The Washington Commanders’ fan base is always quick to scrutinize offensive coordinator Scott Turner. For the most part, the critiques are warranted.
While there’s a lot to like about the play-caller’s philosophy, he has a propensity to get cute when it’s uncalled for, and be conservative (calling a run up the middle on second and long) when aggression is needed.
Between dialing up a run-pass-option for Taylor Heinicke and 3rd and 9 against the Vikings, and struggling to get Terry McLaurin involved in the first half of games early in the season, and Curtis Samuel not touching the ball nearly enough over the last month, Turner has received his fair share of criticism in 2022.
The general consensus was Carson Wentz would maximize Turner’s Air Coryell concepts. That … was anything but the case — albeit in a limited sample size — and the offense has been more functional with Heinicke under center.
It’d be great to see what Turner could do with an above-average, quarterback. That idea could soon come to fruition, as NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero named Turner as one of several candidates to watch for the upcoming head coaching carousel.
No, we’re not kidding.
Commanders OC Scott Turner surprisingly named a candidate for the 2023 head coach hiring cycle.
It’s wort noting Pelissero compiled an extensive list, so’ it’s not like Turner was one of five candidates. Still, though, Commanders fans will be stunned by the coordinator’s inclusion alongside DeMeco Ryans, Jonathan Ganon and Byron Leftwich.
How can someone who (at times) struggles with the fundamentals of running an offense — like manufacturing touches for his best players — possibly make the jump to head coach in a few month’s time? It’s a fair question.
Here’s what Pelissero had to say about Turner.
"It’s a credit to Turner that the Washington offense has been functional the past few seasons, given the revolving door at quarterback and nonstop drama surrounding the organization. Just look at his game plan in Monday night’s upset win over the Eagles, focusing on holding the ball and controlling the game; the Commanders had 25 first downs, converting 12 of them on third down, and had the ball for over 40 minutes. Turner is creative and knows how to adapt to his personnel (or lack thereof). And his eye for young QB talent — for example, plucking Taylor Heinicke as an undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion back in his Vikings days — is a positive trait."
Every coach on the Commanders’ staff, including Turner, deserves credit for performing in spite of the team’s quarterback carousel.
The Eagles’ upset was a coaching masterclass across the board, but did it really take a football savant to realize Washington should focus on controlling time of possession and keeping Jalen Hurts off the field?
This might seem like an anti-Turner article, but that’s anything but the case. We recognize what he brings as an offensive coordinator. But has any fan looked at his body of work over his three years in Washington and thought he has head coach potential? That’s our only gripe. Perhaps folks around the NFL see it differently.
Either way, Pelissero is as plugged in as they come, so Turner is definitely someone to watch come Black Monday at season’s end.