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Jim Zorn's Offseason Goals: Dinosaur Training

Striding into the Dinosaur Offseason. (By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

All that Hip Hip Hooray, playing sudden, going to heroics but Staying Medium business has petered out long ago. But the Z Man hasn't gone anywhere. A few hours ago, Santana Moss was asked to describe Jim Zorn's season-ending players meeting.

"Typical Zorn," he said. "Zorn has been Zorn all year, so you knew it was gonna be a little different than how Coach Gibbs expressed things. You know, with Coach Gibbs we went in there, and he said things that he had to say, and it was over. Coach Zorn gonna give you a little more than what's normal."

What did Moss mean? He wouldn't elaborate, so I got another player to show me one of the Zorn handouts. At the top was a John Wooden quote--"Don't mistake activity for achievement"--with a headline reading "Pursuits for the offseason." My own pursuit would be "lay on the sofa and eat Fritos," but here were some of Zorn's bullet points. (There were also football-specific goals, but they were less notable.)

* Read a book/novels or critical concern books

* Make lists/update priorities

* Travel/go some place interesting

* Spend time with teammates

* Education/degrees/future career goals

* Make a calendar

* Give back

* Reestablish yourself with your wife and your kids

Worthy goals, if slightly un-Gibbsian. When he came out to address the media, I asked Zorn about the handout.

"I can't really control their lives, but I wanted them to have a sheet that they could take with them of ideas of things to pursue in the offseason, and things that can help them get better," he said. "We all have to get better. And so how do you do that? You can't just talk about it.

"And the quote that I started with really was from John Wooden, and that was 'Don't mistake activity for achievement,' and I tried to explain that just being active doesn't mean that all of the sudden we're getting better. We have to have purpose in our offseason pursuits so it allows us to get better.

"Those were my war cries, and then I went into some more detail, practical things, things that men don't really like to do, like make lists. Have a good calendar, so you can plan the actions you want to take. You know, things that are practical but young men don't often think about, that they have to rise to. You know, I encouraged the married men, and men that have children to be careful as they enter back into their homes and a normal lifestyle. You know, actually being around, and what that's all about.

"And I know that from personal experience, you know, all of the sudden I walk back into the house but my wife has been completely in charge of everything for so many weeks, now I step back in I go, 'Why is that there?' And that doesn't go over real well. So we have to enter back in carefully."

Later, Zorn was asked about Clinton Portis saying he wants nothing to do with exercise until March, and Zorn didn't blink.

"I want those guys to get away," he said. "I want those guys to have some down time. That's not what I'm talking about. But when they do start their activity, don't think that jogging two miles prepares you for a football season. Like I would do, I'd go out for a stroll on my bike, thinking that I'm getting ready for football season. That's not it.

"I have a book in my cupboard, it's called, I don't know the exact title, but it's called Dinosaur Training, ok, and some of the offseason training is like Dinosaur Training. And what the title of this weight training book means, it's about lifting heavy things, it's about moving heavy objects, it's about total body movement workouts. Lifting with purpose, to get strong, not to get in front of the camera. And that's what I want. I want some Dinosaur Training with these guys, so when they come back they will be better."

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 29, 2008; 1:56 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Jim Zorn Goes Formal


Think the players have any idea what this cat is saying?

Posted by: dcborn61 | December 29, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

To think that we were all worried Gibbs would be out of touch with today's players when he decided to come back for the second go-around. As nice and genuine as he seems to be, it is Zorn who is out of touch with today's millionaire athletes.

Listening to the players' comments after the game, it seemed like they were just ready for vacation, nobody seemed really bothered that the season was over. I know some of this Zen stuff has worked with Phil Jackson, Pat Reilly, Doc Rivers, etc., but I don't think it will fly in a franchise where the players flock because the owner pays top dollar and beyond. When you've set that tone from the top on day one, you've already lost any chance for inspiring players to work on self-growth and eventually put team over self.

Posted by: rooster75 | December 29, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

from what I am reading I think from zorn to every one down the line we all have a better appreciation for what it takes to be a hall of fame coach and class individual while doing it. what is truth.

Posted by: Rvf0509 | December 29, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Think the players have any idea what this cat is saying?

Posted by: dcborn61 | December 29, 2008 2:30 PM

I really hope so.

Posted by: BMACattack | December 29, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

You guys who follow the Skins will never understand Jim. And your comments above clearly show that.

The problem with too many football fans, and sports fans in general, is that they don't understand that with a few of these athletes and coaches-Jim being one of them most certainly-is that their lives don't revolve around the game. And I know that is a really hard concept for alot of you to get. I have known Jim for many years. He is a man that is a deep thinker and lives a life that is full of many interests. He believes in what is called a "balanced life". A person who is balanced and is living a life that is meaningful and with purpose generally is pretty successful and fulfilled.

One last thing. This is not some "Zen" philosophy that Jim is living and promoting to his players. I have seen that comment made one too many times in recent months. There is no synchretisim being practiced here as is the case with Phil Jackson. There is nothing "Zen" about Jim and his beliefs.

Posted by: afriendofzorn | December 29, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

"You guys who follow the Skins will never understand Jim. And your comments above clearly show that."

I think more interestingly, is that the players who follow Zorn don't understand him. Reference: read Moss' and others' comments about the end-of-season meeting.

Posted by: nojunk4me | January 5, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

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