Scott Turner has the weapons to enhance the Washington Commanders offense

On the Washington Commanders’ first third-down try in opposition to the Jacksonville Jaguars, offensive coordinator Scott Turner dialed up a play that ought to have regarded acquainted. With quarterback Carson Wentz within the shotgun, Turner referred to as for a diamond formation on the left, with receivers Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel bunched with working again J.D. McKissic. On the snap, the 4 fanned out into varied routes, forcing defenders to regulate on the fly to cowl all of them.

Samuel ran a brief curl as his defender continued upfield, creating sufficient area to catch a cross from Wentz and acquire a number of further yards on the bottom. It was the primary of seven third-down conversions for the Commanders and one among a number of performs that appeared to maximise their personnel.

However the response was something however extraordinary. On Twitter, former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky, now an analyst at ESPN, wrote that Turner’s creativity was “off the charts.” Others lauded the contemporary look and shared clips of the play with reverence.

“We did that [play] last year. And the year before, too,” Turner stated Thursday with a large grin. “I know that we won a game, I guess, and all of a sudden it’s a big deal. But we did that before.”

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Though Turner did add new wrinkles to the sport plan, a number of the outdated abruptly regarded new, largely as a result of he has myriad playmakers and a wholesome roster at his disposal.

Since he arrived in Washington in 2020, Turner has confronted the annual problem of adapting his system to completely different beginning quarterbacks and varied accidents to key gamers. His imaginative and prescient so usually has been interrupted or unable to take full form.

However Sunday felt completely different.

“Having guys healthy, having that extra production, we got speed out there,” stated tight finish Logan Thomas, who performed Sunday for the primary time since Week 13 of 2021, when he suffered a knee damage. “The defenses are respecting you. You can’t just double-team one guy and try to lock down one side. They got to respect everybody.”

Added McLaurin: “I knew this was an emphasis for us in the offseason, to just try to surround our quarterback with as many weapons as we can and be an explosive offense, stretch the ball down the field, which I think we did [against the Jaguars].”

The “Air Coryell” remains to be the idea of Scott Turner’s offense, simply because it was for his father, Norv Turner, when he coached. However the youthful Turner has put his personal spin on the scheme, which emphasizes the vertical passing recreation, and tailor-made it to suit his personnel.

With the acquisition of Wentz in March, the Commanders bought a much bigger quarterback who can take extra deep pictures. Simply as he did Sunday.

“We had a couple of plays down the field that we didn’t get the right looks, so the ball got checked out,” Turner stated. “Carson did an outstanding job of not trying to force it. Got the little check down, and then we’re on to the next one. We’re definitely going to be aggressive, and we’re going to try to push it down the field, but it might not always show up every week, because teams might play us soft.”

Although not all the meant deep-ball makes an attempt got here by, the profitable ones confirmed the Commanders’ array of weapons, be it their main trio of broad receivers or their two backs, Antonio Gibson and McKissic, who’re former wideouts. Or their tight ends, who embrace quarterback converts Thomas and Armani Rogers.

Washington has preached versatility for years, however on Sunday, the efforts shined. There have been huge scoring performs and large performs that arrange scores, resembling Rogers’s quick catch off a display that he became a 23-yard acquire on Washington’s opening drive. Or, two performs later, when Gibson’s 26-yard catch on a deep nook route arrange Samuel’s first landing with the workforce. Or Thomas’s 27-yard catch that just about put the Commanders in area aim vary and led to McLaurin’s landing.

“We’re very versatile, and I think that’s what makes us have the ability to do some really good things,” Wentz stated after the sport. “Obviously, we got to play together and keep building. But I thought [Sunday] showed a little bit of who we are and what we can do, you know, running the ball, spreading teams out, underneath taking shots, and hopefully we can keep getting better at it.”

On the sideline earlier within the recreation, Turner and McLaurin determined that in the event that they bought the look they needed, they have been going to go deep. So within the fourth quarter, McLaurin ran a go route alongside the correct sideline, beat cornerback Shaquill Griffin in protection and caught a landing cross to convey Washington inside two factors of Jacksonville.

Roughly eight minutes later, Dotson notched his second landing, off a double-route alongside the correct sideline earlier than dive for the catch.

“I knew it was going to be a touchdown from the play call,” Dotson stated. “We’d been working that all week. . . . The corner . . . was trying to be very aggressive. He was jumping our short routes . . . but we got him right where we wanted him: third down, man to man. He wanted to be aggressive, and we had a counter for it.”

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Turner has the enviable problem of spreading the ball round to maintain all of his playmakers concerned. Towards the Jaguars, Wentz focused 10 gamers not less than as soon as. The offense didn’t rely solely on McLaurin, and on the bottom, it didn’t run solely by Gibson.

“It’s not just to make everybody feel good,” Turner stated. “It’s because that makes us harder to defend, when they’re not sure where the ball is going to go, and you line up in different formations, and they can’t just worry about taking one person away or one type of play away. They have to defend everything.”

Due to the restricted apply reps and the restricted time to implement an extended checklist of performs every week, Turner is tasked with figuring out which performs are completely obligatory, which of them will counterbalance the performs they have already got and which of them to maintain in response to the sudden.

Turner stated the sport plans for many weeks embrace only a few new performs. Moderately, they’re a mix of altered performs they’ve used prior to now and even some straight from the previous. NFL groups have a digital library of performs at their disposal, and it’s not restricted to solely professional ideas.

“It’s all stuff that we’ve had in conceptually before, and then we just maybe adjust it a little bit, and the quarterback’s just got to get used to calling it, like, matched up with the formation as it is — or sometimes it might be straight from an install that we had in training camp or in a previous game,” Turner stated. “Stuff changes week to week based on styles of defense.”

And stuff has modified yr to yr with the Commanders’ offense. However thus far, the outdated feels new, and Turner’s imaginative and prescient of a dynamic offense with deep threats and speedy playmakers could lastly be coming to fruition.

“I was happy with the way our guys played,” Turner stated. “ … We got a long way to go. I think we can really be a lot better even than what we were. We left some stuff out there.”

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