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Jack Del Rio and Scott Turner talk about the season, playing young players, and job security as an NFL coach

Washington’s coordinators talk to the media after practice

The Washington Commanders held one of their last practices of the season in Ashburn today. Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio talked about finishing the season against the Dallas Cowboys in a meaningless game after being eliminated from playoff contention last weekend. The team is likely to go into evaluation mode by resting starters that have been dealing with injuries(or placing them on IR). Del Rio looks forward to seeing what the younger players who haven’t had as much playing time this season showing what they’ve learned.

Head coaching jobs were brought up, and he said if the opportunity came up that would be great, but he’s happy what he’s doing. He’s focused on making the organization he’s with better, and developing his players.

Del Rio is definitely a fan of keeping the Alabama Wall duo of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne together next season and beyond. Jonathan Allen has already had his big payday, but Payne is a free agent in March, and is expected to get heavy interest if he hits the open market after already racking up 11.5 sacks this season.

Chase Young has been solid in the two games he has played since returning from ACL and patellar tendon surgeries. Del Rio is looking forward to see what else he has in the tank this weekend. Kam Curl is pretty obviously one of his favorite players. He talked about his versatility, and the need to deploy a platoon of replacements to replace all the roles he plays in Washington’s defense. Curl is always described as a highly intelligent player, and his absence was considered a big part of the defense’s “communication issues” since he’s been out.

Jamin Davis got a lot of attention earlier in the season when he was called out by Del Rio and Rivera at different points. Davis really stepped up, especially with his fellow starter Cole Holcomb being lost for the season due to a foot injury. Del Rio said Davis has made tremendous progress this season, and he’s matured over the last year. He has played at a higher level, but he believes there’s more there

Jack Del Rio

Season finale vs the Dallas Cowboys:

“Same thing. We always look for really. Obviously they’re lofty goals. Win a championship, get yourself in the tournament, have a chance to compete for that championship. But being professional, showing up every day, being strong, doing the right thing for your teammates, for your team, looking to compete no matter what we’re doing, no matter who we’re playing, looking to compete. So, those are the things that, that I focus on.”

Opportunities for younger players due to injury:

“Everybody gets evaluated. There may be a few guys that are forced into duty with some of the injuries we’ve had. So, we’ll expect those guys to go in and give us their best, see how they’ve developed during the year and what they’ve learned and let them express themselves. Put your best foot forward and show us what you got.”

Head coach opportunities:

“Yeah, I mean as long as I’m enjoying myself and I’m good at what I do which I am doing both right now, I feel like I love what I do. I do it because I love it. I’m not doing it because I’m trying to rise to some position. I have a wealth of experience as a head coach, but if that opportunity comes, that’d be great, but if it doesn’t, I’m happy doing what I’m doing. And really, I’ve enjoyed my entire time in the league. I enjoyed being an assistant strength coach, my entire time in the league has been a blessing and it has been a great honor to do what I do. Competing every week and every day. I love it, and that’s why I do it.”

Jonathan Allen/Daron Payne:

Chase Young:

“Yeah, I think Chase has been solid in the two outings. Look forward to him playing again this week. He’s had to, you know, he worked really hard to come back and he brings toughness and awareness that is at a really high level and he’s one of those guys that just loves to play. You could see it in his performance. You see it in his supportive teammates. He has a lot of passion for the game.”

Kam Curl:

“Yeah, I mean Kam’s a real good player. He does multiple things. He can play like a linebacker, he can play like a nickel, he can play like a safety, He plays a lot of different spots for us. He is really intelligent. I think he has a calming effect on the rest of the guys. But, our approach is never to make excuses about not having guys. It’s just to prepare our guys and go out and do the best we can to compete and give our football team a chance to win. When he’s not able to go, we plug in the next guys and sometimes it’s a rotation of guys for a guy like him, because he does multiple things.”

Jamin Davis:

Turnover margin figuring in wins:

“I mean, yes, that’s an obvious question and the obvious answer is yes. I mean really the biggest difference right now is as a team we’re minus whatever it is in the turnover category and that’s not a winning recipe. You look at Dallas, the biggest thing they’re doing different is they’ve got a huge turnover margin in their favor. That’s a big part of the game and might be the biggest stat. A lot of stats are looked at. Sometimes they come, sometimes they don’t. We’re gonna continue to stress the things that we’re stressing to get the ball out to take our opportunities for interceptions to create fumbles. I know that Defoe has had some plays that where you’re seeing the effort to go and chase to the ball has led to directly to turnovers and that’s what you wanna see out of eleven guys.”

Bills S Damar Hamlin:

“I did say something to the defense. I said that I thought it was a beautiful thing to watch, just the NFL experience that I’ve had, men of different backgrounds, different races, different religions, all that stuff seems to be, recently a lot of emphasis on separating us. And I saw everybody coming together and everybody offering support. Everybody showing love and respect for each other. I saw a huge group of people holding hands and praying together. To me, that’s the best to me. Our country and our world can see more of that cuz that’s the best in humanity. And to me, that’s what I know about the league. And so when I hear about other things, I’m not saying there aren’t some things that can be done better, made better, but that’s what I know. I have a lot of good people that I’ve played with over the years, coached with over the years, different backgrounds, different races, and it doesn’t matter. These are brothers. It’s a brotherhood. These are people that I love and respect and so that’s what I took out of it. Now obviously praying for the young man and I’ve heard good news and am continuing to hear good news. So that’s great. We’ll continue to pray and support him and his family.”

Scott Turner has been the offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders for the last three years, but he is well aware that that can end at any time. Coaches get fired in the NFL that you don’t expect to be every year. Turner said he is focused on preparing for the last game of the season, and he will deal with anything that happens after that if it happens.

Turner was signed to a two-year extension last March, and he is under contract through the 2024-25 season. Washington made the playoffs during his first season with the team, but they have missed the playoffs the last two years. Turner has not been a fan favorite this year due to his use of multiple players like Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, and almost every offensive skill player. If Ron Rivera retains his job, Turner has been viewed as a potential sacrificial lamb to show that he is making changes to improve after two disappointing seasons.

One of the biggest problems that plagues every Washington team and coach is the inability to find a long-term solution at the quarterback position. Turner pointed to that as one of the big issues with maintaining success on offense, and said getting stability at the position continues to be a top priority.

Turner was asked about putting his players in the best spots for them to succeed:

“For the most part I feel I’ve done a decent job of it. There are some times I’ve gone too far one way or the other for sure.”

Scott Turner

Washington offensive players:

“We’ve had some moments where it’s been good. Obviously, some moments where it’s been bad. I mean, that’s what you’re talking about being up and down and inconsistent. If you look at some individual performances that have been pretty good. I mean, I think the emergence of the three receivers, obviously Terry has been consistent throughout the whole time. But Jahan came on and then Curtis, what he’s done this year was good to see. Brian Robinson, It was good to see him, Antonio, a little bit of different role. Both those guys were productive. I think the quarterback play, you know, obviously we played with two different ones and there were some good and some bad as we went on, got to find some consistency there. And then we played some multiple people in the offensive line, and I think the run game stayed pretty good and there was times where we struggled with some protection issues where we got to improve and that’s going to help those guys on the perimeter make some more plays.”

Finding stability at QB:

Sam Howell:

“I felt really good about Sam. You know, he’s had multiple roles as far as, you know, he started out this year as an inactive third, was the backup for a while where he was preparing to play. And he was one play away from playing, for however many games that was when Carson was inactive and I felt good. Like if he would’ve had to play, I would’ve felt comfortable with him playing. I’m excited to see him go out there and play. Obviously not a great situation as far as just what happened last week and everything like that. But, he’s excited. He’s worked really hard for this opportunity, and it’s going to be good for him to get out there and play.”

Evaluating Howell while the team isn’t at full strength:

“I think you take everything into account, you know what I mean? So, like I said, I think it’s part of the evaluation that’s already taken place. We see a lot, just the way he conducts himself, the way he practices. All of that is going to be taken into account. Now this is obviously live bullets against a good team who is playing for something. So, we know with everything else we take that into account and that’s all part of the evaluation.”

Being on the headset with Howell starting:

“You just try to clearly communicate. When I call the play, just stay calm, make sure that he hears me, repeat it if I need to but give him a tip here and there if I see it, there’s limited time obviously. He’s done such a good job preparing. He knows what the expectations are in every play. You try not to flood them with too much information before snap so they can relax and play free.”

Younger players:

Job security:

Putting players in the best spot to succeed:

Expectations going forward:

“I don’t know. I think we talked about it, I feel good about some of the young guys that we have on this team. I feel like there’s been some moments where we’ve really looked like we’re going to turn a corner. We didn’t do the things that we wanted to do this year. I mean, no one’s going to sit here and say that, I’m accountable for that as much as anybody. I think this group can really grow. You look at the youth around here, obviously with Terry. And then, we came out of that San Francisco game a couple weeks ago, our leading receiver and our leading rusher were both rookies, you know. So you look at the guys that we have, I think that there’s a lot of room to grow and I look forward to working with these guys and continue to get better and keep improving and get this team where we want it to be.”

The run game this year and next year:

“I think when you’re calling plays, it’s not always just about the offense, it is about the entire team and it’s doing what’s best for us as a team. The one thing that we did well was we kept the ball. We just kept our defense off the field. Now when you’re doing that, there’s not a lot, like you’re saying, there’s not a lot of explosive plays. And part of the question I was asked earlier as far as that balance of creating explosive plays, but then also not putting yourself in situations to get sacks or sack fumbles or quarterback pressures and getting the quarterback beat up so, there was a little bit of necessity there. But yeah, I think we have to find ways to, like I said, we got talented guys on the perimeter and we gotta find ways to let them do what they do.”

Injuries at center:

“Yeah, I mean, you want to find starters at every position that play every game. Center is a big deal. They make all the line calls. Chase, it’s unfortunate to what’s happened with him the last couple years. And we’ve had guys step in, I mean, Tyler Larsen, I saw some stat the other day that his record is a starter and he’s done a good job. And again, he’s gotten hurt two years in a row. So yeah, that’s a big part of it for sure.”

Younger tight ends:

“Yeah, I think hopefully we’ll get some of those guys out there especially like a guy like Armani [Rogers] who’s been out. He’s healthy, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to get him out there and play. But yeah, we’ve got a good evaluation. Those guys have played a pretty good amount of snaps this season.”

Taylor Heinicke

Shane Falco:

Jahan Dotson

Final game of his rookie season:

Practice Updates

Injured players:

Sam Howell: