contradicting what was in ESPN’s 8,000-word report detailing team owner Daniel Snyder and his “dirt” valuable enough to “blow up” the league. Rivera got so emotional over the man he blamed for regressing behind the rest of the NFC East that he stormed out of the presser. It wasn’t because he was asked an unfair question, although ESPN’s longtime Washington beat writer John Keim, who got a contributing byline on the story, was in the room. It was “passion” for the man he incorrectly blamed for the team’s problems three days earlier. Wentz hasn’t been good, but nothing on the Commanders truly has been above board.
“Everybody keeps wanting to say I didn’t want to do anything with Carson. Well, bullshit. I’m the fuckin’ guy that pulled out the sheets of paper, that looked at the analytics, that watched the tape in frickin’, when we’re in Indianapolis. And that’s what pisses me off because the young man doesn’t deserve to have that all the time. I’m sorry. I’m done,” said Rivera before walking away from the lectern.
Rivera had the audacity to say “I’m going to speak my mind for a second” moments before pulling out that dandy quote above. I’m sorry, Ron, what were you doing Monday if not speaking your mind on Wentz? Just feeding the media lies to divide your team? It was a weird time to put your foot down, right after the Commanders’ first win since Week 1. Rivera’s early-week statement and walk back hints that Wentz is the best his team can get right now. Like he’s the funny but ugly guy at the bar. The younger, smarter, and better-looking male doesn’t open a tab until later.
Thursday’s game aired on Amazon Prime with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. Herbstreit still works for ESPN as part of their college football coverage. Michaels, whose previous employer was NBC Sports, didn’t mind sounding off on the report before Rivera’s outburst: “Just by feeling: What the league would love is for [Dan Snyder] to sell the team. Not to go to a vote. Just sell the team,” he said while the camera panned to Snyder who was in a suite high above Soldier Field.
The day-to-day happenings within the Commanders’ organization better resemble Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and not an NFL franchise. The quarterback stinks but is far from the only problem. The head coach loves his quarterback but also thinks he’s the biggest reason Washington can’t win now. And the owner is a slimeball that the rest of the league allegedly wants gone, but may have enough blackmail to keep him in place and not disrupt America’s favorite sport. Besides that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?