"It's a QB Driven League" Falling Behind in the East | Washington Commanders
Updated: Oct 12, 2022
By Adam Aniba
During Monday's team presser, Ron Rivera was visibly worn down. Social media was on fire after the coaches response to why Washington has fallen behind the rest of the teams in the NFC East.
Although Rivera mentioned that "it's a quarterback driven league" when explaining the teams shortcomings, Washington's issues go much deeper. Wentz simply hasn't been good enough, despite being ranked in the top 5 in the league for pass plays over 40 yards. The veteran QB has his limitations and they can be glaring at times, but his offensive coordinator is at the root of the offense's struggles.
OC Scott Turner had his offense on the 2-yard line in the final seconds vs the Titans and called three strait passing plays, even lining up Wentz in shotgun.
The fear of fumbling on the goal line is a real concern with Antonio Gibson's history of coughing up the rock. Running the ball with Brian Robinson for the game winning score, seemed like the Hollywood ending fans deserved. The combination of Turner's lack of in game adjustments and lack of innovation as a play caller make him a liability with an offense that has potential.
Rivera has struggled as well, with horrible clock management and overall bad in game decision making. Two weeks ago, a late challenge flag thrown by Rivera could have overturned a huge passing play and preserved a key stop by Washington's defense.
The mental diarrhea vs the Titans was once again on display. Rivera challenged an incomplete 4th quarter reception by Cam Sims, that was clearly an incompletion and cost the offense a valuable timeout with the lost challenge.
Addressing The Team
Coach Rivera stated he spoke with the team regarding his comments about his QB, but has he lost confidence of some of his players? That would only be known to the individuals in the locker room.
It would be naive to think that some on the roster haven't lost confidence in the coaching/leadership and the direction they're heading with the current staff in place.
Per Wentz during Tuesday's presser via ESPN's John Keim.
"There's a million reasons; you can makes excuses. For us, there are none. We have to execute. I have to make sure everyone is on the same page."
Although the season is just past the quarter mark, many questions remain about the team's direction and identity. Wentz has the ability to be a middle of the pack quarterback, but needs to manage the game better and take advantage of his chekdowns when protection breaks down.
Can the veteran learn from his mistakes and improve with the current state of the offensive line and lack of support from the run game to this point? Hopefully with a quick turn around on Thursday Night Football vs the Bears, Turner will show more commitment to the run game and add more high percentage wrinkles to the passing game.
Changes will have to be made along the offensive line, in order for the run and pass game to have any sustained success. The first move should be to bench LG Andrew Norwell, who could be the worst player on the roster.
Rookie Chris Paul (May '22 scouting report) should replace Norwell and could bring much needed energy with his background as a solid run blocker.
It's understandable that Robinson just returned and needs to be eased back into action. Utilizing him in short yardage, goal line and 3rd down situations could help the offense get into a rhythm after going 1-11 on 3rd downs last week.
In a close game, Turner only called 17 run plays that resulted in 43 yards. It's unacceptable and irresponsible play calling by Turner, considering the duress Wentz has been under when facing the pass rush over the last 4 weeks.
The defense hasn't recorded a turnover since week 1, but the offense needs to do it's part and keep the defense off the field with long sustainable drives. Although the season is young, Washington has fallen into in the NFC East basement with PHI undefeated and DAL & NYG both with only 1 loss.
Washington needs a strong performance against the Bears to gain some confidence, but more importantly, gain some respect from fans tired of dealing with a losing culture.
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