When it comes down to it, Ron Rivera just couldn’t be saved from himself. After overpaying for Carson Wentz in the offseason, and rolling Wentz out for the first six games, before he hurt his finger against the Bears, Washington looked dead in the water at 2-4. It was mid-October, and it appeared to be time to turn our sights on the draft.
And then, as it has so many other times in Rivera’s tenure here, injury proved a better personnel manager than Ron and his court of Martys did. Forced into action against the Packers, back-up Taylor Heinicke would go 5-3-1 over the next nine games putting the team in position to control its own playoff destiny over the final two weeks of the season.
Was Heinicke perfect? Not by a longshot, but so far this year he had been considerably better than Wentz, and those were really the only options on the table.
The #Commanders turned back to benched QB Carson Wentz, sending Taylor Heinicke to the sidelines.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 30, 2022
Statistically, it appears to be a poor decision. pic.twitter.com/pOUmLkrXwY
Despite hanging in against the 49ers - perhaps the best team in the NFC at this point - for three quarters last week, Ron, either struck by amnesia, or in a fit of hubris, or perhaps some toxic combination of both, decided it was time to go back to Wentz against the Browns.
The Commanders went 5-3-1 with Heinicke as the starter. You do the math on Wentz. Another curious decision. As if they don’t remember how Wentz played earlier this season. https://t.co/onXOESFzdQ— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) December 28, 2022
Nevertheless, Heinicke was a good soldier and fell in line. He wasn’t happy about being benched, but he knew it wasn’t his call to make.
Taylor Heinicke on the QB decision and what he's shown over the past two seasons: pic.twitter.com/SendXJqJgp— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 28, 2022
And then Ron’s hand-picked choice, Carson Wentz would proceed to put on one of the worst quarterback performances in recent Washington history - which is saying something - against an incredibly vulnerable Cleveland team that didn’t look like it really wanted to be playing for much of the first several quarters. Throwing for 143 yards, many of which came in garbage time, and three interceptions, with a quarterback rating of 31.4, Wentz led the team to a measly 10 points.
That’s the ball game. Carson Wentz throws into double coverage.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) January 1, 2023
His 3rd interception of the game.
Before the first half was over, and while the game was yet to get out of hand, the fans in the stands were calling for a QB change.
Washington fans chanting "HEIN-I-CKE" at FedEx Field.— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 1, 2023
QB Carson Wentz started today and has thrown 2 interceptions in the first half.
(via @NickiJhabvala) pic.twitter.com/4GOVA6ialF
But that change would never come, and Washington’s playoffs hopes would be flushed down the drain. As I type this, the Packers are putting the finishing touches on the Vikings to officially eliminate Washington from the playoffs.
And, with that elimination, Ron Rivera needs to go, as does Scott Turner. Not in two weeks, after the season is over. Now, before this two get to have any hand in facing the Cowboys in Week 18. Elevate Jack Del Rio to acting Head Coach, and Ken Zampese to acting Offensive Coordinator. These two, Rivera and Turner, have demonstrated through their brazen ineptness in personnel decision making and play calling that they aren’t fit to coach at this level.
If it weren’t for Taylor Heinicke saving both of their hides during the Wentz interregnum, the season would have been over in early November. Instead, given one final chance to salvage the season Rivera and Turner rolled out the guy they bet their careers in DC on. Today they lost that bet. It’s time to send them packing.
"Garbage, trash was what we saw today."@BMitchliveNBCS | #WASvsCLE pic.twitter.com/OEZ3jxI9D1— NBC Sports Commanders (@NBCSCommanders) January 1, 2023
Do you think Ron Rivera should be fired?
This poll is closed
Yes, before the next game.
Yes, after the season.
No, give him another year.