Why did Scott Turner and Washington struggle to adapt faster to Detroit?

Washington led by Ron Rivera is known to start slowly in the games, and the same problem persisted when they faced the Lions in Week 2. This year many expected a difference from the attack due to their explosive nature with their weapons. Triple recipients Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson can threaten defenses on all three levels. Antonio Gibson and J.D. Makisic are former recipients who can prove dangerous weapons exist in a scrolling game. Plus, between Logan Thomas, Cole Turner and now Armani Rogers, Washington’s tight ends create a volume advantage in the passing game on the field.

It’s all true, and crime has sometimes shown how explosive it can be. So how did Washington find itself losing by more than 20 points before the break in the first half?

Washington Running was a problem, and this affected how they were able to maintain the drives. However, several instances indicated that OC Scott Turner allowed the Lions’ defense to dictate the first half. Alternatively, there were also some instances where the pressure of lions nullified the great playing opportunities of the leaders. A combination of issues led to the closing of the first half of Lions. Here’s what the tape showed and how Turner tuned in to the second half for some of the same pressure he looks from black.

In this third call, Washington faces a suitor’s attack on Cover 0, and Detroit sends out too many men for Washington to ban. In turn, since Washington didn’t have a hot reading of Wentz from the tight ends or receivers in this long-developed play, Wentz had to throw the ball away.

There are some opportunities for Washington, right? However, pressure disrupted the way Scott Turner and his associates could attack Lions High. Washington’s adjustment in the first half was to have Wentz take the ball out of his hands. So, even when Wentz could have let play develop for longer than he did, which would have led to big plays for Washington, Wentz had to ditch the football.

Washington provided good pass protection here, and Carson Wentz quickly took the ball out of his hands to Antonio Gibson to let him make a play. However, the pass protection created a pocket for Wentz to step up and find Jahan Dotson downfield. The lions were in cover 2, allowing Washington to attack the middle of the field, and Scott Turner made a good play order to score as he followed the black border safety to Logan Thomas as he broke out. Since Wentz was feeling pressure from the Lions throughout this stage, seeing Sam Cosmi give up a bit of ground from the Bulls rush, Wentz threw it, and a byproduct of Detroit pressure erased the shot opportunity.

So what has changed in the second half of Washington? What has improved?

Turner’s approach against the blitzkrieg became more aggressive, and Turner was able to counteract the good advantage that Detroit had. The Lions never stopped sending undercover pressure or zero coverage of blitzkriegs, but Washington forced their defenders to cover every man-to-man eligible recipient. Turner used his running backs and tight ends in a passing game of empty combos.

In addition, Scott Turner used Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson on short-level field areas, forcing the Lions’ defenders to hold onto them, and Detroit struggled to defend them. In the first Twitter clip above, Turner isolated McLaurin on the corner with black Jeff Okudah by moving Curtis Samuel away from that side. McLaurin won and gained 18 yards in third. In the second Twitter clip, Washington once again came out in a blank slate, forcing Detroit to count every eligible recipient for Washington. Gibson became the hot road as Washington once again faced a supernatural attack. Finally, on landing Curtis Samuel, a similar adjustment. It was Curtis Samuel’s second time off the field, and while Detroit ran another pressure, the Lions forced a defensive end on Curtis, creating an easy win for the leaders.

Overall, there were opportunities for Turner to adapt faster than he did in the first half against Detroit. I think if Washington had used their empty sets a lot in the first half, Carson could have had a lot more success than he did against Detroit. Moreover, while long-range passes provided down opportunities in the first half, the use of extreme protection proved to be more problematic than Turner expected. Finally, Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson should have been used closer to the line of scrimmage than they did in the second half, but unfortunately they didn’t.

Is Turner learning from this situation as he moves forward? we will see.