The Washington Commanders are getting ready for their primetime debut against the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. Last week’s loss that saw their hopes die at the goal line with an interception after two other failed attempts. Ron Rivera, as he usually does, calmed the fanbase down by offering up another reason why the Commanders can’t compete in their division, let alone the rest of the NFL. They built their teams around the QB, while Rivera has been building his team for a QB. That QB is Carson Wentz, this team is 1-4, and Rivera is running out of time and excuses.
Last Week: 22
Two impressive deep touchdowns to Dyami Brown in Week 5 don’t mask the down-to-down inconsistency from Carson Wentz that’s ultimately costing the Commanders every week. He ranks 25th in EPA per dropback (-0.08) and yards per attempt (6.6). The offensive line isn’t doing him any favors, but Wentz is struggling to capitalize on his unpressured dropbacks. He and Matthew Stafford are tied for the league lead in interceptions thrown on clean dropbacks with five, and his EPA per dropback average when kept clean (0.12) ranks 23rd. Last Week: 27
On a scale of 1 to 10, the anxiety level among fans of the Washington Commanders is probably about a 23 after the team lost a heartbreaker to the Tennessee Titans.
The game was indicative of Washington’s struggles all season. Washington racked up 385 yards of offense but converted just one of 11 third downs and committed nine penalties. Quarterback Carson Wentz threw for 359 yards and two scores, but the only throw of Wentz’s that anyone will remember is his last one: a game-sealing pick at the goal line.
The game marked Washington’s fourth consecutive defeat. But Wentz insisted to reporters after the loss that the Commanders can still get things back on track.
“We have dug a hole, but at the same time there’s a lot of games left, a lot of football,” Wentz said. “The NFL is crazy. We try not to look at what happened the last couple games and what’s ahead. We just got to go 1-0 each week. We’ve dug ourselves a hole. We did it to ourselves.”
The problem with Wentz’s optimism is that the Commanders continue to keep digging each week. Wentz’s interception Sunday was his sixth. He has at least one in four of five games. And the Commanders rank right at the top of the league in sacks allowed and at the bottom of the league in turnover differential.
No team will win consistently committing mistakes at the clip Wentz and the Commanders are. Last Week: 30
The Redskins could easily be 0-5 right now if the Jaguars didn’t shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly in Week 1. I think the case can be made that they’re the worst team in the NFL. Losing by 15 points to Cooper Rush is ridiculous. They can’t block or cover anyone, and their play-calling is so predictable. However, I think they have more talent than Houston and Chicago overall. The Texans and Bears have better coaching, so it’s a close call for No. 32. Last Week: 30
It’s never a comfortable watch with Carson Wentz. There are twists, there are turns, there’s joy, there’s terror. Oh, and a fair bit of tragedy, like the goal-line interception thrown by the quarterback in the final seconds of a 21-17 loss to the Titans. Wentz’s deciding turnover overshadowed a 359-yard passing day that included two long touchdown tosses to Dyami Brown. At 1-4, Washington finds itself buried in last place of a division with two 4-1 teams and one 5-0 team. “We have dug a hole, but at the same time, there’s a lot of games left, a lot of football,” Wentz said. “The NFL is crazy. We try not to look at what happened the last couple of games and what’s ahead. We just got to go 1-0 each week. We’ve dug ourselves a hole. We did it to ourselves.” Last Week: 29
Good news: Carson Wentz averaged a season-high 9.4 yards per attempt against the Titans.
Bad news: Commanders have converted just two of seven red zone opportunities into touchdowns in their last three games. They’ve scored a total of 35 points in those three games. Last Week: 31
While he took three more sacks, Carson Wentz (25-for-38, 359 yards, 2 TD, INT) put up a serviceable line in a loss to the Titans to back up Ron Rivera’s assertion that the Commanders aren’t quite ready to bench their new acquisition. Last Week: 28
Last Week: 30
Chance to make the playoffs: 3.6%
Chance to win their division: 0.1%
Washington has enough issues — its offensive line remains a problem, and injuries have left it with no margin for error. But the Commanders struggle to get out of their own way — they’ve committed a combined 20 penalties in the past two weeks. It has left them already three games out of third place in the NFC East. They lack defensive playmakers and have just one forced turnover in five games. Their playcalling and game plans have been suspect at times, and they take too long to adjust. There’s enough talent to contend for the playoffs, but if they want to diagnose their issues, everyone in the organization just needs to hold up a mirror. — John Keim Last Week: 30
Ron Rivera’s comments on Carson Wentz, which will inevitably be sloppily clarified and reclarified in the coming weeks, sounded like the flailings of a desperate man. Nothing about what Washington has put together has been good. That doesn’t just fall on the easily scape-goatable Carson Wentz. Last Week: 30
Trade idea: Bears quarterback Justin Fields
Because Ron Rivera’s throwing his quarterback under the bus anyway, let’s get him a new one. It doesn’t seem like the Bears care all that much about Fields’ development, so if the Commanders want to start from scratch and really develop a young quarterback with their impressive stable of wide receivers, why not make an offer for Fields?
Not only would Fields give them an exciting quarterback prospect to divert attention away from Rivera’s recent track record of sub-mediocre defense, but he would guarantee Carson Wentz’s snap-share dipped below 70 percent, thereby turning the 2023 pick they owe the Colts from a second-rounder to a third. Last Week: 31
Carson Wentz was determined to throw an interception after the Commanders got to first-and-goal at the Titans’ 2-yard line. He finally did throw the pick to end the game, after nearly throwing one on the first two goal-to-go plays. When your coach says the difference between your rebuild and the other teams in the NFC East and his response is, “Quarterback,” well, the frustration seems to be clear. Last Week: 30
If Ron Rivera only had a quarterback ... a position he and the front office have grossly mismanaged in consecutive offseasons. Last Week: 30
Will the Commanders bench Carson Wentz? He keeps making some big plays that say no, but he also lets them down in critical situations that say yes. He’s still their best option, because the much bigger problem is their defense. Last Week: 30
Washington is getting harder and harder to justify as anything other than a dumpster fire. The organization took a gamble on Carson Wentz as their starting quarterback, and he is looking more like his 2020 self than anything else. Last Week: 29
Ron Rivera bluntly saying the difference between his team and the rest of the NFC East is the quarterback position says all you need to know about how things have gone for Carson Wentz in D.C. Sure he’s put up some big numbers thanks to bombs down the field but the wins haven’t followed amid a slew of other mistakes. Last Week: 31
After what Ron Rivera said, why not bench (or cut) Carson Wentz and roll with Sam Howell? Last Week: 31
Last Week: 30
When the coach is calling out the quarterback publicly, that’s not a good thing. This thing could unravel in a big way. Last Week: 31
It’s fair to call the Washington Commanders the worst NFL team in 2022. It’s not even Halloween and Carson Wentz already proved he has no future with this team and possibly not as a starting quarterback anywhere. Meanwhile, Jack Del Rio’s defense is awful and this entire organization needs to be cleaned out. Last Week: 31
I’ve never seen a head coach put his quarterback on blast the way Ron Rivera did to Carson Wentz. Last Week: 31
Last Week: 31
Where should the Washington Commanders be ranked after 5 weeks?
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