Former Washington Commanders quarterback Alex Smith was shocked over comments head coach Ron Rivera made this week, arguing that Carson Wentz isn’t completely to blame for the team’s struggles this season.
During ESPN’s broadcast of the Kansas City Chiefs-Las Vegas Raiders game Monday night, Smith was asked about Rivera’s remark that the reason the Commanders aren’t playing at the level of their NFC East opponents is because of the quarterback position.
“I’m not going to lie, I had a really hard time watching that. When I heard it, I couldn’t believe it,” Smith said on the broadcast.
“I’m not here to defend Carson Wentz. He’s had a tumultuous career with ups and downs. But this is a defensive head coach that is absolutely driving the bus over his quarterback.”
RON RIVERA ON WHY COMMANDERS HAVE FALLEN BEHIND IN NFC EAST: ‘QUARTERBACK’
Rivera’s full remarks dove into this being Wentz’s first season in Washington compared to the other teams whose quarterbacks have been playing in their respective systems for some time.
“The truth is that this is a quarterback-driven league, and if you look at the teams that have been able to sustain success, they’ve been able to build it around a specific quarterback,” Rivera said Monday.
Smith pointed to Washington’s defensive struggles as a factor in its 1-4 record.
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“The blame has got to be spread around,” Smith said. “This is a team sport. It is the ultimate team sport, and how a head coach can stand up there in front of the media and usher one word, and it’s ‘quarterback.'”
During an appearance on “The Don Geronimo Show” Tuesday, Rivera admitted that it starts with him, but he doubled-down on Wentz needing time to acclimate to Washington’s system.
“My whole point being is that when you have a quarterback that’s been around and been in your building for a specific period of time, the players know the guy. They develop this cohesiveness and this bond. We have a quarterback, he’s been here for his first season [in Washington]. And if he continues to work and develop with our guys and assimilate to what we do, I think we will get progressively better.”
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Wentz addressed Rivera’s remarks on Tuesday, saying he met with the team and “handled it.” He added that he was not “overly concerned” with what was said.