In January, the Redskins fan base was divided on several points; one of these questions was whether Ron Rivera should retain Kevin O’Connell as coordinator of the Redskins’ offense. O’Connell was young and energetic, and Redskins fans had seen many former talented coordinators of the same ilk quit the organization to be successful elsewhere – guys like Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay and Matt LeFleur. “Skins fans were reluctant to see another Redskins coach leaving the building.
In the end, Rivera and O’Connell said that a mutual separation had been agreed and that the Redskins Nation had been presented to another young offensive coordinator, but who was not entirely unknown to the franchise. Scott Turner, son of former Redskins head coach Norv Turner, is the very definition of a young and inexperienced offensive coordinator, having executed Carolina’s offense only for the last quarter of the 2019 season, but growing up, as he did, the son of the NFL’s offensive coach, he arrives with a great deal of knowledge and experience.
January 9, 2020: Scott Turner is the new Redskins OC and most Panthers’ offensives come with him
Turner expressed great enthusiasm for “coming home” when he spoke to reporters during his introductory media session a few months ago, reminding them that this is where he lived for a long time while his father was the DC coach; that he went to the local high school. Fans, in turn, are excited to see if the Redskins can reverse the flow of coaching talent and bring them to Redskins Park, attracting talent to the franchise instead of watching them go.
January 16, 2020: Scott Turner, Redskins Offensive Coordinator, conference call
On Wednesday, Scott Turner had a long Q&A session with local media via Zoom where he answered a bunch of questions about him and his offensive plans for the Redskins.
May 5, 2020: What can we expect from Scott Turner’s offensive?
While Turner was asked about specific position groups and specific players, he was also asked about his approach to teaching his offensive philosophies at the moment.
We have a very good group of coaches among these staff and I know the majority of them in Carolina. What they are first are the teachers. They all know this offense like the back of their hand. I try to delegate them and let them spend time with their guys to teach them.
I have been in and out of these meetings. We meet the quarters as one because Alex [Smith] is in Hawaii. I go there all the time. With quarterbacks, the bottom line is every game – explain to them what the goal of that game is, what we are trying to accomplish and what the philosophy is. This is something that we are trying to express to these guys.
Turner made some interesting remarks when he talked about the role of the quarterback in the attack, and touched on the issues of identifying good games and progressing the readings.
If … it’s the man [coverage] and you have a head-to-head confrontation, and you like confrontation, then reach the top of your fall, hitch and throw; take it and count on your guy to win. [Y]you have to win outside with these matches.
But for me, you don’t wait to read a progression, you just say, “Hey, we have our guy against their guy and we’re going to take him.” I was doing there, and I’m going to talk about part of the philosophy …
I think it helps Dwayne because he can quickly come back in the fall and identify a match, then put the ball where he wants. I think it’s easy for all quarterbacks to recognize, “Hey, I could have progress here, but I have a match back and I’m just going to take it. “We don’t have that option on every game, but we try to do it a little.
Related: In the spirit of Nate Kaczor, Redskins task team coordinator
Scott Turner was asked to talk about what the project meant for the receiving group he had to work with.
[We made sure to] bring in quality football players to create competition.
Looking at some of the additions we’ve made, yes, these may not be flashy names, but that isn’t necessarily always the best way to go either. We brought in guys who are a big competition, and the beauty of this is that we don’t have to play anyone until September 13e, for real, so we don’t have to define our programming today, and in none of our positions, [we’ll] let these guys practice, we’ll assess. We will evaluate and play the best players – play the guys who give us the best chance of winning.
You talk about our project, I mean obviously with [Antonio Gandy-Golden] I’m excited about Antonio. The guy did all the pieces. I know Liberty, but Liberty is still a pretty good level of football. They played against high level opponents, and these are some of his best games. Constant production.
The guy plays quick and challenged takes, all those things you want to see. Now he has to do it. He has to show it. Again, as I said, it starts in practice. In the future, he will have the opportunity to earn a place to contribute.
But even with Gibson, you can call him a ball carrier, you can call him whatever you like, but he played 80% of his snaps as catcher in Memphis. He’s … a guy who can give you some versatility offensively.
And then he discussed the new runners the team has added since January.
You know, it’s kind of the same thing I said with the receivers. We want to add quality guys and create competition.
It’s no secret that we took over a team that was not in the best place, right? It’s not like I said something no one knows – 3-13 last year. We have a long way to go to get better, and I think the way to do it is to create competition on your list.
So we wanted to add guys … like Peyton Barber, J.D. McKissic, and then in the project, you know like I said, Gibson is kind of a tweener type player.
What we didn’t want to do was handcuff us where, “hey, this is the guy and we have to play him. “
Right now we have options and we have guys who are competing, and whoever ends up winning the competition will be better because guys are pushing them.
CLICK HERE to watch the full Scott Turner Q&A session
Turner was asked if the offense would target specific players in terms of returning the ball to their hands.
I think it’s still to be seen, [although] obviously there are a few candidates.
Steven Sims – you saw what he did at the end of the year,
Antonio Gibson – [I already] talked about writing it up.
J.D. McKissic is a guy who was a receiver of slots at Arkansas State, who played in Seattle and for the Lions and who is now a ball carrier but has done a few different things.
These are three guys that really come to mind.
Obviously, we are going to try to put the ball in Terry’s hands, but it is rather a traditional receiver and throw the ball. But we have guys who we think can adapt to these molds to get the ball in a creative way, not just for the ball carrier and the catcher.
We are going to give a lot of people a chance and see how it goes.
Whenever I hear Scott Turner talk about the offensive plan, I am struck by his desire to lead something that is not “traditional”. He seems to disdain the idea of throwing the ball to the catcher and handing the ball to the ball carrier. Instead, he seems focused on building a set of skillful offensive players by combining running and receiving skills that will allow him to use formations, moves, and moves to create opportunities. of mismatch in each game. His ability (or lack thereof) to do it effectively seems to me to be the key to the offensive success the Redskins will experience this season.
Versatility has been a buzzword this offseason. This of course helps any O. This is Scott Turner’s vision (also talks about balance; it’s not about the run-to-pass ratio): pic.twitter.com/U9PaTz2Sny
– John Keim (@john_keim) May 27, 2020
Related: Let’s take a closer look at the Redskins’ coaches: Offense
He was asked to comment specifically on Adrian Peterson and if it fits the type of attacking system that Turner had described.
I have a lot of respect for Adrian. I spent three years with him in Minnesota. In 2015, he ran the league in a rush. I didn’t call the games, I was the quarterback coach, but this is the offense we are going to execute to an extent. It always changes with your staff.
With Adrian and his skills, when he rides, there is a role for this type of back. I understand what you are saying with the tricks of the pass game and it is able to catch up with the controls and that sort of thing. It’s great when you have it there for play passes, when you’re trying to throw the ball onto the field. I’m not concerned with this.
If someone is not good at something, no matter who it is, they don’t have to – except the offensive lineman, they have to block. But, when it comes to skill players, you can ask them to do the things they are good at.
Unsurprisingly, most of Turner’s questions focused on his young quarterback, Dwayne Haskins. He had a lot to say.
Haskins, the student
Obviously we can’t see him doing it in the field with virtual meetings, but we work a lot, obviously following the rules that the NFL has established – four days a week, two hours a day. We throw them a lot.
At the start of each meeting, we do quizzes, fair tests [to] test their retention. When we speak to him, he speaks the language. It’s pretty easy to say if they get it or not. Dwayne does a great job.
Haskins, the athlete
You can say he puts work outside of meeting time, and he works there and does everything he can. On the physical side, I know he does a lot on his own. You guys, I’m sure, have all seen the photos. It looks like he’s in great shape.
The time he spends with the receivers, Terry and [WR] Kelvin [Harmon] – they’ve been going together for a while now – it’s very positive.
Prepare the Haskins for the season
Obviously, as a coach, and with me coming in and participating in this new offense, I wish I had more time with him, but that’s what it is. I think we are doing a great job of making the most of the situation.
A lot of the game in this league is trust. Obviously, you have to have this skill set that we all think Dwayne has, but it takes time for the guys to really believe that they can do it and that they can play in this league. He is very competitive and humiliates everyone.
Watching it and spending time with it, getting to know it like I’ve done in the last few months, you want to rely on these things.
If we watch a movie, we can ask him a question about “Hey, what is this cover?” And it will give you the right answer. Why is that? When you can have this dialog and they can give you the right answer and repeat the things you talked about in previous sessions, it’s when you know it really starts clicking.
What Haskins showed in 2019
You watch him standing in the pocket; it doesn’t need a lot of space to operate. This is one thing that worries you about college football players. Often in college football, if you look at the quarterbacks in your pocket, there is often no one around them. This is not how we play the game.
It was one of the first things I looked at when I got the job – looking at Dwayne’s pass representatives and how it worked in those narrow pockets. His eyes stayed on the ground. He was able to push the ball into the field in these 20, 30, 40 yard throws with speed, without needing a lot of space to generate with his body.
He’s a big guy and hard to take down. I saw this firsthand in Carolina when the Redskins came down and beat us. He came out of a few games and extended the games that way just because of his physique. These are things that really stand out. You’re going to make money in this league by standing there and throwing on the pitch when it’s difficult. He has shown enough. His eyes will not go down and he will not look at the defensive line. He will hang on to it and execute the throws on the ground.
I really appreciated this last set of comments in particular, as it highlighted something about our quarterback that is often overlooked or undervalued; specifically, that Dwayne has the ability to hold himself in a collapsing pocket and throw because he is strong. Too often, we judge players on their 40 times or on the strength of their arms displayed on empty ground with a receiver that drags along the sidelines in shorts and compression shirts. Some guys play faster than their 40’s time (and some slower), and some quarters can make games when things aren’t perfect, while others can’t.
I watched a bunch of 2019 season highlight reels this week while working on a few other items, and, although I was focused on Redskins receivers while watching, I was struck by this that I saw from Dwayne Haskins. I have seen a considerable improvement in pocket consciousness. Even at the end of the season, he made mistakes, but it was clear from watching the film one pass after another through a series of games, that Dwayne was improving his footwork and becoming more aware of how manage the defense and how to get the ball to the right receiver efficiently and on time.
If he has learned so much in nine games with a coaching staff with no future in Washington, how much faster will he improve with staff who are dedicated to making him the best quarterback than ‘can it be?