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Jim Zorn Gets His Swag Back

(By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)

Just last week, I wrote about how Zorn means never having to say you're sorry, and how even as pieces of the castle were crumbling around his feet, Jim Zorn remained true to his beliefs and steadfast in his confidence. Nice timing. By Monday, he was calling himself the worst coach in America.

But yesterday on ESPN 980's Jim Zorn Show, the old, violent, medium-well JZ was back. He talked about execution (only once, but still). He was asked whether he'd revamp any of his schemes to fit personnel, and said "gosh, I don't think so." He said he might still elect to receive opening kickoffs, because "we've got to put our stuff out on the field" and because "I can't be superstitious about what bad things might happen, because in every other ounce of my confidence, I think we're gonna go down and score."

And he retreated from the Worst Coach in America bit, saying despite having those feelings "I don't think I AM," and later explaining how he hasn't lost confidence.

"It's not a confidence thing, hopefully it's a smart thing," he said, "and that's why I'm probably not the worst coach in America."

That's swag. But his swag really erupted during a brief tiff with co-host Steve Czaban, after Zorn had said coaches "considered the direction that we're going in, and even without the wins we feel like we're going in the right direction and building a strong team and a strong foundation."

As a guy, I'm as in the tank for Zorn as anyone, but considering that current direction is straight into the mud pit, it was a hard argument to understand. Czaban agreed. Then the Jim Zorn Show went slightly off the tracks.

Czaban: You said you felt confident in the direction things were going and that you are building things. The numbers, especially on offense, don't show that. Is there anything more you can elaborate on as to, 'Here's why we feel good?'

Zorn: That's not really true. I think that's a false statement, and I'll tell you why. The ONLY issue is scoring the touchdowns.

[Not to be a perpetual crank, but the Redskins are in the bottom half of the NFL in points per game, yards per game, passing yards per game, third-down percentage and turnover differential. Anyhow.]

Zorn: But, you know, Chris Cooley last week, with two games still to go, has broken his all-time receptions record, his own record. One thing that's gonna be announced right now, we have four Pro Bowl players on offense, so some numbers....

Czaban: You'd put a lot of stock in that coach?

Zorn: I do. I do. I know YOU don't, because you're trying to continually be negative....

Czaban: Well, I'm just asking, because....

Zorn: No, you're not asking. You're always asking negative questions, and that's the way it's been with you. But that's ok. I think there's a ton of positive things that have come out with our football team, and...the only numbers that we don't like are the scores, the lack of scores. And that's been disheartening for all of us.

Again: in the tank for Zorn. But you can't possibly watch your team run an elaborate Pro Bowl ballot-box campaign, leading columnists across the country to make snide comments about the Redskins Effect, and then use your number of Pro Bowlers as evidence that things are moving in the right direction.

As for Cooley's career-high for catches, that's certainly true. As of this writing, it's also true that he has a career-low for touchdowns, a career-low for longest catch, a career-high for fumbles, and his worst yards-per-catch figure since his rookie season.

But whatever. Emo Zorn is gone, and Swaggy Zorn is back. He was also asked whether he regrets any of his candor this season; "I don't really believe I do," he said.

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 17, 2008; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Ouch...Those comments are not good Z man.

Even a terrible football coach knows that there is only one thing that matters on gameday. The score.

We aren't scoring, so we aren't good.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | December 17, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

A few things:
1. Zorn sounds like an *sshole at this point, but I'm giving him wide berth. Rookie coach, first year suddenly not going so well, so on. That said, the offense for a variety of reasons (offensive line protection being the highest) has frozen up like a TOYOTA 4-cylinder variable-valve-timing engine (NEVER buy them). It's simply not working by any stretch of the imagination. Saying it is working is a mark of delusion.

2. I like Chris Cooley, but in general, when a tight end is having a banner year for receptions, it tells me that the quarterback, for whatever reason, is not able to read downfield, or he's hesitant to throw to the x or y receiver on any given play. The same principle applies to a safety leading a team in tackles: it means the up-front defenders are sucking wind and the opponents are scoring 30-40 points per game.

3. I'm glad to know that Czaban, who certainly knows his way around a microphone, has the b*lls to ask upfront what Zorn is thinking. It's good to know that at least someone in the DC media is taking the Redskins organization to task for screwy decisions.

4. Fire Vinny Cerrato. Nine years on the job, six coaches, 75 wins to 86 losses, no titles of any kind. The Cerrato(with Daniel Snyder) teambuilding techniques are clearly not working.

5. Daniel Snyder is a good owner. He's doing what he should do, and he loves his team. He should do three things immediately: a) Fire Vinny Cerrato, b) admit that he may not be the most knowledgable football guy, even if he is a devoted Redskins fan, and c) find someone who is the most knowledgable, and hire that person to be a general manager with direct freedom to hire and fire, to buy groceries as it were, do whatever is needed to get the Redskins on some sort of track within about five years.

6. Anything short of this is just going to be another painful reminder of each previous year.

Posted by: Meepo | December 17, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I still love Zorn. He's a straight shooter. He tells it like he sees it. Though he didn't really elaborate on it here, I have no doubt that he really does see progress. Whether it's key personnel starting to understand better the scheme, or improvement from some personnel, I think he sees something there.

And he's right, you know, about the scoring. How often have we all commented on this board about how the offense moves, but doesn't get in the end zone. They have had several games this year where they have dominated the stats (mostly because the defense played so well) but barely won the game.

If I were a player, I want a coach who (1) shoots straight with me, and (2) tries to get the best out of me. Zorn does both, I think.

Besides that, how can the media criticize this guy after how open he has been?

Posted by: Good2bOK | December 17, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Damn, that's the most cogent comments I've read this year about the SKINS.

Well thought-out Meepo, well spoken and unfortunately, all TRUE.

Posted by: j777im | December 17, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm still confused as to why people think this year didn't go so well. If the trends were reversed and the Redskins were in a five-game winning streak with a slim chance to make the playoffs, people would be lauding him as the real deal.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | December 17, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm still confused as to why people think this year didn't go so well...

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | December 17, 2008 1:19 PM

Skins Nation had a shotgun wedding to Zorn, here are some other applicable clich├ęs:

1. What have you done for me lately
2. If we aren't growing we're dying
3. He's his own worse enemy
4. don't take any wooden nickels
5. Something about counting chickens...

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | December 17, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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