- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Scott Turner was a senior in high school when his father Norv was fired from the Washington Redskins in 2000. Back then, owner Dan Snyder was reportedly so angry the Redskins were falling short of their Super Bowl expectations, he skipped a postgame meeting with Norv Turner and waited until the morning to dismiss him as head coach.

But now a coach himself — hired as the Redskins‘ offensive coordinator, no less — Scott Turner knows that’s just part of the business.

“It’s really a dream come true to be back here,” the younger Turner said Wednesday on a conference call. “It’s pretty surreal, to be honest with you. “

Speaking to reporters for the first time since his hiring last week, Turner said he didn’t take his father’s firing personally. Washington, he said, was where he considers home, given he moved to the area when he was 11 and stayed for seven years.

With the Redskins, Turner will be responsible for scheming an offense to get the most out of his players. That group includes quarterback Dwayne Haskins, whose development is crucial for Washington.

Redskins coach Ron Rivera opted not to anoint the 22-year-old as starter earlier this month. But on Wednesday, Turner had high praise for the quarterback. The two met before the draft when Turner was with the Carolina Panthers, and Turner noted he was a “really big fan” when Haskins was coming out of Ohio State.

“All the physical tools that you want are there,” Turner said. “He needs to keep getting experience and will be a really good player.”

To help him, Turner acknowledged the Redskins will have to have an offense tailored to each player’s strengths. For Haskins, that means standing in the pocket, getting the ball out quick and pushing it down the field, he said.

Turner also mentioned using more play-action, something the Redskins attempted on only 20.8% of Haskins’ drop-backs. By comparison, Lamar Jackson led the league in play-action percentage at 34.8%.

In Carolina, Turner was promoted to offensive coordinator for the final four games — elevated from quarterbacks coach only after Rivera was fired on Dec. 3. It was the 37-year-old’s first time calling plays, which he described as a “really good experience.” The four games reinforced the idea that he had to be ready for any possible situation.

Though Turner saw a bigger role only after Rivera’s dismissal, the two men are close. Next season will be the fifth Rivera and Turner have worked together, and when Rivera took over the Redskins, Turner said he had a feeling he would be a candidate to join his staff.

But an interview still had to be done. Over the course of their conversation, Rivera and Turner discussed what the offense would look like, what the plan would be to develop Haskins and the team’s other young players. Not long after, Rivera offered him the job.

As the Redskins‘ offensive coordinator, Turner replaces Kevin O’Connell, the 34-year-old first-time play-caller who drew praise for his work with Haskins and Washington’s young receivers. O’Connell, who moved on to take the same position with the Los Angeles Rams, was a candidate to stay on, but Rivera chose Turner instead.

Now, Turner will be judged primarily on how he is able to develop Haskins and how the offense performs.

Asked the keys to getting the most out of a young quarterback, Turner said it centered on the passer’s commitment.

“If you’re the last guy in, the first guy to leave, you don’t have a mastery of the offense as a quarterback and 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. “It starts No. 1 that the quarterback has to spend their time so he knows the offense better than anybody. … Guys see when it is there and guys see when it is not.”

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