Ashburn, Virginia. The experience with Carson Wentz got off to a good start for Washington Command. In the first game, the quarterback threw four touchdown passes and the offense attacked the entire field, scattering the ball and tearing the Jacksonville Jaguars defense.

The 28-point effort looked like the start of something fun.

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This is not true. The experience hasn’t been as good in the last two games.

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Wentz is not to blame for all of Washington’s failures over the past two weeks. The Commanders (1-3) totaled 18 points in losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, which can best be described as a team failure from the coaches to the end.

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Wentz’s defense didn’t work, which forced him to make quicker decisions in the pockets and be more accurate on offense that he hadn’t been involved in before.

“He still feels like he’s going through it,” Rivera said.

Over the past three games, Wentz has come under pressure with 53 passes and 16 layoffs, both NFL records in that period. And he posted a combined QBR of 28.6 in those games, up 95.9 in the second half of a Week 2 loss in Detroit, when he threw for three touchdowns.

Despite these difficulties, Washington invested heavily in Wentz, their sixth starting quarterback in three seasons with coach Ron Rivera. They traded two draft picks to the Indianapolis Colts, a second-round pick in 2022 and a conditional pick in 2023, which is also likely to be in the second round. They also gobbled up Wentz’s $28.2 million cap.

They need to make it work with Wentz. Give them time to work. And remain optimistic.

“As he becomes more and more comfortable, more and more in sync with what the offensive coaches think,” Rivera said, “you will see his comfort level start to rise more and more.”

The Commanders need this move to pay off and avoid a sixth losing season in a row.

After clashing with two of the NFL’s most stingy quarterbacks in the past two weeks – both Philadelphia and Dallas are in the top 10 in yards, points and passing yards allowed – Washington gets a break Sunday against the Tennessee Titans (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) … it hopes. The Tennessee defense ranks low in several key categories, including points allowed (25th), total yards (26), and passing yards (28).

“I definitely missed a few throws and missed a few readings,” Wentz said. “We are still growing and learning together. I have a ton of confidence that we will continue to get better and continue to see the explosiveness that we can be.”

They saw it in the first week. Given the time to shoot, Wentz was effective. According to Sportzshala Stats & Information, Wentz has only been pressured six times and fired once. He completed 27 of 41 passes for 313 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He posted an overall QBR of 58.4.

Since then, its performance has declined significantly.

Washington needs to make sure this doesn’t become a repeat of his 2020 season in Philadelphia. After four games that season, Wentz had a 37.6 QBR with four touchdowns and seven picks. Then the difference: Wentz spent five seasons in this attack, not four games.

“It takes more than a couple of weeks to get used to this attack,” said Washington tight end Logan Thomas. – The guy will be fine.

But there will be growing pains.

“Of course, there are disappointing moments, but you need to move forward,” Wentz said. “You will make mistakes and lose several times. You have to stay confident in yourself, stay confident in the guys around you, and be confident in the guys around you if they make a mistake. By no means am I perfect in that regard, I try to stay even through the ups and downs, but there are moments of disappointment.”

Wentz’s teammates noticed his behavior.

“He didn’t put his head down,” wide receiver Terry McLaurin said. “He doesn’t point fingers at all, he takes most of that blame on himself. But we can also do a better job in our supporting role, making his job easier.”

The hard part for Wentz is that Washington could be left without 60% of their original offensive line due to injuries. And a novice receiver Jahan Dotson Rivera says he’s dealing with a hamstring injury that could keep him out of the game for a week or two.

Wentz needs time to quit. The problem is that teams get to him with four pass rushers. He was fired by the NFL 14 times against four-man pressure; teams used only four rushers 68% of the time against Washington, meaning they can use seven defenders more often.

“I would like someone to protect him because it will help support him,” Rivera said of Wentz. “This will give him a chance to pass the ball to our playmakers. It kind of works hand in hand: if you have no protection – he has no protection – his number has decreased.

It doesn’t help that Washington has had to play 30 times when it’s third, 7 or more when it’s second in the NFL. It’s not an ideal situation for any quarterback.

“We can’t drive ourselves into a hole,” said Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner.

But security issues are different. Sometimes the guard slides the wrong way, resulting in a free rush, as happened on Sunday; other times it may be due to a slower paced game that doesn’t lock well.

Wentz sometimes holds the ball for too long, a habit he showed in both Philadelphia and Indianapolis. Rivera said that this is partly due to Wentz’s newness in the system. This can cause indecision. It can also cause the ball to be held longer and then overwhelmed by the onslaught. Rivera said that aspect will be helped by the fact that Wentz will get comfortable with the system.

“A couple of times when you see him go through his progressions, you see almost to the point that by the time he gets to the second or third [option]he’s under duress,” Rivera said. “And a lot of times you wish you could say, ‘Hey, if you didn’t drop it on your first, you’ll get to your second, you should be ready to deliver it.’ It’s something he will learn and get used to over time, and hopefully it’s a short period of time.”

Whether due to the novelty of the system or the stress of the onslaught of passing, Wentz would occasionally miss an open target—perhaps moving forward too fast or not being patient enough.

Or he will try to play big: On the second and ninth shots from the Dallas 10-yard line on Sunday with 8:51 until the end of the game, Thomas and McLaurin ran on opposite sides of the slope. Both would get at least 5 yards.

Wentz decided to take a corner to the receiver Curtis Samuel off his back leg, almost jumping to throw. It was an almost perfect shot, but instead it went out of bounds. He was fired one game later, placing fourth and 15th.

Then again, during Washington’s only touchdown of the game, he connected on a 10-yard, well-thrown corner route with Dotson—both McLaurin and Thomas ran the crossing route, opening up under him. The wait paid off.

“That’s why you have to choose wisely,” Wentz said. “Play fast and trust your instincts. You will make the right decision, and if you miss something, you will make the wrong one. … You try to make quick instinctive decisions, but definitely over and over again I will kick myself for missing one or two, but hopefully there will be more good than bad at the end of the day.”

Or towards the end of the season. With 13 more games to go, Wentz has been prone to hesitation in the past. After the Jaguars’ win, Rivera was asked how he would handle Wentz’s roller coaster games.

“Take antacids,” he said.