ASHBURN, Virginia. – Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera has apologized to quarterback Carson Wentz for comments Rivera said was misunderstood by some on Monday regarding why there is a rift between his team under reconstruction and its NFC East rivals.
“Carson and I had a good conversation, so I think we’re ready to roll,” Rivera said.
He also told his team about the comments he made on Monday. That day, Rivera was asked why the Commanders were 1-4 in his third season compared to other teams in the division, all of which are at least 4-1. Rivera replied, “Quarterback.”
He later said that other teams’ quarterbacks had been around longer than Wentz had in Washington. Commanders traded for Wentz last offseason; Rivera said the quarterback was always comfortable on offense and with his teammates. Rivera said they now have a quarterback they can build around.
But his initial one-word response captured national attention, with former Washington quarterback Alex Smith tearing up his former coach.
Wentz said he was unaware of what was said until told by a team spokesperson. He wasn’t bothered by what Rivera said.
“Coach tackled it, handled it, nothing for me that worries me too much,” Wentz said. “Coach is a very direct and direct guy. He talked about it in the team meeting, which I thought was really cool, in what he meant by all of this. I’m very confident in that.”
Rivera said he understands why his comments were viewed in a negative light, which is why he wanted to address the entire team.
“I told them that I said things that were misunderstood; I didn’t present them correctly. It’s my fault,” he said. “I took responsibility, told the guys I should know better. S—, I had a bad day so I thought I felt better today, let’s go. before.”
Rivera said he feared his lyrics would become a distraction for a short week; the Commanders (1-4) play the Chicago Bears (2-4) on Thursday. But the players said they understood what Rivera was saying.
“We all assumed it was taken the wrong way,” Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke said. “He did a good job of clearing that up this morning. Carson has broad shoulders; he understands the case. … It meant a lot to the whole team. For anyone who didn’t know what [Rivera] meant it was good to hear from him.”
Heinicke said Wentz stays off social media, so he wasn’t even aware of the controversy Rivera’s response created. Heinicke also said he played in a tough media market as Philadelphia robbed Wentz.
“Once you play in Philadelphia, everything else is easy from there,” Heinicke said.
Washington tackle Charles Leno Jr. said Rivera’s words were well received.
“He’s never one to say anything under the table or out the back door,” Leno said. “He’s still a straight-forward guy, so I appreciate him and I appreciate his words.”
Wentz, meanwhile, is listed as having a shoulder injury on the injury report for Thursday night’s game. Wentz dismissed concerns over his right, throwing up the shoulder despite the injury report indicating he would have been a limited participant if commanders had held a full workout each of the past two days.
“I do not know when [it occurred], and it feels good,” Wentz said. ” It feels good. It was a Monday after a game, so I feel pretty good.”
Rivera said Wentz reported shoulder pain Monday morning after the team’s loss to Tennessee on Sunday. He said Wentz took all of his shots in practice on Tuesday.
“He was fine,” Rivera said. “I don’t expect that to be a problem.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.