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Brian Mitchell Calls Zorn "A Little Less Than" Norv

(By John McDonnell - TWP)

I wasn't sure if this was possible, but it appears Jim Zorn will be taking more of a verbal barrage this week than during any of his head coaching career. Even before building, and losing, the first 15-point lead of his head coaching career, Fox's Jimmy Johnson said Zorn was "not good enough to do the work that lies ahead." That's not exactly an endorsement.

It didn't get much better during the game. When one of the analysts Sonny Jurgensen disagreed with one of Zorn's play-calling choices on the Redskins official radio broadcast on ESPN 980, he wasn't shy about it: "What a dumb call! What a dumb call! What a dumb call!" either Sonny or Sam said. That's not an endorsement, either.

Zorn was perhaps less convincing than he's ever been during his post-game press conference, especially when asked about his wasted timeouts and then what went wrong with the running game.

"It's gonna be blocking," he said. "They stopped us. And I will say this, it was a physical battle on both sides of the ball. And we knew they were gonna be a good run team, but we knew that we could run the ball on them. And they stopped us. I thought we stopped them a lot. We gave them the ball back at times, not sustaining drives, and that put a lot of pressure on our defense. I wanted to keep that ball as long as we could."

Tell me what that means and I'll send you a 2006 Redskins media guide. Also, the Fox broadcast team's post-game discussion was heavily focused on Zorn's future, Pro Football Talk's postgame headline was "Let the Jim Zorn Termination Watch Begin," and the two teams he's beaten this year lost by an average of 24.5 this week. But none of that compared to this killer karate chop, from Brian Mitchell, on CSN's postgame show.

"I like Jim Zorn," Mitchell said, before slicing off Zorn's feet. "I like him because he's honest. I like him because he tries to be quirky and be funny. But I want to be real. I want to ask people, viewers out there: when you see him in press conferences, and the things he says, and the way he looks, does he truly look like a guy that you want to be following, to be your leader? I'm serious. I keep hearing that statement, 'He blew us away in the interview process'. I don't see blow away in what I'm seeing. Whether they win or lose, I don't see blow away. I was with Norv Turner, and Norv was a great coach, but he was not a damn leader. And I see this man being a little less than what Norv Turner was. I'm being honest...."

[Note: Credit to B Mitch for just coming up with the absolute most damning criticism that has yet been directed at Zorn. That's just brilliantly savage," like calling Buffalo's civic marketing program "a bit worse than Detroit's" or describing Bud Selig as "a bit less impressive than Gary Bettman."]

"It's his personality," Mitchell continued, while Zorn's fresh blood was still trickling off his hands. "Let's get it straight, I understand. But this is the man's personality. And I don't just talk the talk without knowing what I'm talking about. He's that way ALL THE TIME. I would get sick and tired of hearing him. He's just like the teacher on Charlie Brown, 'Wah Wah Wah,' that's all I would hear. I would not hear nothing he's saying.

"And when you look at this offense, and you look at the progress of this offense, they are on a downward hill. It started off as a little snowball, it's a hell of an avalanche right now, and if he don't find a way to change at least something about his approach, he's gonna lose his team, if he hasn't already lost 'em."

"It's not a matter of X's and O's, I don't think, in changing the approach," Trevor Matich chimed in. "It's a matter of galvanizing them and getting them to prepare and play to their utmost ability, and that's the thing that's not happening. There's too many guys that make one mistake at a time, and ultimately it comes down to they don't fear making that mistake."

"And the one thing I want people to understand out there that I'm not saying we need a coach here that's gonna yell," Mitchell later added. "My favorite coaches? Joe Gibbs, wasn't a guy that was very loud and boisterous, getting crazy. Andy Reid is another guy, he's like that. You know, even when I went to Jim Fassel, the man's been to a Super Bowl. He didn't win that Super Bowl, but he did get there, but he wasn't a loud guy, throwing chairs and things. You can be successful without being loud and throwing chairs. But body language says a lot....When you play bad, you know you played bad, and if the coach goes on TV and says, 'Well, we were improving, we got better,' players see right through that."

To be clear, Mitchell also singled out the front office and the team leaders for failing to provide the necessary accountability, and he did so in wonderfully colorful language. Obviously one or two plays or punts or flags made the difference in this one, but as long as you keep saying that and the Redskins keep winding up on the wrong side, these fusillades will continue to smash into the Z Man's crew. Though I really don't know where you can go after you've already played the "a little less than Norv" card.

"I hear them talking about leaders," Mitchell said. "You need a leader who will put his foot in someone's butt on this team. You got a lot of guys on the team that are leaders, but they don't say nothing. If I don't say nothing, you don't know if you're doing something wrong. They need some B Mitches, they need some Earnest Byners, some Wilbur Marshalls, Monte Colemans. Guys that will put their foot so far up your butt when you talk [you] smell their shoe polish. That's what they need on this football team....They need the cleats. They need to see how it feels when you're not doing your job."

Now we just have to see whether a certain quirky head coach feels one of those cleats before this season ends.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 11, 2009; 6:48 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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Next: Jay Glazer on the Shanahan Rumors


Almost positive that was Sam Huff saying "What a dumb call!" He said it after the safety.

Posted by: amorris525 | October 11, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

definitely Sam Huff

Posted by: tony11 | October 11, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

fire cerrato

Posted by: ThisGuy | October 11, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: redskinfan4life1 | October 11, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

your right amorris, it was Huff that said that. i wondered at the time if Huff wanted Zorn to call pass in that situation. You know, of the passes that got JC sacked 5 times, or hurried EVERY other time because the o-line couldn't stop a drop of water.

Posted by: craig2 | October 11, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Fire "B Mitch"!

Posted by: BenThere | October 11, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Craig, not a pass, no. But you don't run a stretch play if it entails doing the stretch part IN THE END ZONE. You call a vertical running play and get a few more yards.

Posted by: freakzilla | October 11, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

As Joe Gibbs once said all you have to do is win consistently and everybody has to shut up.

And, of course, if you don't win, then everybody gets to run their mouths. Okay, so now little B-Mitch and seemingly even little Danny Steinberg get to run their mouths.

Gosh, last year when Zorn was 6-2, he was a media darling for his refreshing quirkiness and he was called a good coach and certainly a leader of men.

How quickly it all comes down, and some in the media, like a pack of wild dogs, goes after the seemingly weakest one until they expire. It's all so much fun.

The problem is that the problems with this organization are more than about Jim Zorn. He is just the fall guy and some of you are just falling for it.

Posted by: cannontl | October 11, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Have to admit after losing to Detroit, I said to myself: "Zorn is SO fired."

But Zorn's zany personality has won my heart.. it's hard for me to hate the man.

I love Jim Zorn. For God's sake, would somebody help him make the right calls?!

Posted by: RedCherokee | October 11, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Dan Snyder ought to have a press conference tomorrow and say that he is firing his "other set of eyes" and giving Jim Zorn a vote of confidence. He ought to say Zorn is my coach and he will be my coach for at least the length of his current contract.

He should also say that Campbell is the franchise quarterback. The only way he will not be my quarterback is if the head coach comes to me and says I think we can do better.

If he can't do this, then ought to ask himself, "Why is it that no head coach I have ever had has been truly successful in my organization?" If he gets up in the morning and looks in the mirror, he will find his answer.

Posted by: cannontl | October 11, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Thank you BMitch. There does not seem to be any accountability on this team. You make a stupid mistake, you should sit. I was struck by the lack of emotion, no anger, no outward frustration after the Detroit debacle. Same thing here - nobody really cares. They accept LOSING! They cash their bloated paychecks and very little else seems to matter. Sure, they SAY it matters, but at this point, who really believes much of anything that comes out of Ashburn?

Posted by: LeeM9308 | October 11, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the two wins are enough to keep Sam Bradford out of this team's reach. Even if they do somehow draft him, he seems to have the character and self-respect to tell the most racist NFL team to get bent.

Posted by: rdpinva | October 11, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins are probably the most dysfunctional team in professional sports. Fire Zorn, bench Campbell, it doesn't matter as long as we have Dan Snyder as the owner. He ought to go on B Mitch's post game show and aplogize to all the fans he's been ripping off for the past decade plus. At that time, in order to demonstrate to the fans that he means business, he ought to announce that he is firing Vinny Cerrato for incompetence. He then will announce that he is hiring an experienced general manager who will have complete control over football operations. He will then admit to the fans that he knows nothing about the game of football or accessing football talent and that he won't meddle again in areas where he clearly has demonstrated he has no knowledge or ability. But then I woke up and realized it was only a dream.

Posted by: craigy7169 | October 11, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

No matter how bad it gets, it is never going to change because snyder and cerrato don't think they are doing anything wrong. Don't forget. "They have a plan." Won't tell us what that plan is but they have one. I think it is a scheme to move to LA. Don't let the door hit you in the a$$ as you leave. I'll take an expansion team any day over these 2 boobs.

Posted by: larrypalma | October 11, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Sad, sad team. Hope Zorn doesn't get blamed for the mess of an offensive line he's been saddled with. Give Campbell a line like any other team in our division, and we're talking a win here and perhaps against the Lions, as well. Probably still wouldn't make the playoffs, but sheesh, we wouldn't have to sweat bullets every time Portis is not planted in the backfield picking off ends and safeties.

Posted by: creativefunk | October 11, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry Zorn apologists, but the man creates quite a stench as a head coach. Granted, those self absorbed idiots Snyder and Cerrato hired him and assembled the roster, but I get no sense that the man has a clue how to lead a team and run an effective offense. Let's face it, if not for the turnovers and incredibly short fields for their 2 TDs, this team would have put up a whopping THREE POINTS against a previously winless team.

Something smells bad at Redskin Park...

Posted by: chombie13 | October 11, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

At this point there are bigger "boobs" than DanVin. They are the fans who continue to spend money on this franchise. Voting with your pocketbook is the only way to get the owners attention.

Posted by: rdpinva | October 11, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Zorn is a symptom, not the cause. Fire Vinny, let a new, REAL GM pick a coach.

I like Zorn, I want him to succeed, but no way we ever win anything of consequence when a dude has this to say:

What happened on that, it was the fourth-down call, and we're waiting for them to spot the ball," Zorn said. "Well, the clock's running, and I'm looking, I'm trying to call a play, but I don't know where they're going to spot the ball. I don't know if it's gonna be 4th-and-5, 4th-and-2, 4th-and-7, what was it gonna be. And so all's I could do was call timeout."

Posted by: jpfterps | October 11, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Could someone please explain why Rhinehart did not play today? Making one mistake in your first freaking game is not worthy of a damn benching in favor of BMW. Especially when running to your side nets you 5X the success of running the other way. (I think it was like 4X the average yards/run than running left). BMW would have probably been better in Samuel's spot than Batiste or whatever the heck his name is.

Posted by: JesusFreakKaren | October 11, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

And please make sure Devin Thomas is on the list of Talent Vinny Acquired after that great catch today.

Wait, check that. Oops.

This team is awful. Maybe we squeak by KC next week, but rock bottom comes when Philly comes to town Monday 10/26. FedEx will be at least 40% green and the skins will get drilled. I will be there, suffering, hoping Danny finally fires his idiot yes-man.

Posted by: jpfterps | October 11, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Of course a new coach won't change the trajectory. The root cause is clearly ownership. Many folks have mentioned Ted Leonsis as the 'right' kind of owner, and I agree 100% Leonsis treats the Caps hans as customers - VALUED customers, Snyder treats the Skins fans as fools. And we are fools to keep following this habitual underachieving collection of former marquee players. Zorn may not be the right coach for this team, but a new coach won't change the real problem. I have watched the Redskins for many many years, and now find myself switching to the Ravens game, and NFL Redzone to see how NFL football is really played.

Posted by: bfjam | October 11, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

We're such a wretched franchise that you can't pay Shanahan enough to come coach us. THAT is what Dan Snyder has done to this franchise, turned it into NFL's version of Siberia. I envy Cincinnati and Arizona... who would've thought THAT day would ever come, but it has.

Posted by: massiveBrains | October 11, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

they benched rinhart so they could get a subway add for mike williams.i was against zern last year when they hired him as an dont bring a learn on the job oc,or hc,for a vet team,change the off,and expect anything but doom.this is synder/cerratzos idea of continuity.if you are gonna change your team,you got to start all over,and take your lumps,but this aint working,good nite zorn you should have stayed in seattle

Posted by: DLESMonday | October 11, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

B Mitch has been right the whole time.

Right about Portis last year, right about the team this year...

Posted by: kreator6996 | October 11, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I think Brian Mitchell is an ass clown and the pos games shows are basically unwatchable. The pillsbury dough boy Mattich is even worse. Mitchell is another one of those ex-athletes that basically wants to say none of these guys are as good as I was. Never a positive always some silly statement like the shoe polish comment. That may be what Mitchell needed, but a lot of guys wouldn't respong to that either. What is Doc Walker doing these days that he can't rescue us from this horrible commentary. he tells it straight, but unlike Motchell he doesn't have to be derogatory and insulting to do it. That said maybe Mitchell should be writing this blog as the lazy Steinberg just parroted Mitchells post game anyway.

Last Zorn has to go and he has to go now. I don't care who you bring in, but please do not promote Blache. Lewis, Billick, Shanahan, Cower, Fassel, Holmgren, whoever. Let them come in now and coach, and in the off season let them assume the GM role as well and get rid of Vinny.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | October 11, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Dan needs to spend some money in the off season. He has no problem doing that usually. In an uncapped year we can get anybody we want, but you need somebody who knows who you need and at what positions. Dan nees to understand Vinny is not the guy to be in charge of who we bring in and try to sign, and neither is he. Bring someone in with recent experience. We will have a new QB next year. We need a new leader to teach him how to be a real NFL player. One thing I do agree with from the post game is Mattich saying the players are not afraid to make mistakes because there is no accountability. Sit some players and let them watch for a quarter or two. You are going to lose anyway, might as well do it for the right reasons.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | October 11, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

You can criticize Jim Zorn, and JC, it's all true. But how do you hire a QB coach from the Seattle Seagals who have never won anything! as your offensive coordinator! before you hire a head coach! and then say, "ugh, okay i guess you got the job." Snyder is the problem. Stop going to the games! stop! you have to! I am a die hard skins fan. but I'm not a blind homer. I got so sick of hearing all these IDIOTS on the radio talk about, "hey, we're 2-2". You guys are morons. Has there been a team in history who has played winless teams for their first 5 games? probably not, but we are still 2-3. we should be winless. I mean, the offense did what? score off turnovers? this is a joke. I am done.

Posted by: tony28 | October 12, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Cerrato is the common link. As GM he has been at the helm or in Snyders ear since the beginning. What quality coach would want to lead this team. Snyder cut the n_ts off of Norv, Marty, Zorn, Robiskie, in a very rude manner, in public. They hire a years too old Gibbs and a years too new Spurrier. Our offensive line is pitiful so they go after Hanesworth,on defense, who each game looks like he may turn up lame. Our wide receivers outside of Moss cant catch a cold, no help. Our running backs are getting old as we watch them. Let the Patriots acquire Portis where he will be an All Pro again. I like Zorn personally, but, wasnt he hired for a fill in till Snyder could find a name head coach, which he couldn't do before because Cowher wouldn't say yes and thats who Snyder wanted. If we had kept Marty, who was like Coughlin a real cosch, we may not have won a Super Bowl, or maybe we would have, but we would have made the playoffs yearly which gets you a shot at the title.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | October 12, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

The great Jack Kent Cooke is turning in his grave....
This has been a painful prelude to a much more gruesome season to come. KC next week presents the best opportunity for a win until the end of the season.
The way the Skins are playing, any team in the NFL could beat them...heck, there are a few college teams that could give them a run for their money.
What a sad, sad day........

Posted by: J_E_K_Y_L | October 12, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

"Zorn is a symptom, not the cause. Fire Vinny, let a new, REAL GM pick a coach."

Couldn't have said it better myself.


Posted by: drischord | October 12, 2009 2:32 AM | Report abuse

Uh, the most important question is this; why the __ck do we keep rooting for this turd on wheels called the Deadskins? Year after year we watch this fool of an owner and his retarded "oh-thats-it-a-little-to-the-left-danny" yes-boy hump each other silly. And we keep paying the $500-$2000 a game to go see this sad crap. They are too retarded to ever get it right. Everyone reading this blog knows that linemen win football games. Yet they never have put together a line in 10 years......

Posted by: jacksonalex | October 12, 2009 2:38 AM | Report abuse

What a great point from one of my favoriate players of all time: Brian Mitchell. Norv was a great coach but not a leader. The leadership quality is the difference between a great O- or D-coordinator and a head coach. The latest greatest O- or D- coordinator is always assumed to have leadership-- not so!!!

Gibbs I had it. Marty had it.

Norv did not. Spurrier did not. Gibbs II did not have it. Zorn does not have it.

Posted by: hz9604 | October 12, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm sick of everyone who complains yet spends money on this so called team. BOYCOTT every possible way you can think of and start today. Money and power seem to be the only thing Snyder understands. Without the big money he will lose his sense of power. BOYCOTT

Posted by: hessone | October 12, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

The Redskins woes primarily revolve around player personnel, which is Danny and Vinnie. Zorn was a poor choice for head coach because he had no prior experience other than as a QB coach. Big question mark on that decision, which was brought to you by none other than Danny and Vinnie.

The Redskins have ignored the O-line for so long its obvious that the lack of quality depth there has undermined the offense. It almost looks like youth football where most plays are "jail-breaks" with multiple opponent jerseys in our backfield. Jason Campbell isn't the problem. The front office is the problem because they have continually mismanaged the roster and ignored the value of the O-line and D-line relative to other positions. Games are won or lost in the trenches, but lineman aren't glamourous. How else do you explain the drafting of 2 WR's (Thomas + Kelly)and a TE (Davis) two years ago when it was obvious that the O-line and D-line were in shambles? BTW these three glamour boys haven't busted a grape while wearing burgundy and gold. I could write a book on all the screw ups Snyder and Cerrato have heaped upon the roster. Let's not forget that Snyder sues 72 year old grandma's for the out years on their season ticket contracts when they are out of work. What a way to run a business. We need Ted Leonsis to get an investor group together and buy out the belt-buckled-boy-wonder. Then we can go through a true rebuilding process instead of a series of ill advised short cuts that don't work.

Posted by: youcanthandlethetruth1 | October 12, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

yea norv without offense

Posted by: LongTimeSkinsFan | October 12, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

That goalline call was stupid because they called a stretch play on our own 1 yard line.

Posted by: Andymr | October 12, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

How can Brian Mitchell tell Jim Zorn to get in his players faces and get aggressive and call these people out when the players know that he doesnt have the support of management?

Do you think Zorn laying into Portis or DHall will get anything back from them except a laugh? Am I going to follow my platoon leader up an enemy hill if I know first hand that the generals think he's incompetent? Of course not. Zorn's hands have been tied by Synderrato, and the blame for the team's situation lies solely with them.

I'm tired of people throwing the coaches under the bus. In ten years, we've had 3 winning seasons, and I struggle to even count 1999 because Snyder had only had his paws on it briefly. We've had a revolving door of coaches and players but two constants have remained: the same ownership and mediocre football. Coincidence? No.

You want to solve Washington's problems? Start talking to your rich friends and family and find out their thoughts on owning a franchise...

Posted by: FireVinny1 | October 12, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

The most important BMitch quote was that Zorn wasn't given the authority to be the coach (is that what you meant by "necessary accountability"?) But it doesn't appear Zorn is the type that would seize that authority anyways and ask for forgiveness later.

I just keep thinking about the NFL Films footage of Mike Singletary chewing out one of his linemen on the sidelines, telling him if he doesn't want to play he didn't want him in there, that he would find someone else who wanted to play. If these millionaire athletes want to ease off the gas pedal after they get paid by Snyder, put their behinds on the bench. What good is talent if they don't want to play?

Posted by: rooster75 | October 12, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Help me understand a game plan that, to my memory, didn't target Cooley once. And it wasn't just that he was in blocking every play.

The big guys will win it every time. We have no o-line.

Posted by: camvek | October 12, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

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