Ron Rivera bet on the wrong quarterback: Carson Wentz

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Ron Rivera wanted this moment. He traded for a quarterback specifically for this moment. This week, he reinserted the quarterback as a starter and hoped, hoped, and prayed that he would be ready enough to play in this moment with confidence.

Rivera’s most pivotal moment in three years as Washington’s coach came down to the quarterback of his choice. effective The man Carson Wentz wanted. He was this broken quarterback’s biggest defender, starting in March when he committed draft money for Wentz’s services until last week when he benched Taylor Heinicke in Sunday’s must-win game against the Cleveland Browns. continued.

Rivera has bet on himself that the offseason gambling will return and he will earn a postseason sleeper reward. And that decision failed.

The riverboat he rolled into town three years ago has sunk. And Rivera’s idea to save the season, his team’s chances, and the shot, presumably his job, was to ask Wentz to hand out the floats.

Rivera looked to Wentz for a “spark” when Washington was still in playoff berth after failing to win the last three games. But when the Commanders lost his 24-10 loss to the Browns, Wentz was uncomfortable in the pocket and looked unreliable as his starting quarterback in the NFL. His first pass attempt sailed over the head of running back Jonathan Williams. And it may go down as one of his better passes of the day.

The entire league knows the crimson letters of Wentz’s scout report. Rivera also knew we should guess as it was his call to revive Wentz’s career and bring him to town. After plaguing Wentz and losing streak to end last season, he opted for a quick divorce and the team missed the playoffs. But at the end, after Wentz won the game as a starter, the Colts’ freebie was Rivera’s money, as he passionately expressed.

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“I’m a fucking bastard who used to take out the paper and look at the analysis and look at the tape. . Said after winning Commander’s Week 6.

See, I have nothing against Wentz. He was easily targeted, and some media his members in his previous visits (Philadelphia, then Indianapolis) ripped him up on issues unrelated to football. And there’s something morally messed up when fans wearing the number 4 jersey can celebrate DeShawn Watson, Wentz jogging off the field with his head down as home fans boo. Have to.

But while he may be as good a “young man” as the 30-year-old Wentz, he’s been mutilated on the football field. And Rivera said that he — sorry, kid — effective A man who saw a tape on Wentz and decided to trade him.

After his performance — going 16-for-28 for 143 yards with three picks and three sacks — Wentz wrapped himself in a corner stall owned by the team’s starting quarterback. He put on his cowboy boots and picked up a burgundy undershirt that matched his team colors perfectly. He certainly looked the part of the quarterback that Rivera believed he was. He was able to stretch the ball over the goal line and cap a 96-yard, 21-play drive to end Sunday’s first half. It shows the body language of a broken quarterback.

His second pass attempt of the game was power for Terry McLaughlin when power was totally unnecessary. After his second interception, fans chant “Hein-ick-e! Hein-ick-e!” . Throughout the game, they continued to console themselves with this plea.

Commanders’ playoff hopes nearly died after ugly loss to Browns

“If you know football, you know [Wentz] Slow release. And I know Heinicke gets the ball out fast,” Ragland said after the game. “Some of the teams I know would have preferred Heinicke because they know he’ll get the ball out. You see it in the movies. They play different quarterbacks. increase.”

Wentz spent the rest of the day laying low for cover, making panicked decisions and missing the target. Near the end, when he returned to the sidelines after another pick, Wentz wiped off his sweat but left the towel on his face a little longer. No more fist pumping, Wentz donned a white hat and tucked his big feet into the handwarmers.

“I drove the ball on the last possession of the first half and I felt like I could keep it that way,” Rivera said of Wentz’s performance.

Washington (7-8-1) was guaranteed six straight seasons without a championship record. All of this was to change, especially this year, Rivera’s third year. Add in a bruised internal defense, a young and talented corps of offensive weapons, and a quarterback of Rivera’s choice, and the commander should have taken a leap to contend for a playoff spot. When Rivera talked about the possibility of making the playoffs this season.

“I think it’s worth more than anything… For me, it’s all because of you guys. Gotcha,” Rivera said, trying to gently dunk the reporter. meaning: In your face, big bad media! Despite being the most dysfunctional franchise in the league, they made it to the playoffs!

Unfortunately for Rivera, the real pitfall came on Sunday.

By the time he stepped onto the field to shake hands with Browns manager Kevin Stefanski, he was serenaded by the boos of angry fans. I was realizing half of the scenario. A win for the Lions and Packers, played later in the afternoon, and a loss for the Commanders would end Washington’s wild card hopes.

But when a reporter asked Rivera if he would consider starting Sam Howell in the regular season finale if Washington were eliminated by the end of the day, Rivera froze. , stared at the reporter for three very awkward seconds, silently contemplating this possibility.

“Are we likely to be eliminated?” Rivera asked earnestly, completely ignorant of the scenario.

In the most pivotal moment of his time as Washington’s coach, Rivera didn’t realize how disastrous Sunday’s game was. He started Wentz. He trusted the quarterback when the team needed him the most. And it all failed.

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