Someone is always to blame when a team’s season doesn’t go as expected. For fans, most of the blame goes to the offensive coordinator — right or wrong.
The Washington Commanders fired offensive coordinator Scott Turner after the 2022 season. Turner’s firing was justified by Washington’s offensive performance late in the season. However, not everything was Turner’s fault. It wasn’t Turner’s fault Washington didn’t adequately address the quarterback position, nor was it his fault that head coach Ron Rivera didn’t upgrade the offensive line after trading for quarterback Carson Wentz.
Turner wasn’t blameless, though. His play-calling was a major reason Washington lost to the New York Giants in that critical Week 15 game.
Regardless of who you blame, the Commanders still need an offensive coordinator. Last week, Washington interviewed Pat Shurmur, Ken Zampese and Charles London. This week, the Commanders plan to interview Eric Studesville and Thomas Brown, among other candidates.
The problem for Washington is seven other teams need an offensive coordinator. This isn’t counting the teams with head-coaching vacancies. How does the Commanders’ offensive coordinator opening stack up against the other openings?
Mike Jones of The Athletic recently ranked each of the current eight openings. The other teams looking for an offensive coordinator are the Jets, Buccaneers, Patriots, Rams, Titans, Ravens and Chargers. The first thing you look at when examining that list is who has a franchise quarterback.
The Chargers [Justin Herbert] and Ravens [Lamar Jackson] do. Of course, there is some uncertainty regarding Jackson’s future with Baltimore. The Rams are an enticing option because you’d work for Sean McVay but likely would not call plays.
Where is Washington ranked?
Jones has the Commanders ranked No. 5 behind the Chargers, Rams, Buccaneers and Ravens.
If we’re just going off personnel, then this is a pretty intriguing job. The offensive coordinator inherits three talented wideouts (Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson), a solid tight end in Logan Thomas and a promising running back in Brian Robinson Jr. Despite instability at quarterback, Washington still flirted with a playoff berth. But, the uncertainty engulfing the franchise makes this job less attractive. There are questions about the next quarterback. Is it Sam Howell or an established veteran currently on another roster? Ron Rivera is entering Year 4, but with a sale expected soon, there’s no telling if the next offensive coordinator is signing up for a one-and-done job. A new owner could possibly clean house if a 2023 campaign proves unsatisfactory.
Everything Jones said is true and something we’ve been saying for weeks. The uncertainty of Rivera’s future, due to the pending sale and his need to win in 2023, will turn off some candidates.
With another week of interviews set for this week, it will be interesting to see what type of coordinator Rivera eventually chooses. Will he choose someone he’s comfortable with [Shurmur], or go outside the box with a young candidate like Brown?
Whatever decision Rivera makes, it’s a critical hire for the Commanders heading into a make-or-break season for the current coaching staff.