Football Team

What Scott Turner is telling Fitzpatrick about decision-making

Football Team

Reining in Ryan Fitzpatrick is a phrase that comes across as an oxymoron, and yet, that's a task that many Washington Football Team followers hope offensive coordinator Scott Turner can pull off in the 2021 season.

To outsiders, Washington should have a serious chance at repeating as NFC East champions or making the playoffs as a wild card this year as long as Fitzpatrick, uh, doesn't screw it all up, essentially. Those who think that way see a deep and dangerous defense, an offense with a core of playmakers who simply need the ball to be delivered to them and a division that's not all that threatening.

Therefore, as long as Turner can find a way to get Fitz to dial it back a tad, this coming season will go swimmingly. But, as Turner indicated to reporters in a press conference on Thursday, he's not exactly gearing up to corral the quarterback.

When asked how he intends to get Fitzpatrick to "balance" his famous (or infamous, depending on the result) shot-taking with merely keeping the entire operation on schedule and on the move, Turner identified the directive he'll give the veteran. It's a basic one, too.

"Go throw the ball where it's supposed to go," Turner said. "That's what it comes down to."

In fact, when Turner reviews what Fitzpatrick has done over his past couple of campaigns, he sees a passer who's matured beyond what his overall reputation is. Yes, the willingness to attack is still there, but it's not unbridled anymore.


"Early in his career, he kind of had a 'never say die' attitude," Turner said. "Never give up on a play and you're always trying to make the big play every time and that can get you into trouble.

"I mean, he's going to be aggressive, he's an aggressive player and we knew that and that's why we brought him in here. There's a fine line between aggressive and reckless, you know? I think he's kind of found that niche in there."

Turner, of course, isn't suggesting that the 38-year-old has suddenly become an ultra-conservative signal caller who'll pelt his running backs with checkdown after checkdown. After all, the guy threw a fourth-quarter strike against the Raiders last year as his helmet was being grabbed and twisted with severe force.

Turner doesn't want a fizzled-out Fitzpatrick, either. In 2020, as the coach so often put it, Washington's offense was forced to stretch opponents horizontally as opposed to vertically because of whom they had at the helm of the group and the lack of talented targets available to really feature. His new QB should allow him to access far more of his playbook in the future.

The point that Turner is making is that, though plenty of people believe it's in his best interests to try and change the style that Fitzpatrick brings with him into the huddle and after the snap, he has no interest in doing so.

Instead, he's just going to treat Fitzpatrick like any other quarterback, emphasize making the proper reads — regardless of where those reads lead to — and proceed from there.

"Put the ball where it's supposed to go," Turner said. "If you keep stacking enough good decisions, then you're going to move the ball and score points."