- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Scott Turner is expected to join his old boss Ron Rivera in the same role for the Washington Redskins.

Turner, 37, interviewed with Rivera and the Redskins last week. He will replace Kevin O’Connell, Washington’s first-year coordinator who is now free to talk to other teams. Turner is also notably the son of former Redskins coach Norv Turner, who spent six years (1994 to 2000) with Washington.

Turner will become the fourth coach to join Rivera’s staff who also coached with him in Carolina.

The Panthers, however, did not make the 37-year-old offensive coordinator until Rivera was fired Dec. 3. Upon Rivera’s dismissal, Carolina promoted Turner from quarterbacks coach and shifted Norv Turner from coordinator to an offensive assistant.

The Panthers lost those final four games, and the team’s offense improved only slightly — yards per game went from 341 to 344, but Turner had already earned recognition for his earlier work with quarterback Cam Newton. When Turner was hired in 2018 as quarterbacks coach, Newton completed a career-high 67.9% of his passes. That year, the Panthers started 6-2, but finished 7-9.

With the Redskins, Turner will now help oversee the development of quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

At his first press conference as the Redskins new coach last week, Rivera offered a less-than-glowing assessment of the franchise’s top 2019 pick, saying he would have to earn the job. “I think he can become a franchise-style quarterback,” Rivera said. “It’s a process, though.”

Under O’Connell, Haskins made strides over the last few weeks of the season. The 22-year-old threw five touchdowns to just one interception in his final three games. After the season, Haskins lobbied for O’Connell to stay, and the coach did interview with Rivera for the position.

Before the season ended, O’Connell said he planned to talk to Haskins no matter what happened with his job.

“I really believe in him,” O’Connell said. “I think he learned this year, among all the other things that he learned, that he learned that he has to go earn the right on Sundays to feel comfortable and confident. It’s one thing to portray that … but when it’s real and deep down inside, you know you’re prepared for anything that may come about in this football game.”

The Redskins, though, will hand Haskins over to Turner — and, possibly, former Cleveland Browns QB coach Ken Zampese, who was interviewing for the same job with the Redskins Tuesday.

The coordinator’s position with Washington is the latest big jump for Turner, who has advanced steadily since he began his coaching career in 2011.

A former UNLV quarterback, Turner go his start as a quality control assistant in 2011. He then joined the Cleveland Browns in 2013 as wide receivers coach and the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 — overlapping with his dad in each spot.

Sports Illustrated reported Norv Turner had been giving his son more “coordinator-type duties” even before his promotion to prepare him for an eventual role.

The Redskins and Norv Turner ended on messy terms. After a 6-2 start in 2000, the Redskins had fallen to a 7-6 record when owner Dan Snyder decided to fire Norv Turner. According to ESPN, Norv Turner was told to stick around for a postgame meeting with Snyder, but the owner “was too upset to speak with Turner” and waited to fire him in the morning. Norv Turner went 49-59-1 in seven seasons in Washington.

“At this point, we just really needed to make a change, driven with what I call some serious leadership,” Snyder said then, according to The Associated Press.

Despite the history, that apparently did not stop Snyder from signing off on Rivera’s latest hire.

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