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Zorn on Snyder and the Media

(By Tracy Woodward - TWP)

Jim Zorn was on Fox Sports Radio L.A.'s KLAC this week to discuss the Redskins. Because there's apparently a burning desire for burgundy and gold spring football news in Southern California. He answered Jason Campbell questions yet again, answered Albert Haynesworth and Brian Orakpo questions yet again, and talked about the offensive struggles yet again. And he did so without telling a single tale about skinning coyotes.

What I liked better was when the host, demonstrating how closely L.A. the national media follows this franchise, mentioned that Daniel Snyder has "shown some patience with coaches," and then wondered how much a sense of urgency the owner showed after the '08 season.

"I think he's like most head coaches, from one standpoint," Zorn said. "Most head coaches want to find out what actually happened. And what makes Dan great, is he couples that with his passion for the game, and TRUE passion for the Redskins. He really is an excellent football owner when it comes to those standpoints. The hard part is that I couldn't answer the questions the day after the season, because really it does take some time to go back and figure these things out, I mean, what really did happen.

"And that's where you're right about statistics or QB ratings or things like that. They do tell a story, but you can get down to some certain facts as you go through the video, as you go through some of the statistics, and you can figure out where the failures were. And I think that's what Dan really wants to know, and he wants to know where the successes are too. It's not all doom and gloom. He likes the players we've got here, and he likes the athleticism that we have on this football team."

Look, if I was interviewed about my boss on radio, I'd say he was great and excellent, too. Though I wouldn't probably reveal his feelings about athleticism. Zorn has also talked in the past about the trickiness of handling the media corps as a head coach, and he returned to that theme when asked about his greatest challenges during year one in Ashburn.

"I think part of the biggest challenge was being able to talk to the media in a fresh, I guess a fresh or an honest way," Zorn said. Uh, mission accomplished on that front.

"That I kept them informed with what was really going on, and yet not having to backtrack on anything that I was saying as well," Zorn continued. "I mean, it was a challenge, and there's so many different media outlets, and this is such a wonderful team, we've got great fans. In this immediate area there's a lot of fans that want more and more Redskin football, so I think that was the biggest challenge, juggling what was being said, all the different subjects, and how much time I could devote to that, and then make sure I spoke clearly."

The follow-up question was whether the media can get a coach fired. I'm not sure what that was in reference to--the media in this particular town wanted nothing to do with getting Zorn fired, nor did this media exactly run Eddie Jordan or Glen Hanlon out of town--but Zorn handled the question well-enough. It was also the first time I remember seeing him question the media's role at all.

"I hope it's not [true] in my case," he said. "I don't know that. I just think that the media, they want the answers, they want to find out. And I think where the media potentially can get a coach fired is when the media gives opinions that they haven't researched on a daily basis out on that field with all the key elements involved.

"Some people want to state things that they just feel about a guy, and they don't really know, and that's where I think it gets a little bit stretched-out....I think that's what hassles a head football coach, or any coach for that matter or even a player, is when someone derives an opinion based on not really knowing the facts."

Not guilty!

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 14, 2009; 4:03 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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But would you mention that your boss likes panquehue cheese?

Better to go through Bedford than Breezewood when heading to Pittsburgh for playoffs next year.

Posted by: Pensfans | May 14, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

When do OTAs resume?

Posted by: Section117 | May 14, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

True that the media did run Eddie Jordan etc out of town. Though I can think of a local college hoops coach who has a national championship banner hanging from the rafters of a $100+ million new arena that a local media outlet came pretty close to running out of town...

Posted by: Barno1 | May 14, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

First sentence should read "True that the media did NOT run Eddie Jordan etc out of town"

Posted by: Barno1 | May 14, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the good work, Jimmy. Screw the Snyder politics and the press. Make us into a contender again. Have you ever thought about going postal on Vinny and Danny?

Posted by: jighazelton | May 14, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse is what Zorny was really wanting to say...
"In 2008 I became Head Coach AND Offensive Coordinator without experience in either of those positions. How can you not love Snyder's insecure need for control?? Its what got me here".

Posted by: SkinsneedaGM | May 14, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I *heart* Coach Jim Zen.

Posted by: Chia_Pet | May 15, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Zorn is a nice guy - a really, really nice guy for not exploding in the face of the front office sometimes zagging when Jimmy boy is zigging. But nice guy and tolerance of front office shenanigans aside, is this guy a good coach?

His offense seemed to become more conservative and predictable down the stretch last year. He took the "why can't we all be friends" approach to Clinton Portis' comments in the media last year when he should have ripped the guy a new one and had him ride the pine. He hasn't been very successful with his rookie players. (You might say this is the quality of the player, not the coach, but I'd argue that a coach shapes his offense around his players' abilities. Some guys drafted last year who were far more limited than the Redskins' draft picks were able to contribute a lot more because their coaches created plays for them, focusing on the skills they had developed already.) So, I ask: is Zorn really a good coach? I would have to say, "Maybe not."

Posted by: RedSkinHead | May 15, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

What I liked better was when the host, demonstrating how closely L.A. follows this franchise.....

LA and California have a HUGE Skins following. You can't possibly think all of the Skins fans that invade Candlestick when the Skins play the Niners flew in from the Metro Area. For the LA Skins fans, we are looking forward to the short drive to San Diego this year.

Posted by: dcwun | May 15, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I think Zorn is a good coach. He was brought in to help Campbell develop. He probably didn't think he would be put into a situation where he needed to tell Portis and Cooley to not fumble at critical times. Or teach his lineman and veterans to not fall apart half way through the year. Or his kicker to stop missing everything. Or show some heart at home games.

Posted by: peterandmeredith | May 15, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"I think that's what hassles a head football coach, or any coach for that matter or even a player, is when someone derives an opinion based on not really knowing the facts."

HA....he must have heard about the hacks of JLC and JR on REDSKINS Insider....

Posted by: goosedude | May 15, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

That was THE most poorly written article I've ever read. I didn't even understand it. Of course the media has a huge play on whether a coach gets fired or not! Dude, you are an idiot. How did you get a job writing?

Posted by: gbarrett22 | May 15, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse


LA skin fan here!

Posted by: peaceful2008 | May 16, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Top Ten alternate names in case the court asked them to change it:

The Washington Freeagents

The Washington Torturers

The Washington Nosacks

The Washington Fedexes

The Washington Snyders

The Washington Bailouts

The Washington Lobbyists

The Washington Valets

The Washington Hogs

The Washington 4th&longs

Posted by: peaceful2008 | May 16, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Rank them:

Posted by: peaceful2008 | May 16, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Zorn will be fine as a head coach -- in DC if Snyder gives him enough time, or in some other NFL town if Snyder dumps him for another one of their big-name-coach-chasing debacles. (Steve Spurrier, anyone? Anyone at all?)

Posted by: SkinsfaninNebraska | May 16, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

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