Three games in, Ron Rivera’s already facing questions about benching Carson Wentz

On his third team in as many years, the Carson Wentz experience has been largely the same as his previous stops in the former No. 2 pick’s NFL career. Flashing enough talent to hold down a starting gig and even sometimes looking like a top-tier option at quarterback, other times, it’s like the current NFL leader in sacks taken doesn’t belong on a football field.

That’s more of what we saw in Week 3 on Sunday, when Wentz completed just over 50% (58.1%) of his passes while taking nine sacks in a 24-8 loss to his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Basically, despite getting 77 offensive snaps, the scoring attack was horrible. Wentz took the blame for sitting in the pocket long enough to get taken down so often, but it didn’t prevent local reporters from wondering whether he should be under center at all.

Specifically, head coach Ron Rivera was asked whether he’s put any thought into benching Wentz. The coach stated at no point in Sunday’s game did he ever consider changing quarterbacks. He didn’t seem too interested in continuing with the subject, by responding with a quick “No, I’m not.

Washington’s backup quarterback is Taylor Heinicke, who started 15 games for Washington in 2021. Rookie fifth-round pick Sam Howell is another option on the roster, if necessary.

Related: Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera denies team had interest in Jimmy Garoppolo

Carson Wentz experiment is failing again

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Commanders
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  • Carson Wentz stats in 2022: 63.1% completion rate, 861 passing yards, 7 TD, 3 INT, 15 sacks taken

It’s easy to look back now at the Carson Wentz trade and wonder what the Commanders were thinking by trading a third-round pick in 2022 and another conditional pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for the inconsistent QB. Yet, it’s also early in the season, and if Wentz can bounce back to help the Commanders finish better than 7-10, Washington still may feel it was worth it.

Their alternative option may have included a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, even if coach Rivera insists that was never their intention either. Or maybe they could have tried to see if Heinicke could do more with a full offseason to become engrained into the starting QB role.

The Commanders clearly felt Wentz was their best option available, so they swung a trade. Three games into the year, it’s possible they already have regrets. Luckily, they can get off of Wentz and the remaining $53.4 million on his contract simply by releasing him after the season. Doing so will leave behind zero dead salary impacting their future cap sheet. For now, Wentz has 14 more games to prove Washington made the right call. We’ll see what happens.

Related: NFL QB Rankings: Trevor Lawrence climbs into top 15, Carson Wentz slides

This article was originally published on and is republished here with permission.

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