A player and a coach facing pressure for the Washington Football Team in 2021

May 25, 2021; Ashburn, Virginia, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) attempts a pass during an OTA at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2021; Ashburn, Virginia, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) attempts a pass during an OTA at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports /

As we look forward to the 2021 Washington Football Team season, there are two people who are facing pressure to produce, but for very different reasons.

Washington Football Team OC Scott Turner

Entering the 2020 season there were question marks about Turner; it was his first as a full-time Offensive Coordinator at the pro ranks.  Was he hired simply because Coach Rivera was comfortable with him from his time in Carolina?  Was he riding the coattail of his well-respected father Norv Turner who had over 40 years of coaching experience (35 at the NFL level)?

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Or was Scott Turner viewed as a smart young offensive mind; innovative and more adept to handle the evolving offensive nuances of the NFL than more experienced coaches who may lack the creativity?

The 2020 season was going to be tough for the offense and more specifically on Turner.  Not only was Turner an inexperienced play-caller, but his starting QB lacked experience and the unit was deficient of playmakers in comparison to a lot of teams in the NFL.

The team struggled to throw the ball early in the season.  The QB carousel began. Without stability at QB, Turner was tasked with the near impossible.  But his units too often came out of the gates slow and found themselves playing from behind too often.

Whether it was the inexperience of Haskins or the lack of mobility and inability to push the ball down the field with Alex Smith, Turner was handcuffed.  We saw glimpses of his creativity but he simply didn’t have the horses to showcase his offensive expertise.

As we enter the 2021 season, many of those deficiencies on offense have been addressed.  The QB position has an experienced gunslinger coming off a few of his more successful seasons.

The WR group which had included only one drafted player in ’20 (third-round Terry McLaurin) has been overhauled.  With the additions of Dyami Brown and Curtis Samuel, the WFT now has one of the fastest skill position groups in the NFL.  Not only fast, but diverse.

Adam Humphries was brought in to be the first true slot WR Washington has had since Crowder.  With a year of experience under their belts at new positions, Logan Thomas and Antonio Gibson should only get better.  The talent, speed and diversity of the group has me intoxicated, I can only imagine how Turner must feel.

But with the added talent and expectations brings immense pressure for the young Turner.  With an experienced QB, he must trust him.  With the speed and diversity he must open up the playbook.  This offense needs better rhythm and tempo.  It’s his duty to get the offense rolling early and often.

The defense is tasked with matching up with some of best QB’s in the league this year, the offense must score points, they must move the ball and sustain drives.  The pressure is on Scott Turner in 2021.  I’m excited to see how he handles it, this unit could prove to be as good as the defense.

Washington Football Team QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a bit of an enigma throughout his career.  His roller coaster of a career is well documented.  He’s a well-traveled journeyman who has had glimpses of greatness followed by plays that have you scratching your head.

He’s had a career that has always seemed to be one play away from being benched.  Whether it’s been the young rookie that he’s seemingly warming the seat for or the other journeymen QBs on the roster of bad teams looking at the QB position as the fault for the poor team performance, his splashes of Fitzmagic have never seemed to be enough to land him on a good football team.

As Fitzpatrick enters his 17th season in the league, he’s never been the starter for a playoff team.  To me, that’s alarming.  Some pundits say he’s never really been given a chance and is the product of playing on a lot of bad teams and bad organizations.  I personally believe his inconsistent play on the field is why he’s never been given that opportunity on a good team.

But as we enter 2021, this appears to be his opportunity.  The Washington Football Team is good.  He has depth on the offensive line, playmakers at the Skill Positions and a defense that most analysts predict is a top-five defense in the NFL.

There are no excuses this year for Fitzpatrick.  The pressure is on him to perform.  And I would argue that while the Washington Football Team doesn’t need to see Fitzmagic this season, they certainly don’t need to see Fitztragic.

The player they need to see is Fitzpatrick.  The 17-year veteran who can provide leadership and experience to help this young team reach the next level.   A player who will make plays downfield when they present themselves, not to force them. The team needs the Fitzpatrick that will rely on Scott Turner to scheme up these playmakers and make his job as QB easier.

The pressure on the 2021 Washington Football Season sits squarely on the ability of the young and inexperienced Turner to work well with the experienced veteran Fitzpatrick.  The success of the team is reliant on these two handling the pressure and bringing stability to the QB position.

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If these two guys can do that, the Washington Football Team just may have a magical season.