After an opening-week win, the Washington Commanders have lost three straight.
Carson Wentz is asking everyone to remain calm.
“There’s no sense of panic. There’s no sense of chaos around here,” Wentz said Wednesday, via NBC Sports Washington. “We’re going into Week 5. We know how we’ve played (and) it wasn’t up to our standards. But at the same time, I know everyone in that locker room has a ton of confidence. We’ve seen spurts of what we’re capable of. … We know the sense of urgency that there is but there’s no panic by any means.”
It’s not shocking to hear Wentz say this publicly, but it is a bit of a surprise, considering how chaotic things have been for Washington in the last couple of weeks. After averaging 27.5 points per game in the Commanders’ first two contests, Washington has scored just nine points per game in the last two. Wentz has been under constant duress, getting sacked 11 times in the last two weeks while posting a passer rating of just 63.9.
This version of Wentz — a frantic quarterback who is rarely comfortable in the pocket and is often running for his life — is the one that is familiar to most individuals. It’s also a discouraging sight for a club pinning its hopes of a turnaround on the new arrival.
Wentz’s teammates won’t say as much, though, and certainly will not throw the quarterback under the bus, even as the road grows increasingly treacherous.
“He hasn’t been hanging his head; he doesn’t point fingers at all,” receiver Terry McLaurin said of Wentz, who has been sacked more than any other quarterback in the NFL. “He really takes a lot of that blame on himself. I think that’s admirable of him, but also, we could also do a better job helping him as his supporting cast making his job a little easier.”
Wentz sees a silver lining amid the constant harassment he’s endured in the last couple of weeks: The Commanders have gained some experience with excellent defensive fronts and should be better equipped to protect him. That theory will be tested this weekend when they host the Tennessee Titans, a team that sits 26th in total defense, but is tied for 12th in sacks.
“It’s a good team. Very good defense, they are coached well,” Wentz said. “They fly around and make a lot of plays. Their front is very talented. We feel that we’ve gone up against some very good fronts lately, so I’m confident the guys will be ready for that. … I know we’ve got a tall task, but it’ll be fun. I’m excited for it.”
Washington’s issues aren’t exclusive to its offense; The Commanders are allowing 26.8 points per game this season, the fourth-most in the NFL. It’s a fresh stain on the reputation of defensive-minded coach Ron Rivera, who is overseeing a defense that is allowing the most points per game since his first season as head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
Add in the offense’s woes, and you have the worst point differential (-34) in the NFL after one month.
Things need to change — quickly — for the Commanders to have a shot at contention in 2022. Their turnaround from 1-3 to 7-9 in 2020 produced a division title in a terrible NFC East, but that’s far from the same division in which they’re now operating.
“We’ve got to find a way to win. Patience only lasts so long,” Wentz said. “We’ve got to find ways to convert, stay on the field, score touchdowns, score points and win some ball games.”
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