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Jim Zorn: Wisdom Nuggets and Orange Headphones

Zorn, imparting wisdom nuggets. (By John McDonnell - TWP)

Since yesterday marked my first meeting with Jim Zorn near a football field since the '08 campaign ended, I figured there were a few questions I should ask. Like, obviously, what books he had read in the offseason.

"I have been doing some reading," he said after yesterday's practice. "I would call it a critical concern book written by a guy named Tony Evans, and it's called No More Excuses, all right? And it really delves into some life's principles, of owning up to various aspects of a person's life. So I've been studying that, working on that, trying to become a better man. As far as pleasure reading, I like Daniel Silva, and so I've been reading some Daniel Silva. No particular title, but he's got an excellent character that kind of runs all over the world, and saves it."

Saves the world, he means. Oh, and remember how I noted that the Redskins were bringing in all sorts of Dallas guys, personnel-wise? Would you believe me if I told you this Tony Evans used to be the chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys? Check it out.

Anyhow, someone asked whether something like No More Excuses winds its way into his football mind, and whether he discusses such things with his players.

"Yeah, yeah, I do, every once in a while," he said. "You know, there's some really great principles--I try not to force certain principles on them--but I try to make sure that we're also building each other up as men as well. Ad that's part of the deal. These guys are young guys, some of 'em are fresh out of college, and they're still young men trying to become adults. And I think with all the things that are thrown on these guys today, they need to hear some wisdom nuggets, if you will. And it's not just me. We've got some excellent coaches that have some real conviction in their lives, and they try to impart that. Jerry Gray does a lot of it. And we do it with humor, and we do it with serious points as well."

I also asked Zorn whether he did anything this summer he had never done before. I was hoping he'd say he learned how to make fresh-churned yak butter, but instead he said this.

"Yeah, I drove back from Boston through New York in my daughter's Jeep," he said. "The top was up, but I had headphones on the whole time. You know, sort of soundproof headphones, because it is a soft top. So illegally I wore headphones, both my son and I had these orange headsets on, just to break up the noise a little bit. We rode the whole way, you know, we did the whole thing. It was awesome. My daughter graduated from college up there and she had a car there, a Jeep, and I told her I'd drive it home for her. It was so much fun. It would only go about 50 miles an hour, so I didn't have to worry about the speed limit."

Sadly, no photos appear to have surfaced of Jim Zorn and son in orange headsets driving a Jeep 50 mph on I-95.

"Well, we tried to be inconspicuous," he pointed out.

Zorn also said the offense has learned "at least 30 percent more" than it had at this point a year ago, that cutting Marcus Mason "was really frustrating for all of us last year, because he had such a fine preseason," and that Brian Orapko is a "special talent" who "will improve dramatically all the way through this training camp."

Oh, and he was asked when he stopped having Favre-esque illusions that he could return to the field.

"Probably about six months ago," he joked. "Because you always feel like, 'Yeahhh, yeahhh, I've still got this.' But no, I knew, my ankle does not perform, even walking, very well. So yeah, I knew many years ago that I was done. But in my mind I still feel like I'm fresh, I still feel like I can throw. I don't throw at the velocity, but I still think I can hit what I'm throwing at and stuff like that. I don't know if that's ever gonna change."

Good enough to beat Jason Campbell in a pass-off?

"He'd have to give me some time to work on it," Zorn said. "But if I worked on it....I talk a great game," he concluded.

And finally, I asked him whether he had undergone any dinosaur training, the heavy-object lifting that that he had recommended to the lads.

"Um, no, I haven't taken the time to do it," he said. "Could I take the time to do it? Ab-so-lute-ly. But it hasn't been a priority for me. Other things have been more of a priority. You know, I do a lot of biking, as you heard, and it's been well-documented. Those are the things that I concentrate on. Cardiovascular stuff on the StairMaster. But at some point here I'm gonna start strength training again. It's never too late to start anything when it comes to working out. You will get in better shape."

You meaning him. You meaning you and me sit around and read sports news on the Internet.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 9, 2009; 8:29 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Hunter Smith: Punting is Like Golf


No asking if he wanted to go play some Hoops or get some 5 guys with the Obamas?

Posted by: alex35332 | June 9, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"Wisdom Nuggets" is definitely my new favorite Zornism

Posted by: adelosr1 | June 9, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Jim has always been a unique individual who has alot of different interests in his life. He has been that way for as long as I can certainly remember. He is very much unorthodox in his approach to how he lives his life and that also comes out in his coaching. You look around at the NFL and take a good look at the other 31 head coaches and how they live and think and he is in a class all his own. He just approaches things very differently. I know from all my years of knowing him that is something that has always stood out clearly to me right after what he stands for most importantly as a christian. I've learned a few things over the years from him and I still continue to.

Posted by: afriendofzorn | June 9, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

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