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Scott Turner Hired as Redskins OC amid Buzz of Kevin O'Connell's Exit

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton, right, talks with quarterbacks coach Scott Turner, left, during the NFL football team's practice in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, June 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Scott Turner has officially been hired to take over the same role with the Washington Redskins, creating a reunion with new head coach Ron Rivera. 

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported Tuesday the 'Skins are "zeroing in" on Turner. Meanwhile, the team's offensive coordinator, Kevin O'Connell, last season has been granted permission to seek opportunities with other clubs, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Turner took over as the Panthers' O-coordinator in early December after his father, longtime NFL coach Norv Turner, was reassigned within the organization after Rivera's firing.

Carolina, which averaged 21.2 points per game during the regular season, scored 44 points in the 37-year-old's first two games leading the offense. It scored just 16 points in lopsided losses to the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints to conclude a 5-11 campaign.

Along with being a small sample size, those numbers carry limited weight because the Panthers were playing without franchise quarterback Cam Newton for all but two games in 2019.

"When they brought it [taking over as play-caller] up, I said, 'Hey, is this OK with you?' And he said, 'Yeah, this is great,'" Turner told Joseph Person of The Athletic about a talk with his dad. "And then he said the same thing...the advice I got from pretty much everybody: 'Just go be yourself and do what you think's right, and we'll go.'"

Turner has 15 years of coaching experience at the high school, collegiate and NFL levels. The Los Angeles native served as the Panthers' quarterbacks coach since 2018 before the one-month stint leading the entire offense.

Meanwhile, O'Connell is a former NFL reserve quarterback who switched to coaching in 2015, three years after his playing days concluded.

The 34-year-old San Diego State product spent the past three seasons with the Redskins, working his way up from quarterbacks coach to passing-game coordinator to offensive coordinator in 2019.

Washington, which quickly faded from playoff contention and shifted focus to developing rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, finished the year 31st in total offense and 32nd in scoring offense.

Helping the first-rounder develop into a legitimate franchise QB will be the main task placed on Turner's shoulders if Rivera selects him to call the offensive plays. The former Ohio State standout is a work in progress after recording seven touchdowns and seven interceptions across nine appearances in 2019.

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