Scott Turner on how Washington can start faster offensively originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
It's no secret that thus far in 2020, the Washington Football Team offense has struggled out of the gates. Through two weeks, Washington has punted more times in the first half (10) than points scored (7) over that span.
That's not a recipe for winning football.
With slow starts being an obvious issue for the Football Team, Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner was asked on Wednesday how the offense can simply begin games better than it has thus far.
Turner's response was simple: "We look at everything."
Looking at Washington's offensive unit as a whole, there's clearly one player that stands out: Terry McLaurin. The second-year wideout turned in one of the best rookie seasons in franchise history in 2019, and has looked even better so far in 2020.
While McLaurin has turned in two more-than-solid games to begin his sophomore season, many have wondered if Washington should go to him earlier in games. In both Weeks 1 and 2, McLaurin did not haul in his first catch of the game until Washington was already down by three scores.
On Thursday, Turner was asked how he can get McLaurin involved earlier in games. While it may seem like a simple concept, the offensive coordinator said that it's not easy as just force-feeding him the ball, something former NFL QB Brady Quinn thinks the team should do.
"We want to get the ball to Terry," Turner said. "We have plays where he’s considered the No. 1 option and there’s progressions. The pass game isn’t like the run game where you choose who to give it to. You have options."
Another thing many couch analysts have turned to as a way to fix Washington's early offensive woes is to speed up the tempo. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins excelled in an up-tempo system at Ohio State, and his numbers this season prove he's much more effective when he gets the ball out of his hands quickly.
Throughout Haskins' brief NFL career, he's shown the most success when operating out of a no-huddle style of offense.
Turner said the team has looked into maybe speeding up the tempo earlier in games, but mentioned that the group is already one of the quicker units in the NFL.
"Then everyone talks about tempo. We look at that as well," Turner said. "We do tempo where that’s another thing, we were eighth in the league in first-half pace. So, we’re running a play about every 24 seconds. The difference between eighth and second I think is about one second."
Turner isn't the only one on the staff who thinks an up-tempo offense might not be the answer to the early offensive woes, as head coach Ron Rivera said something similar earlier this week to NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay.
"I don't know if it's because the offense is moving faster or it's because there’s a sense of urgency that’s created when you get down," Rivera said of Washington's offensive success when playing up-tempo. "The hurry-up pace when things become probably a little tenser, maybe there is something to that."
Washington's offense has not been up to par through two weeks, and Turner knows that. The offensive coordinator is not making any excuses for his unit's poor play, either.
"I think just overall we’ve just got to get better. We have to get better as an offense," Turner said. "There’s no excuses about that. We’ve had plenty of practice time. We just have to perform better when it comes to Sundays."