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Five Takeaways: Redskins Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner Addresses The Media


On Wednesday afternoon, Scott Turner addressed the local media for the first time since being named the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator. Here are five takeaways from his introductory conference call:

1. Turner called returning to the Redskins as a "dream come true."

Turner was 11 years old when his father, Norv Turner, began coaching the Redskins, and it wasn't until his senior year at Oakton High School in Virginia that his father's coaching tenure in Washington ended. Turner said he still has a lot of really close friends from the area. He even considers it home.

So, when asked about the Redskins firing his father in 2000, Turner said there are no ill feelings. In fact, he was overjoyed when head coach Ron Rivera gave him the opportunity to return to his childhood franchise.

"It is really a dream come true to be back here," Turner said. "It is pretty surreal to be honest with you."

2. The coaching staff will fit its offensive scheme to its personnel.

Turner has worked with his father throughout his coaching career, and in that time the offense system has mostly stayed the same. But there's also versatility within the offense that allows it to look different depending on the situation. That's because the offense is based on the personnel, not the other way around.

Turner aims to implement that same philosophy in his first full season as an offensive coordinator. He's keen on emphasizing players' strengths, especially with first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. Turner sees Haskins as a sturdy signal-caller who can stand strong in the pocket and deliver accurate passes downfield, so he plans to use a lot of play action to ensure those throws are available. He also noticed that Haskins excels at getting the ball out quickly to his playmakers. This might mean shorter drops for Haskins and shallower routes for his receivers, which would give them more room to create after the catch.

Turner said the coaching staff is currently in the process of "really trying to get to know these guys." Only then will they begin fleshing out the intricacies of the offense.

3. Turner wants Dwayne Haskins to be the "most committed guy in the building."

As the quarterbacks coach for the Carolina Panthers last season, Turner evaluated Haskins throughout the draft process and had him rated "pretty high" coming out of Ohio State.

All of the physical tools were there, Turner said; it was more a matter of experience. After all, Haskins joined the Redskins with just one year as a college starter.

For Turner, those assessments still hold true following Haskins' first NFL season. He thought Haskins improved throughout the year, but the 15th overall pick still only started seven games after playing sparingly the first half of the season.

With more experience, Turner believes Haskins could be a "really good player." Whether that happens or not will come down to his commitment level.

Regardless of physical attributes, Turner said the starting quarterback needs to be the "most committed guy in the building." That's who Cam Newton was in Carolina when he won Rookie of the Year in 2011. It's who Teddy Bridgewater was with the Minnesota Vikings when he set several franchise records as a rookie in 2014 and made the Pro Bowl a year later.

Turner and his coaching staff will challenge Haskins to assume a similar role in Washington.

"If you're the last guy in, the first guy to leave, you don't have a mastery of the offense as a quarterback. If you try to tell somebody else what to do or try to step into a leadership-type role, it is not going to work and no one is going to listen to you," Turner said. "The quarterback has to spend his time so he knows the offense better than anybody. He has to know it like a coach and he has to be able to present that on the field and present that confidence when he is running the show. That takes work to get to that and guys see it. Guys see when it is there and guys see when it is not."

4. Expect Rivera to allow Turner and the offensive staff to operate freely.

During Rivera's first two seasons in Carolina, Turner was an offensive quality control coach. During his final two years, Turner was the quarterbacks coach.

In that time, Turner said Rivera largely allowed the offensive staff to operate freely. He expects more of the same with the Redskins.

"There is going to be transparency," Turner said. "I'll be in charge of putting together the game plan with our offensive staff. He is going to be focused on being a head coach as well as probably a little bit more focused on defense. But we'll talk to him every step."

It helps that nearly the entire Redskins' staff has coached with Rivera before. Offensive line coach John Matsko and tight ends coach Pete Hoener have been with Rivera since he started coaching the Panthers in 2011. Wide receivers coach Jim Hostler served under Rivera last season, as did assistant wide receivers coach Drew Terrell, assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton and offensive quality control coach Todd Storm.

That familiarity should expedite the process of working with a whole new crop of players in Washington.

"[Rivera will] have all of our installs, he'll have our offseason installs and we'll clearly show him what we're going to be offensively," Turner said. "If there is something that he is not comfortable with, he's the head coach and we're not going to do it. He'll have input from me as far as things that give him some issues -- defensively stuff that he sees and we'll work some of those things in.

"Ultimately when it comes to game day, I'll be calling the plays and I'm sure Coach Rivera will have input for me in between series and stuff like that."

5. Turner enters his first season as offensive coordinator, but it's not the first time he'll be calling plays.

Days after the Panthers parted ways with Rivera, they made multiple changes to the offensive staff. Among them were Norv Turner moving from offensive coordinator to special assistant to the head coach and Scott Turner filling his father's former role. In Week 14 against the Atlanta Falcons, Turner called plays for the first time.

The Panthers offense struggled during Turner's stretch as offensive coordinator, but he called the promotion a "really good learning experience" that will certainty benefit him in his newest coaching endeavor.

"There are so many variables in football and it is hard to predict exactly what is going to happen next, so you have to be ready for every possible situation," Turner said. "That is the one thing, just the feeling that, 'Hey those calls have to come and come before that play clock goes off.' And everyone is depending on you. That is obviously something that I knew, but it is different when you're the guy calling it."