Given that Haskins came to Washington with just 14 college starts and struggled early to grasp the enormous amount of information an NFL quarterback must handle, that he will have to learn a new system with new language — just as he started to show improvement in the old one — could be seen as a setback in his development.
Rivera has surrounded himself with familiar people as he builds his Redskins staff. He has officially hired Ryan Vermillion, his athletic trainer with Carolina, and has added Steve Russ, his linebackers coach with the Panthers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese is interviewing with Rivera for the position of quarterbacks coach, a person with knowledge of the situation said. Sports Illustrated reported that Zampese will be hired and former Panthers tight end coach Pete Hoener is going to fill the same role on Rivera’s staff.
Rivera hired former NFL head coach Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator last week.
Two years ago, Rivera hired Norv and Scott Turner to run the Carolina offense. Norv came in as coordinator, and Scott was the quarterbacks coach. Building around quarterback Cam Newton and running back Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers were 10th in the NFL at 373.2 yards per game in 2018. But injuries slowed Newton at the end of that season and kept him out of all but two games this season. After Rivera was fired in December, Norv Turner moved to a special offensive assistant role and Scott Turner took over as offensive coordinator and called plays.
Scott Turner, 37, grew up watching his father serve as the offensive coordinator for Dallas’s Super Bowl teams in the early 1990s and then as the Redskins’ head coach in the second half of the decade. He was a star quarterback at Oakton High and a backup at UNLV before coaching high school football for five years. Rivera hired him as a quality control coach on his first staff with Carolina in 2011.
Turner then worked with his father in Cleveland and Minnesota and spent one season on his own at the University of Michigan before returning to the Panthers in 2018.
Norv Turner, whom Redskins owner Daniel Snyder fired in 2000, is not expected to join his son in Washington, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
Although keeping O’Connell would have maintained some familiarity for Haskins, the chances he would stay were reduced when Scott Turner interviewed and Rivera contacted former New York Giants and Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur about the job. O’Connell, 34, coached quarterbacks for two seasons with the Redskins and ran the offense this season, calling plays after head coach Jay Gruden was fired in October. He is seen as one of the NFL’s top rising offensive coaches.
O’Connell is close to New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, a candidate for the head coaching job in Cleveland. O’Connell is considered a strong candidate to be McDaniels’s offensive coordinator if McDaniels lands the job with the Browns.