clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Former Broncos and Redskins running backs coach Bobby Turner is an ideal fit for an outside zone scheme

The stack of success Bobby Turner is lugging around is enough to throw out his back. The Steelers have a running backs coach opening, and if they want to run outside zone, he'd have to think he could make that stack even bigger.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Let's say, for argument's sake, the Steelers wanted to get into an outside zone running scheme.

For real, this time. Not the months-of-speculation-that-amounted-to-nothing kind of way it was last year. If that is, in fact, the case, former Broncos and Redskins running backs coach Bobby Turner would be an ideal target for the vacated Steelers running backs coach position.

When you think of modern outside zone running, you think of Terrell Davis and the late-90s Denver Broncos. Mike Shanahan employed that scheme to perfection, leading Davis to be the league's premier running back of those years. They won two Super Bowls on it, and Shanahan built a long-lasting coaching career on it.

And Turner was with him the whole time.

"Not many coaches can match the success that Bobby has had over the years," Shanahan said in 2010 upon the announcement of Turner's hire to his staff in Washington. "He is one of the top coaches in the NFL and, more importantly, a great person."

Shanahan was fired amid all the same kinds of chaos we've become familiar with in D.C. With him, Turner was canned as well to accommodate the incoming staff of new head coach Jay Gruden. Assuming Turner doesn't have any kind of no-compete clause in his buyout, he'd be available, and he'd fit in perfectly with what the Steelers are trying to establish - zone running.

Former Titans head coach Mike Munchak joined the staff as its new offensive line coach, a guy who, as a player and a coach, has had a huge level of success running the football. Outside zone became very much a trademark of his teams. While there's no certainty what Turner would bring to the table accentuates Munchak's plans (under the direction of head coach Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Todd Haley), clearly, Turner has seen his share of successful zone running.

The pre-implosion Redskins of 2012 were one of the league's best rushing teams, anchored by sixth-round pick Alfred Morris. The scheme was run at a high level, and the Redskins found themselves in the postseason with a quarterback who could barely walk.

With the athleticism along the Steelers' offensive line, and the experience of the coaching staff they have in place, the key will be how well the newest coach blends with the vision for the offense and for the players themselves.

Nothing on Turner's resume suggests they'll find many problems with anything he's done or seen.

But a lot of that resume shows high-level success in doing what it appears the Steelers want to do with their running game.