After a season in which Washington started three different quarterbacks and just missed the playoffs, the Commanders have fired offensive coordinator Scott Turner.
The Commanders announced the news Tuesday alongside a statement from head coach Ron Rivera.
"I met with coach Turner today and informed him that we will be moving in another direction going forward with the offensive coordinator position," Rivera's statement read. "Unfortunately, we did not live up to the expectations and standard that I expected to see from our offensive unit.
"I felt it was best for a fresh start at the coordinator position heading into next year."
Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew will lead the search to replace Turner. But the bigger question in Washington will be at quarterback.
OC won't matter if Commanders don't get QB right
Last offseason, Washington traded a package of draft picks to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for Carson Wentz. The Commanders did so despite the Colts and Philadelphia Eagles having previously given up on the QB as a starter. Wentz was eventually, predictably, benched twice this season.
The first time, Rivera sidelined him in favor Taylor Heinicke after Wentz injured a finger in Week 6. Heinicke remained Washington's starter after Wentz recovered from his injury until, with Washington's postseason at stake, Rivera opted for another quarterback change in Week 16.
Rivera benched Heinicke midgame against the San Francisco 49ers in favor of Wentz after Heinicke committed turnovers on back-to-back possessions. It was a short hook for Heinicke, who had outplayed Wentz for the bulk of his nine starts. Washington lost that game, and Rivera opted again to start Wentz in Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns. Wentz completed 57% of his passes and threw three interceptions in the 24-10 loss that eliminated Washington from the postseason.
With the season lost, the Commanders opted to start rookie Sam Howell in Sunday's finale against the Dallas Cowboys. The fifth-round pick, who got first-round buzz prior to a disappointing final season at North Carolina, played well in a 26-6 win. He completed 11 of 19 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He added 35 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
It all adds up to another offseason quarterback quandary that has plagued the franchise for the better part of three decades. Whomever Washington hires at offensive coordinator will have to be on board with whatever decision is made at the position.
What will Washington do? That's anybody's guess. Wentz shouldn't be part of the picture, but he arguably shouldn't have been in the first place. Heinicke's a fan favorite and performed admirably while throwing for 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in his nine starts. Is he a viable starter and long-term answer in Washington? The answers appears to be no, given Rivera's decision to bench him with the season on the line.
Howell's a mobile quarterback with big-play upside, but he comes with plenty of questions about accuracy and risk tolerance — questions that weren't answered in his lone game. Still, he appears to have earned his place in the mix for next season.
Then there's the draft, in which the quarterback position is almost always in play in Washington.
Washington's decision at offensive coordinator this offseason will shape its effort to improve a unit that ranked 25th in 2022 scoring 18.4 points per game. But it won't be paramount. If Rivera and the next offensive coordinator are to succeed, the Commanders need to at long last find an answer at the game's most important position.