Former Washington quarterback Alex Smith appeared on ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” as has been a weekly thing since his retirement following the 2020 season.
Smith was talking about comments his former head coach Ron Rivera of the Commanders made following their brutal Week 5 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Clearly on the hot seat, Rivera pretty much blamed current quarterback Carson Wentz for the team’s struggles. Rivera was asked why he thought the Commanders were further behind other teams in the NFC East. His answer was one word: “Quarterback.”
Having played with Rivera in Washington during the 2020 season, Smith absolutely laid into his former head coach over his comments. There was no holding back.
“I had a really hard time watching that. When I heard it, I couldn’t believe it. I’m not here to defend Carson Wentz. He’s had a tumultuous career and ups and downs. But this is a defensive head coach that’s absolutely driving the bus over his quarterback.”
Despite Wentz’s struggles, the NFL world found some unity in going after Rivera following his comments on Monday. Washington has lost four consecutive games since opening the season with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Pretty much every area on the team has struggled, quarterback included. The coaching has been a disaster, too. Smith touched on that.
“The blame has got to be spread around,” Smith said. “This is a team sport. It is the ultimate team sport. How can a head coach stand up there in front of the media and utter one word, and it’s ‘quarterback’?”
Alex Smith is the latest respected figure to blast Ron Rivera
Rivera’s comments came mere hours after Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers became the first head coach to be fired this season. It seems that he was pretty defensive during his press conference with the knowledge that he is firmly on the hot seat. He also attempted to clarify his comments, something that was seemingly a way to save face.
“But the way he performed (Sunday against Tennessee), it just shows you what he’s capable of and we chose him because we believe in him. We chose him because we looked at what we felt were things that pointed towards him.”
This didn’t do a whole lot to quiet the storm that came with Rivera’s comments about the struggling Wentz. Alex Smith has been among the most-respected individuals around the NFL over the years. He typically doesn’t go after others, especially those who he played under in the past.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.