Ron Rivera explains why Commanders fell behind in NFC East: ‘Quarterback’


Washington commanders have yet to receive the memo that the NFC East is back.

The best team in the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles at 5-0, and two teams at 4-1, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, surprised many in the NFL. The NFC East has struggled in recent years, and commanders at 1-4 still feel it hurts this season.

So what was the factor that put the commanders at the bottom of the division? Head coach Ron Rivera was quick to respond Monday.

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Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders reacts after a fourth quarter pitch against the Tennessee Titans at FedExField on October 9, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.
(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

“Quarterback,” he told reporters.

Carson Wentz was the choice of Rivera and the front office when they changed positions. They needed someone to come in this offseason and jumped at the chance to trade for the veteran signalman who knows a lot about the NFC East given his time with the Eagles.

Thus, Wentz was propelled into the system of commanders who have good weapons: Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel at receiver with good running backs in Antonio Gibson, Brian Robinson Jr., who made his debut Sunday five weeks after being shot twice before the season, and JD McKissic.

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But what is written on paper does not always translate on the ground. While Wentz is fourth in the league with 1,390 yards, he has a QBR of 38.0, good for 24th. He has 10 touchdowns and six interceptions, including one on Sunday’s final try against the Tennessee Titans on the goal line. A touchdown would have won Washington the game.

While it was the Rivera guy, the Cowboys got their replacement, Cooper Rush, who led the team to four straight wins, including one over the Commanders.

“They started with Dak [Prescott]”, Rivera said when asked about Rush’s success. “They build around Dak and the offense is built around Dak. Their back-up is a guy who is very solid at what they do. The truth is, this is a quarterback-run league. And if you look at teams that have been able to sustain success, they’ve been able to build it around a specific quarterback.”

Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders talks with offensive coordinator Scott Turner before the game against the Tennessee Titans at FedExField on October 9, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.

Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders talks with offensive coordinator Scott Turner before the game against the Tennessee Titans at FedExField on October 9, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.
(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The Cowboys certainly built their team around Prescott. The Eagles have done the same with Jalen Hurts, as head coach Nick Sirianni has tailored his system around the explosive abilities his quarterback gives him on the ground and in the air.

But did the Giants build things around Daniel Jones? Head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen did their best to cut their roster and kick off their rebuild, but Jones didn’t get his fifth-year option, leaving his future with the team in limbo. .

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Daboll and OC Mike Kafka’s offensive scheme consisted of adjustments throughout the game, and they currently rank 23rd in yards per game with 333.2. With the help of defense and clutch play from Jones & Co., they get the job done when needed.

Rivera, however, doesn’t regret going with Wentz and won’t be giving up on him anytime soon. They believe in their quarterback despite the rocky start.

“I think our quarterback did some good things,” he explained. “There were a few games where he struggled, but you look at his numbers yesterday and you’d be like, ‘Okay, look, his numbers he’s had throughout the year, at certain moments, he was very solid. But the way he played yesterday, and that shows you what he is capable of, and we picked him because we believe in him. We chose him because we looked at what we thought were things that pointed to him.

Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders talks to head coach Ron Rivera during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at FedExField on October 9, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.

Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders talks to head coach Ron Rivera during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at FedExField on October 9, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.
(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The Commanders are currently in the middle of the pack for 19th in the league in offensive yards per game at 341.6.

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Washington has the Chicago Bears, a team that has lost its last two games, on Thursday.


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