Ron Rivera says 2022 should be the year where Washington Commanders 'ascend' -

Ron Rivera has won seven games in both of his first two seasons as head coach of the Washington Commanders, but the campaigns couldn't have been more different. 

In 2020, Washington went 7-9 and finished in first place in the NFC East despite quarterback issues, and then gave the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers a run for their money in the postseason. In 2021, Washington went 7-10 and missed the postseason while the defense took a big step backward. The Commanders also again suffered through misfortune at the quarterback position, starting three different signal-callers for the fourth straight season.

This offseason, the Commanders tried to solve the quarterback problem by trading for Carson Wentz, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts. While he was punted out of Indy after just one season, Rivera and the Commanders view Wentz as someone who could bring stability to the most important position in football. With this addition, the Commanders have to show they are improving -- and Rivera knows it.

"I do feel it," Rivera said of the pressure, via ESPN. "This is the year that says, 'We're going to ascend.' And we should be ascending."

Rivera said that Wentz gets them "a few steps in the right direction." He passed for 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his one season with the Colts, but was rather inconsistent and failed to capitalize in a win-and-in postseason situation in Week 18 vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, losing by 15 points to the worst team in football. 

Maybe a return to the NFC East will do something to rejuvenate Wentz. He was drafted second overall in 2016 by the Philadelphia Eagles, and certainly had big moments in the past. He was on track to win MVP in 2017 before a torn ACL ended his season prematurely, and he even inked a four-year, $128 million extension that was historic at the time, guaranteeing over $107 million. While things went downhill after that, Wentz has shown he's a legitimate starting quarterback before.

The 2022 season is going to be important for both Wentz and the Commanders, as they need to show that they are "ascending."

"The third season is when you take another step," Rivera said earlier this offseason. "This area is hungry for a winner. They want a winner and I want to win."