Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Rivera was blunt and unapologetic when asked Monday what separates the rest of the ascending NFC East from his Commanders: "Quarterback," he said, suggesting that Washington had failed to identify a quality signal-caller in a "quarterback-driven league." A day later, Washington's coach has walked back those comments, telling reporters he apologized to both Carson Wentz and the rest of the team for singling out QB as the club's weakness.

"I had a mea culpa moment," Rivera first told "The Dan Geronimo Show" Tuesday, per "I created a little bit of a distraction and that's one thing that I try not to do and it's one thing that I'm very aware of. Again, it's one of those things that when you misstep, people can't wait to dive onto it and jump onto it and hold onto it without an opportunity (for you) to explain yourself. So, hey, that's on me. I should know better."

Asked later, while addressing the media, if he understood why his initial remarks may have taken Wentz and other players aback, Rivera admitted as much: "I do," he said, "but you know, at the end of the day, I spoke to my team this morning. I basically told them I said some things that were misconstrued, I didn't present it properly, and that's on me. So I took accountability, told the guys that I should now better. And s---, I had a bad day. So I figured ... let's move forward."

Rivera's initial comments were also met with fierce criticism from outside the team, with former Washington QB Alex Smith criticizing the coach on ESPN for "absolutely driving a bus over his quarterback," especially in light of the Commanders' blatant issues along the offensive line and defense. Rivera said Tuesday that players inside the building "have been really positive about it," however, and that he and Wentz "had a nice conversation, so I think we're ready to roll."

Wentz, for what it's worth, downplayed the controversy when asked about it later Tuesday.

"Coach addressed it, handled it," he told reporters. "(It's) nothing, for me, that I'm overly concerned about it. Coach is a very straightforward, upfront guy, and he addressed it in the team meeting, which I thought was really cool, and what he meant by it all."

Neither Wentz nor the Commanders have played a complete game this year, Rivera's third at the helm. The team has surrendered 20 sacks through five games, the third most in the NFL, and ranks among the bottom 10 in defense. But Wentz, despite occasional big plays through the air with the fifth most passing yards among all starters, has been mercurial overall, throwing six interceptions in the team's 1-4 start.