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Interview: Washington Football OC Scott Turner

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Every week All-Pro Reels will bring you day by day coverage of the Washington Football Team through the eyes, ears and lenses of our content creators.

ASHBURN, VA -- November 4, 2020

On the offense so far:

“The things that—we’ve talked about it in our sessions here throughout the year—I think the one thing, the biggest positive, is I feel like we’re growing as an offense. I feel like we’re getting better. I think, both collectively, and also individually some of the younger guys are developing and getting better. We’ve talked about a number of those throughout the course of the season. The things we have to get better, we have to consistently run the ball. We’ve got to keep doing a better job of creating some explosive plays whether it’s run or pass. We’ve got to limit turnovers. We look at the times we’ve done those three things, we’ve been successful offensively. When we haven’t, it hasn’t gone as well. Protect the quarterback as well, protect the ball and protect the quarterback. Overall, like I said just to start, the thing that is most important is these guys continue to work and continue to improve as the season geos on.”

On RB Antonio Gibson’s development:

“It’s hard to say. He’s a guy, I didn’t mention his name, but he was one of the main guys I was talking about that really has shown improvement. I just think his vision and natural instincts of running in between the tackles—physically, he’s always been capable to do that it’s just a matter of getting those reps. I think I said it last week, he had 33 carries in his entire college career and he had 20 against Dallas. Just the continued exposure to those types of plays is going to get him better. It’s hard for me to say exactly how far along he is, but you can definitely see the week-to-week improvement.”

On T Morgan Moses’s performance this season:

“Morgan’s been outstanding. He’s been a leader for us as an offensive unit. He’s played every game there. Really does a nice job both in the run and pass block. He’s a tough guy. He can be vocal, and guys resonate toward him. He and [G] Brandon [Scherff] together is a good combination. It’s nice to get Brandon, obviously, back from the few games that he missed. Morgan’s been a solid, steady presence for us on the offensive line.”

On minimizing QB Kyle Allen’s turnovers:

“What we do is we evaluate every single play. The turnovers fall into those. The turnovers at the quarterback position come down to decision making and then ball security. If you look at the last time we played the Giants, for example, poor decision making where we threw the interception. Ball security when he’s getting down, he’s got to protect the ball when he gets sacked then move onto the next play. I understand what you’re saying, he’s going to try to make a play, but you’ve got to make good decisions and you’ve got to protect the ball and then try to make the play. Get yourself out of danger before you do that. I think that’s just something that all quarterbacks have got to balance. I don’t think there’s ever been a guy go through the course of a season without turning the ball over. But you have to limit them because they dramatically affect your ability to win or lose football games.”

On WR Terry McLaurin’s leadership qualities:

“I’ve talked about this before with other positions, I think before you can really grow and become a leader, I think you’ve got to prove and show you’re good at what you do. I think Terry’s proven that, obviously last year, and then this year as the season’s gone on. He’s been productive. He plays hard, he practices hard and I think as he’s grown—even though he’s a second-year guy—he’s becoming a focal point and a leader of this offense. It gives him a little bit of the confidence to step up and speak after the game. I’m sure you guys all saw after the Dallas game. His teammates decided to put him in that position. I think it’s great. It’s a great reward and I think a great indictment of Terry and what I think what his other teammates think of him.”

On taking sacks on first down:

“You always want to avoid sacks. You want to avoid negative plays. I think it’s important as an offense to stay balanced. Again, different games and the ways teams play you, what the situation is in the game, that can lead to how often you’re going to throw the ball on first-and-10. There’s a lot that goes into that number. Without really trying to give away what our mindset and philosophy is, our thing is just we don’t want to be predictable. We want to keep defenses off balance. You’ve got to be good at both in the NFL. You can’t just think: ‘I’m going to line up and run the ball.’ You can’t just drop back and throw it every time. You’ve got to be good at both, whether it’s first down or second-and-10 and you try to avoid as many tendencies as you can.”

On balancing the pass and run game:

“You always look back—especially when you’re in the situation that we are in, we’re 2-5 and we had games that didn’t go as well. You always look back to see what you could’ve done differently in hindsight. It’s tough. I feel like we’ve done alright. There might’ve been some situations where we could’ve run the ball more or vice versa, we stuck with the run a little bit longer than we should’ve when teams were loading the box. But for the most part, we’ve been pretty balanced. I look at the stats and there’s nothing too glaring. Like I said, we’ve just got to keep getting better and I feel like we are.”

On if the offense is close to what he envisioned before the season:

“Yeah, I think so. I think, like I said, I feel like we are getting better. I feel like we are closer to what we ultimately want to become. I heard [Head] Coach [Ron Rivera] say that: ‘To me, I expect our guys to come out and play well, I expect us to coach well and give ourselves a chance to go and win every single game.’ I appreciate Coach saying that, but I wanted to move on faster. I think everybody always does. I think we’re moving in that direction. Obviously, we didn’t win the game, but I thought we played well against the Giants. We’ve got to move the ball, we’ve got to protect it, we’ve got to finish drives. I thought we played our best game this year offensively versus Dallas. I think it’s just something to build off of. Every game presents a different set of challenges. It’s the National Football League. I was able to sit back and watch games on Sunday. We had the day off because of the bye week. It’s unpredictable the way these games go. You look at these teams and anybody can win on any given day. Everyone, we’re all professionals here. The players are all professionals. The biggest thing with our group is just to continue to improve.”

On getting more comfortable as a play-caller:

“I do, I feel more comfortable. Every game I get to do it, it’s a new experience and you get the feel for different situations. I do, I feel like I’m getting better at it. I’m going to continue to work at it. We’ll see how it goes.”

On having a young player like McLaurin lead by example:

“I think it’s outstanding. For Terry to come in and start out his career the way he has, the numbers obviously speak for themselves, but just the way he prepares and he practices. Again, he’s not an overly vocal guy, but his teammates see the way he works. Those are the types of guys you want. We’ve got a lot of guys like that. They maybe don’t have the same skillsets as Terry or maybe they haven’t produced like that, but our guys do a great job of coming in and working every day and dedicating themselves to work every day to help our team win. Obviously, Terry stands out because of what he’s done, but we have a really solid group, and they make it fun to come to work every day.”

On how WR Steven Sims Jr. looked in practice today:

“I thought he looked good. We’ll go back and look at the tape and really look at it. I know there’s a certain window we have before we have to really make a decision on that. We’ll evaluate how he’s looking. We don’t want to rush anything, but we’ll make sure he’s fully healthy before we get back into it. But so far, to me, he looked like he’s doing well.”

On calling plays with a new team:

“I think there is a little bit of a challenge there just trying to figure out the guys. What we’ve done is—you have to take advantage of every opportunity you have, whether it’s looking at pass film of players or really evaluating what they’re doing in practice. Then you just have to trust the guys that they’ll go out there and get the job done, just like we ask them to trust us and trust in the system and what we’re doing. We’ve got to trust them that they’re going to go out and hold up their end of the bargain. If you try to worry about every little thing, that’s a recipe for disaster. Kind of like what I said with the group we have, they come in and work, they prepare. As coaches we’ve got to trust them to go get it done.”

On his evaluations during the bye week:

“What we really wanted to do is, first off, we’ve got to look at who we’re getting back and that type of thing. Then we just evaluate all of our situations whether it’s first-and-10, run, pass, third down, redzone, and just take a good look at it and say: ‘What’s working for us? What’s not so good? Why isn’t it good?’ Maybe there’s stuff that’s good stuff but we messed up for whatever reason and we don’t want to give up on. Or we say: ‘Hey, this doesn’t really fit with what we want to do.’ Just evaluation of every single situation, every single player. ‘Are we asking guys to do the right things? What are we good at run-wise? What are we good at in passing and protection in the routes?’ Then, ‘Hey, what can we build on? What can we cut back?’ Just a total, overall selfscout. Then we kind of just did a little bit of work getting ready for the Giants. It was tough because they played only one game since we played them and then they played Monday night, so we didn’t have that film until we obviously came back here Tuesday.”

On how Allen handled adversity in Carolina:

“I talked about this when Kyle first took over, but the biggest thing is when Kyle first started out, we were playing really well as a team and Kyle did a nice job of working and playing within the offense. We had some success. Even the games where he didn’t play very well, we were able to win. He made some plays late that helped us win in close games we stayed in. As the season went on, we had some injuries and some stuff happen and we didn’t play as well as a team and Kyle didn’t play well. When we fell behind in some games, he tried to do too much to help us get back into the game: ‘I’ve got to make the play or I’ve got to score on this one play.’ What happened is it steamrolled on him at times. He had a couple games with multiple interceptions, some turnovers. Just things like that, that really made a bad situation worse. As the season went on, I think he learned from that and understood he has to play it one play at a time. There’s no such thing as a 14 or 21-point play. Let’s just work and continue to stack good decisions and that’s how you work yourself out of it. We had some games where we weren’t able to win them. But we were down against the Saints and came back and tied the game and ended up losing by a field goal. We were down against Green Bay on the road and were able to score and came back on the road. We were down against Seattle and cut that to a six-point game at the end. But I think that understanding and having that happen just gave him the understanding that: ‘Hey, I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to do everything. I don’t have to put everything on my shoulders.’ Just run the offense, stack good decisions, and then things have a way of working themselves work out.”

On what he focuses on when he watches other NFL games:

“Honestly, when I’m watching at home and I watch on TV, I kind of try to watch as a fan. You don’t have all 22. You’ll see concepts pop up or run schemes that I’m familiar with because we do them or you see other teams do them. I’ve got a lot of friends in the league that are coaching at other places, so I’ve got some rooting interest there. Obviously, I want to root for whoever’s going to help us in our situation. I don’t watch it 100 percent like a fan. It’s hard to watch as a coach just the TV copy and not fall into having the love for football and watching it like a fan. You’ll see something like: ‘Hey I know that play. I’ve seen them do that before.’ You might see a motion and think you know what’s coming because of offenses you’ve seen before or looking at somebody’s defense. So, it’s a little bit of an in between. In those situations, when I’m not watching in my office and watching the coach’s tape I like to relax a little bit and just kind of enjoy the game because even though it can be frustrating at times, I do love football.”

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