Scott Turner is home once more even if the past stay was sometimes turbulent and ended quickly.
The son of former Redskins coach Norv Turner is now the team’s offensive coordinator. It has been 20 years since Scott’s father was fired with three games remaining in owner Dan Snyder’s second season.
Ironically, Norv Turner only stayed after winning the 1999 NFC East because he was afraid moving might not let Scott play his senior year of high school football. The father was fired despite a 7-6 mark and a chance of making the postseason remaining. Norv was bitter over the exit for years.
But, Scott Turner knows coaching is a business so the return wasn’t complicated by his father’s past despite Snyder still owning the team. After six previous stops in college and NFL cities, returning to the Ashburn, Va. complex let him reconnect to what he considers his childhood home from ages 11 to 18.
“You can’t take this stuff personally,” said Turner on a teleconference with team beat writers on Wednesday. “I was in high school. Stuff happens. Move on. It’s a dream come true to come back here. This is where I consider home. It’s surreal to come back here. On a personal level, it’s pretty cool.”
Turner was once the ball boy during Redskins training camp. Players honored him by taping Turner to the goalpost one morning in Frostburg. Now, he’s just five years younger than his father was when arriving in 1994 as the team’s head coach.
The incoming offense might look familiar. Norv Turner often raved about his mentor Ernie Zampese, who was a receivers coach and credited with helping to create the famed “Air Coryell” offense of the San Diego Chargers from 1978-86 under coach Don Coryell. The motion and counter motions plus dependency on tight ends was a fixture of Coryell-Zampese-Norv Turner’s offenses. Now Scott Turner creates his own branch of the tree alongside Zampese’s son Ken, who’s the Redskins quarterbacks coach.
“If you look at the system we’ve been part of, the different places we’ve been, the offense has looked different,” Turner said. “It’s still the same system, but we have versatility. Just trying to figure out the pieces on our offense and fit our scheme to our personnel.”
Turner has been planning to run his own offense for several years and was the interim offensive coordinator under his father at Carolina after now Redskins coach Ron Rivera was fired late last season. Turner foresees “a lot of play action pass, distribute the football to the playmakers.”
Turner said quarterback Dwayne Haskins has to know the offense in his second year even if it’s new. Leadership comes in a huddle where there’s no hesitation over the play’s execution. Commitment is the No. 1 thing, Turner said.
“[Haskins] has to know it like a coach and present that confidence on the field,” Turner said. “That takes work to get that. Guys see when it’s there and when it’s not.”
After stops in Cleveland, Minnesota and Carolina with his father, Scott Turner now stands alone, but proud. After all, he’s home again.
Rick Snider is an award-winning sports writer who has covered Washington sports since 1978. He first wrote about the Redskins in 1983 before becoming a beat writer in 1993. Snider currently writes for several national and international publications and is a Washington tour guide. Follow Rick on Twitter at @Snide_Remarks.