Commanders fire offensive coordinator Scott Turner


After another season in which Washington fell behind on offense, the Commanders fired coordinator Scott Turner on Tuesday, ending his three-year career as a caller.

“I met with Coach Turner today and informed him that we are going in a different direction,” coach Ron Rivera said in a statement Tuesday. “…Unfortunately, we did not meet the expectations and standards that I expected to see from our offensive unit. I thought it best to make a fresh start as coordinator before next year. I have tremendous respect for Scott and thank him for his three years of service to our organization. I wish Scott and his family all the best for the future.

The move is the first domino to fall after the Commanders’ knockout bid failed, but it may not be the last.

Turner reunited with Rivera in Washington in 2020 after Turner spent two years as quarterbacks coach for the Carolina Panthers. When Carolina let Rivera go, Turner remained as offensive coordinator for the final four games of the 2019 season.

Turner’s role in Washington was his first full-time job as a coordinator and was high stakes. The franchise began a rebuild and rebrand, and Turner planned eight starting quarterbacks during his tenure.

Commanders players are frustrated with offensive play calls

Over the past three seasons, Washington’s offense has ranked near the bottom of the NFL in many statistical categories, including 27th in yards and red-zone efficiency, 28th in offensive scoring and 25th in conversion rate. third trials. The team has also been a model of inefficiency, posting the fourth-worst total expected offensive points added and a turnover-per-player rate that ranks fifth.

The son of former Washington coach Norv Turner, Scott Turner used the foundation of his father’s Air Coryell system, which typically includes a vertical passing offense and a powerful running game. But in Washington, Turner has not only run through an array of quarterbacks, he’s also worked with multiple offensive line iterations and been without running back Brian Robinson Jr. for five games this season.

“We didn’t do the things we wanted to do this year,” Turner said last week. “…I am responsible for this as much as anyone. …I think there’s a lot of room to grow and I’m looking forward to working with these guys and continuing to improve and continuing to improve and take this team to where we want it to be. she is.

Washington’s struggles were tied to a myriad of factors, including quarterback inconsistency. But the attack and play call became a source of frustration in the locker room as nearly a dozen players shared their gripes over its predictability, lack of production and some calls that seemed to undermine staff strengths of the team.

In short, players thought that given the talent on the roster, they should produce and earn more.

“We did a good job entering the red zone. We just have to convert with touchdowns,” tight end Logan Thomas said. “I think it was a bit of our struggles. In the red zone, you need to be able to run the football for touchdowns. We have to be able to make games. It stinks that we didn’t do the work… because we have the talent.

Starting Monday: Commanders players clear lockers and await an offseason of uncertainty

Commanders traded Carson Wentz in March, thinking his height and arm strength would expand the field vertically. But they started 2-4 with Wentz under centre, only to turn things around when Taylor Heinicke took over in Week 7 after Wentz was injured the previous week.

Turning to running play, the Commanders won six games in seven weeks to put them in playoff conversation before they unraveled in December. Washington went 1-3-1 in its last five games, its only victory in a meaningless season finale started by rookie quarterback Sam Howell, only to retire from the postseason as it finished 8 -8-1.

“I thought we [found our identity in Week 10] when we won in Philadelphia,” left tackle Charles Leno Jr. said. “I felt like that was our identity. We started having a winning streak after that, and sometimes we got away from it. for some reason. I don’t know what the reason could be, but it’s not my job. I just have to go out and do my own.

That identity is one that Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew have said they intend to reunite with as they revamp the roster again this offseason. At a high-profile end-of-season press conference on Tuesday, held just hours before Turner’s departure, both men said they intended the offense to be a system of race first led by Robinson and Antonio Gibson.

“We worked a lot on Carson,” Mayhew said. “We knew a lot about him – the good, the bad, the ugly. We thought it suited the way we wanted to play football. We couldn’t play the style of ball we wanted to play the first two games. … did not have [Robinson], did not have the racing game as we wanted. We were 2 against 1 pass-run, which is not our formula. As you saw, this last match, we were 2 against 1 run-pass. … That’s how we want to play.

Mayhew and Rivera said their focus on the running game is a philosophical belief rooted in their experience and not a default approach due to inconsistent quarterback play.

“For me it is. I was involved in that,” Rivera said. “…We have to control the pace of the game. I believe in a two-back system. have to be able to put the ball in the hands of these guys.

The problem with that: Washington’s offense was apparently built with an emphasis on the passing game. Not only did the Commanders trade for Wentz, but they drafted a wide receiver, Jahan Dotson, in the first round.

“I thought last year we had a chance to take a step, and I think we took a step,” Rivera said. “Am I disappointed that we didn’t make the playoffs? I am right. We had the opportunity to control our own destiny, and we didn’t do the things we needed at the right time. But there are things we cannot control. So the best thing we can do is control what we can, and that is the growth and development of our players.

To stick with the run-first ethos, Washington’s priorities this offseason will include improving the interior of the offensive line, which suffered a decline in play after parting ways with the Brandon guards. Scherff and Ereck Flowers a year ago.

On the other side of the ball, the COs are hoping to add youth and depth to the secondary and must consider the future of Daron Payne, one of their most notable defensive tackles. The 2018 No. 1 pick will be a free agent in March if Washington doesn’t re-sign or tag him as a franchise. A long-term deal would force Washington to allocate even more salary cap resources to the defensive line; he has already paid off fellow tackle Jonathan Allen and will soon face decisions on ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young.

“We’re working through this process now,” Mayhew said. “Daron is an important part of what we do. … It would be difficult to move forward without him, obviously. We have a plan and we absolutely want to get it back.

Commanders operate with few safeguards.

In November, owners Daniel and Tanya Snyder announced that they had retained the services of a bank to “consider potential transactions” related to the team, and recent indications indicate that they are considering selling. But when and to whom they sell could have significant implications for the football side of the business.

Rivera said he plans to meet with the property on Monday.

“We’re going to do what we’re supposed to do to prepare ourselves to move forward,” Rivera said. “We have to look at what happens in the draft, what happens in free agency. We will review what we have on our list and complete those reviews – complete reviews of myself, the staff and what we do.

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