The Washington Commanders could be eliminated Sunday night if the Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings, but that was apparently news for Commanders head coach Ron Rivera.
Following Washington’s 24-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Rivera answered questions from the media. When asked by a reporter about his quarterback strategy next week if the Commanders were eliminated on Sunday, Rivera paused for several long seconds before asking this question:
“We can be eliminated?
He seemed genuinely surprised to learn that the Commanders could be wiped out in just a few hours.
This is the scenario that would eliminate the playoff Commanders heading into Week 17: Commanders lose to Browns, Detroit Lions beat Chicago Bears, Packers beat Vikings. By the time Rivera spoke to the media, the Commanders had lost to the Browns and the Lions had beaten the Bears. That left only the Packers and Vikings, who were scheduled to start at 4:05 p.m. ET.
It’s understandable for a head coach to have a brain fart and a blank over the name of a team or a player. It happens to everyone, even the most successful people. But what happened to Rivera is not that. He didn’t forget part of the elimination scenario, nor the name of one of the teams involved. He seemed to have absolutely no idea that the Commanders could be eliminated in Week 17.
A head coach’s job is to prepare his team for all scenarios, on and off the pitch. Had Rivera known Commanders could be knocked out, would that have affected his decision to pitch QB Carson Wentz, who threw three interceptions and zero touchdowns against the Browns on Sunday? Would he have considered starting Taylor Heinicke, or maybe he would have benched Wentz for Heinicke during the game?
Unfortunately, no matter what he would have done. The game is already over and on the books, and the fate of the commanders is beyond their control.
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