Commanders’ Ron Rivera apologizes to Carson Wentz for ‘QB’ remark

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera apologized to quarterback Carson Wentz for comments Rivera misinterpreted on a Monday regarding why a rift exists between his recovery team and its NFC East rivals.

“Carson and I had a nice chat, so I think we’re ready to go,” Rivera said.

He also spoke to his team about the comments he made on Monday. That day, Rivera was asked why the Commanders were 1-4 in his third season compared to the other teams in the division, who are all at least 4-1. Rivera replied, “Quarterback.”

He later said the other teams’ quarterbacks had been in place longer than Wentz had been in Washington. The Commanders traded for Wentz this past offseason; Rivera said the quarterback still feels comfortable on offense and with teammates. Rivera said they now have a quarterback to build around.

But his initial one-word response garnered national attention as former Washington quarterback Alex Smith tore up his former coach.

Wentz said he didn’t know what was said until it was shared with him by a team spokesman. He didn’t mind what Rivera said.

“The coach addressed it, handled it, nothing for me to be overly concerned about,” Wentz said. “Coach is a very direct, direct guy. He brought it up in the team briefing, which I thought was really cool, what he meant by that. I’m very confident about that.”

Rivera said he understands why his comments are being viewed in a negative light, which is why he wants to reach out to the entire team.

“I told them I said some things that were misconstrued; I didn’t present them properly. It’s on me,” he said. “I took responsibility and told the guys I should know better. S— I was having a bad day so I thought I feel better today let’s move on.”

Rivera said he worries his words could become a distraction over a short week; The Commanders (1-4) play the Chicago Bears (2-4) on Thursday. But the players said they understood what Rivera was saying.

“We all assumed that was misunderstood,” Washington backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke said. “He did a good job this morning to sort that out. Carson has broad shoulders; he understands the deal. … It meant a lot to the whole team. For everyone who didn’t know what [Rivera] said it was nice to hear from him.”

Heinicke said Wentz stays off social media so he wasn’t even aware of the controversy Rivera’s response had sparked. Heinicke also said he steeled Wentz in a tough media market like Philadelphia.

“Once you play in Philly, everything else is a breeze from there,” Heinicke said.

Washington tackle Charles Leno Jr. said Rivera’s words went down well.

“He’s never the type to say anything under the table or the back door,” Leno said. “He’s always a no-nonsense guy, so I appreciate him and appreciate his words.”

Wentz, on the other hand, is listed on the injury report for Thursday night’s game with a shoulder injury. Wentz brushed off any concerns about his right and threw the shoulder despite the injury report indicating he would have been a limited participant had the commanders held full practice sessions on each of the past two days.

“I do not know when [it occurred], and it feels pretty good,” Wentz said. “It feels pretty good. It was a Monday after a game so I’m feeling pretty good.”

Rivera said Wentz reported that his shoulder hurt Monday morning after the team’s loss to Tennessee on Sunday. He said Wentz took all of his snaps in training on Tuesday.

“He was fine,” Rivera said. “I don’t expect it to be a problem.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Commanders’ Ron Rivera apologizes to Carson Wentz for ‘QB’ remark

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