Despite Washington Commanders' 1-4 start, Ron Rivera has 'no regrets' adding Carson Wentz

Commanders’ Ron Rivera – “No Regrets” with Carson Wentz Trade

ASHBURN, Va. –Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera said he has no regrets about trading for quarterback Carson Wentz, adding that they now need to continue building around him.

Rivera said the difference between his 1-4 commanders and the rest of the NFC East teams, which are all 4-1 or better, comes down to the quarterback position.

“The truth is, this is a quarterback-run league,” Rivera said. “And if you look at teams that have been able to sustain success, they’ve been able to build it around a specific quarterback.”

Washington traded two draft picks in the offseason to acquire Wentz, giving up a second-round pick in this latest draft and a conditional pick in 2023 that could become a second depending on playing time.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles (Jalen Hurts), New York Giants (Daniel Jones) and Dallas Cowboys (Dak Prescott) all entered the season with the same starting quarterback as in 2021. Washington started six quarterbacks in two-plus seasons under Rivera, who is 15-21.

Rivera said his point is that the other teams in the division have all been built around their quarterbacks.

Dallas, however, has won four straight with Cooper Rush starting for the injured Prescott. Rivera said Rush, who has been with Dallas since 2020, is playing well in what the Cowboys want to run offensively.

The Giants, who are 10-23 combined the past two years, have a new coach in Brian Daboll, and they declined to pick Jones’ fifth-year option. They were also widely regarded as the worst team in the division at the start of the season – and rallied to beat Green Bay on Sunday despite the absence of their best receivers.

The Eagles went from 6-10 in 2020 to 9-8 last season, and they’re 5-0 this year. Hurts has been the full-time starter the past two seasons.

Wentz was not the main reason Washington struggled. He threw four touchdown passes in a season-opening win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and threw three more in the second half the following week in a failed comeback to the Detroit Lions.

Wentz is tied for fifth in the NFL with 10 touchdown passes, but is also tied for third with six interceptions. He ranks 24th in total QBR at 38.0 — two spots ahead of Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos and three ahead of Matt Ryan of the Indianapolis Colts, two other veterans who switched teams this offseason.

“I have no regrets for our quarterback,” Rivera said. “I think our quarterback did some good things. There were a few games where he struggled, but the way he played [Sunday], it just shows you what it’s capable of. We chose him because we believe in him. We chose him because we looked at what we thought were things that pointed to him.”

Wentz threw for 359 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 21-17 home loss to the Tennessee Titans. He also threw an interception on third base from the 2-yard line with six seconds left.

“We have a guy that we think we have a chance to build with,” Rivera said. “We have a guy who is really growing in what we do. I thought yesterday was a good indicator of his potential for us in this area, and we will continue to work with him.”

Washington’s offensive line has been damaged. Commanders started three crosses, and they were 60% short of their original starters against Tennessee. They failed to adequately replace deceased guards Ereck Flowers (cut) and Brandon Scherff (free agent).

But the COs have a strong receiving corps with Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson.

“We have very good elements in place,” Rivera said. “I would like to have them all on the pitch at the same time. We don’t, we can’t, so that’s all we have, so we have to go out and play.”

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