Commanders' Ron Rivera Defends Carson Wentz: 'The Narratives Are All Unfair'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2022

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The last two offseasons have seen Carson Wentz make unceremonious exits from Indianapolis and Philadelphia, leading to a reputation that the quarterback is difficult to work with.

Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera does not seem to have had the same experience.

"The narratives are all unfair," Rivera said Wednesday on SiriusXM. "I mean, obviously he left each place for their reasons. OK, great—that’s their reasons. He’s here for our reason. He’s here because we want him here. He’s here because we see what he can do, we see what he’s done. And based on what we do, we see there’s an opportunity. And that’s why he’s here.

"And we have a lot of confidence in what we’ve seen so far. The guys have all assimilated to him. They’ve rallied around him. And that’s a huge plus because, again, based on what we went through for the last couple of years—and probably before I got here—trying to find the quarterback."

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"He's here because we want him here"<br><br>Ron Rivera on Carson Wentz and the opportunity he has with the <a href="https://twitter.com/Commanders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Commanders</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HTTC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HTTC</a> I <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLTrainingCamp?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLTrainingCamp</a> <a href="https://t.co/i3PM6iW47W">pic.twitter.com/i3PM6iW47W</a>

While Rivera seems to have a solid relationship with Wentz, it's hard to categorize his reputation as "unfair." The Eagles took a $33.8 million dead-cap hit to trade Wentz last offseason, and the Colts dumped him off a year later in a deal that was a washing of their hands of the Wentz experience.

“It's just, for us, it was just it was something that we had to move away from as a franchise — it was very obvious,” Colts owner Jim Irsay told Zak Keefer of The Athletic.

That's not exactly what an owner typically says about a player who had a great reputation around the locker room. Keefer also reported Colts coach Frank Reich apologized to Irsay for vouching for Wentz when Indianapolis made the trade last March.

Wentz threw for 3,563 yards and 27 touchdowns against seven interceptions last season, numbers that were more than strong enough to bring him back if there weren't other issues. While it's clear he's not an elite NFL starter, Wentz finished ninth in the NFL in QBR last season and outperformed Matt Ryan, his replacement in Indianapolis, by every objective measure.

It's possible Rivera is getting the best possible version of Wentz and this latest change of scenery will work out swimmingly. That said, Wentz's falling out in his first two NFL stops is likely playing a factor in his desire to make this situation work.


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