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Zorn on the radio gets even more awkward

Ok, before I get to the awkwardness, let me get to the greatest part of Jim Zorn's weekly appearance on ESPN 980's The Sports Fix Tuesday afternoon: when he was asked why Albert Haynesworth lumbers off the field in anguish so frequently. Now, obviously Haynesworth is a massive force of destruction and mayhem on the field, but his weekly bouts with the ground are also impossible to ignore. (If you didn't watch, CBS did a whole montage of "grimacing Haynesworth" images when Haynesworth got hurt against the Chiefs.")

So Kevin Sheehan asked Zorn why Haynesworth always leaves the field in such a state.

"I think he wants to show people that, 'Hey, I gave it all,' " Zorn said, dead serious. "That's the way I look at it."

Sheehan made some sound of disbelief, and then asked if Haynesworth is in shape.

"Yeah, yeah, and listen to this, he's moving 340 pounds at a higher speed than some guys can even play," Zorn said. "I would have a hard time [with him] even when I played. Now, I could move laterally and get out of the way of a guy like that, but he's fast now, and he can run people down. So when he goes all out, he does need a rest. I don't know if we can understand the physiology of this, but we said with him coming in he was gonna give us 60 percent of the plays, maybe not much more than that, and he's certainly giving us that. And when he's in there, he's doing some damage. And I don't really care how he comes off [the field], as long as when he's in there, he's giving me that."

Agreed, but it still makes for some great television. And now for the awkwardness.

Asked about the decision to pick Sherm Lewis as his replacement: "I did not pick that," Zorn said.

Awkward level: 8.

Asked again about that decision: "I think it's gonna be very difficult, but we all are gonna have this challenge before us and we're gonna make the best of it. We're not out of it. We're not out of the game-planning and saying, 'OK Sherm, take it and see you on Monday night and tell us what you want us to do.' No, we're gonna game plan in a similar fashion. We know it's gonma be pressure filled and don't know what the result's gonna be.

Awkward level: 6.

Asked whether it was more difficult to accept his demotion or Lewis's promotion: "Those are tough questions to even fathom."

Awkward level: 10.

Continuing on: "I have confidence in what I'm doing. You know, I called the play that Clinton broke last week for 78 yards. I called the go routes and the things that worked as well. But I don't execute, the players do."

Awkward level: 10. (He didn't intend this as a shot at the players, and went on to say that he doesn't get the credit for the 78-yard run, that the players do. His point was that it isn't just the playcalling.)

Asked about his quarterback: "I think what I'm gonna do is go right back to Jason Campbell. I needed to take him out, and I think we had some things there that he knew he missed without being under duress....I made the decision but I didn't give up on the young man, I didn't give up on the qb. So that's where I think I'm gonna head as all is said and done here."

Awkward level: 4.

Asked to compare this team to the '07 Seahawks: "We had been together for six or seven years. When you called a play, everybody knew what to do, to go fast. We knew adjustments. When [Matt Hasselbeck] turned the play down, it was after it was over, when he had to scramble. It was after the play had broken down."

Awkward level: 4.

Asked to compare those teams' talent levels: "I can't speak, it's hard to compare. I would say Santana Moss is a quality receiver, he could start three as well as here, he's just a big-time player. Chris Cooley would start at tight end. Clinton Portis. We have a lot of starters on this football team."

Awkward level: 8.

Asked how hard Monday Night will be: "it'll be very hard, but I'm called to do hard things. Chuck Knox used to say, The hard man comes down the hard road,' and that's how we're gonna do it here."

Awkward level: 11.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 20, 2009; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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"When [Matt Hasselbeck] turned the play down, it was after it was over, when he had to scramble. It was after the play had broken down."

"...turned the play down"...? Could someone pls. 'splain that to me?

Posted by: nojunk4me | October 20, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Zorn was right to stay despite the humilation and awkwardness. Here's why:

- To stay or to quit is a binary decision.
- Success or failure for the season is a binary outcome (provided you can agree to define success as an 7-9 season at this point, 20 points scored in 5 or more games, whatever).

Stay + Failure = It wasn't Zorn's play calling that was the problem, it was Vinny's personnel selections. Boo, Vinny! (and keep the dough)

Stay + Success = We're still mediocre, but we're winning now and Zorn is a HC who doesn't call the plays, big deal. Yeah, Redskins! (and keep the dough)

Quit + Failure = Zorn left the team in a time of need and let his ego and pride be more important than the team. Boo, Zorn!

Quit + Success = It was Zorn that was the problem, good riddance. Boo, Zorn!

Posted by: philreed1231 | October 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

That does sound awkward but not nearly as awkward as Vinny Cerrato's weekly love-in with Larry Michael. Two Snyder goons massaging each other on the radio. (At least until last week, when what must have been a Larry Michael impersonator dared to ask Vinny a difficult question.)

My favorite part of the Vinny show? It's called "Inside the Red Zone," and yet on it that clown repeatedly makes reference to something called "the red area." Hilarious, until you remember that this is the man running our franchise.

Snyder, wake up and learn what the rest of the NFL figured out 7 years ago: Your best pal Vinny is a league-wide joke.


Posted by: drischord | October 20, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: cromag23 | October 20, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Reason Zorn stayed on is simple.... money. If it were pride, he'd have had the spine to tell Vinny to shove off and fire him a few days ago. He didn't, which means either his contract or his subordinate staff were on the line right then and there. Yes, he's gone after this season but he's still collecting $$ for now. Plus this whole debacle hasn't exactly endeared anyone involved to any other NFL team. Would you want Zorn in any capacity to be coaching your team after this? I wouldn't. You can keep Stump and Sherm too. Snyderatto hand-picked Zorn partially because he lacked the spine to stand up for himself if pushed by the owner. Hello? It's a prerequisite for all head coaches since Schotty.

Posted by: pgugino | October 20, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

It's funny Zorns attitude twards Sherm Lewis. He treats Sherm like he treats his rookies...not very seriously. I think Sherm will do better at play calling but I think the players comfort zone will be funny to watch!! In other words the players better be focussed and know the plays!!! Because he's not gonna be ZORN!

Posted by: LongTimeSkinsFan | October 20, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I listened to the interview and it sounded to me like is more relaxed than he's ever been during his time here. He probably figures he's got nothing to lose now since fate is already sealed.

He's smart enough to know that it can't get any worse, and Sherm Lewis calling the plays ain't gonna make the situation better either.


Posted by: Predator48 | October 20, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

In less than a week, anyone remotely cheering for this team will get another unprecedented serving of humiliation, when Monday Night Football will display the idiocy of making a former bingo caller, with a subpar NFL playcalling record at that, the new playcaller for the Skins. A playcaller who came on board only a few weeks ago. A playcaller who hasn't been employed in the NFL in 5 - 6 years. Seriously, this stuff writes itself. Local sports journalists have an easier job now than ever before.

Posted by: pgugino | October 20, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Jim zorn average awkward rating 7.625

Bog average fun rating 9.206

Vinny being fired average rating 10

Posted by: alex35332 | October 20, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I feel so bad for Jim Zorn. He came to D.C. to be an offensive coordinator. As a man already in his 50's, this was a shot a running an offense that he probably thought would never come to him.

Then, through no fault of Zorn's, Dan Snyder couldn't find anyone willing to take his money and pretend to be the head coach of his team for a while. So, with no other options available, Snyder offered the head-coaching job to Zorn.

What was Zorn supposed to do? Turn it down? To him it must have seemed like hitting the lottery. An NFL head coaching job! No one in his position turns that down.

What Zorn was too inexperienced to understand was that, no matter how good a coach he was, there was no chance for him to succeed. None. He didn't have the players or the backing of ownership to ever make a decent run at success.

Now, Snyder has not only given-up on Zorn, he is allowing his coach to swing in the wind while the team takes away his duties one-by-one until Zorn can do little more than sit-by and watch his career go down the drain.

Snyder is not only a horrendous NFL owner, but he consistently demonstrates that he is an even worse human being who treats his employees like disposable game pieces in his little fantasy game board.

This will all be over soon for Jim Zorn. But for us -- the fans -- the nightmare just keeps on going.

Kevin Olson
Manassas, VA

Posted by: noslok | October 20, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

In some previous posts I equated Dan Snyder to Billy Sullivan who owned the Patriots in 60s, 70s, and most of the 1980s. Well I was dead wrong and I appologize to the Sullivan family for the comparison. Sullivan was a horrible owner, but I don't remember him ever treating any of his employees the way that Snyder is treating Zorn. At least Sullivan owned up to his horrible personnel choices.

Posted by: stephenaltobelli | October 20, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I think that everyone is forgetting one important fact. We all knew that Zorn had never called a play in his life as a football coach. If you hire some one without experience you must give them time to grow into the position. If they wanted a quick fix then Dan and Vinny should have hired one of the young offensive coordinators or an experience head coach. But these fools do things backwards so we got what we got.

And another things. Jason Campbell is not a West Coast QB. He was drafted to drop back and throw. Put the right personnel around him and let him do what he does best.

Posted by: mikemikemd1 | October 20, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Snyder and Cerrato are the problem.
A couple of weeks ago Zorn made it clear that he cannot call certain plays for JC because he'll (JC) will get pounded back there. This is a team that always wins the pre-season superbowl by picking up high priced big names. Since 2001 they have drafted a whopping total 3 offence linemen.
Therein lies the problem. That Joe Gibbs took them to the playoffs twice in his 2nd tenure, is testament to how great a coach Joe Gibbs was. Marty, Norv, Spurrier, and now Zorn cannot all be wrong and so bad.
It starts with the guy who brought us Dieon Sanders and Jeff George and sent Brad Johnson and Brian Mitchell packing.
We may never know if Zorn would have been a good coach, because Danny and Vinny never gave the man a chance.. not with this bunch of players. We have no offence line; our running back is done (sorry Portis); a couple of decent players... we are the team that fans check off as a win when the NFL releases its schedule. Danny is Abe Pollin... Take a cue from Ted Leonsis Danny and get a good coach and use the draft and then step back. Please, or else many of us will make the switch to the Ravens or another team.
While you are at it.. get rid of Larry Michael. Clean house Danny boy.

Posted by: mrahaman | October 20, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Number of NFC East running backs that would have scored on Portis's 78 yard run: 7.
Westbrook, McCoy, Jacobs, Bradshaw, Barber, Jones, Choice.

Posted by: DCUMD | October 20, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Bring on Jeff Fisher....

Posted by: dimatuma | October 20, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget how well Snyder treated the office staff when he first became owner, he fired most of them!

Posted by: robthrt | October 20, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jpfterps | October 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Zorn can't "retire" like Deion and keep the money lol

Snyder has got to be feeling like the promiscous girl in high school... he's given "it" up to the studs (Deion, Bruce Smith, Stubblefield, Haynesworth) and let a couple nice guys/losers get lucky (Zorn and that safety he overpaid like 5 years ago-I think I've purged him from memory now) but he still can't find any love lolol

Posted by: AJohn1 | October 20, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

well... we can now say... when this sherm lewis feature goes down, Vinny will go down with it. This is totally on Vinny and Snyder will have to make a move with Vinny.

Posted by: dimatuma | October 20, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I will be so glad when this is over and Jim can move on with his career and life. Hopefully it will be very soon for his sake and his family's.

It is clear that Snyder wants someone else to coach this team. That is fine and it is his team to run. But nobody, and I mean nobody, deserves to be treated the way Jim has been by Snyder and Cerrato. I don't care how much financially a person is compensated for their position it makes no difference. People should be treated with a level of respect because they deserve that and because they are human. But I am not surprised at all. When you have a man who has absolutely no character and no integrity like Daniel Snyder overseeing the organization this is exactly what is to be expected. His track record of how he treats people clearly demonstrates that consistently time and time again.

Snyder is like so many(not all) people out there in business, politics, sports, etc., that are or have been successful. Yes, they work hard and are very intelligent. But they are also in many cases pragmitists who believe the ends justify whatever means to achieve their goals. They use manipuilation, deception and flat out lies in the course of doing business and living their lives. And what makes it even worse is that people like Snyder wrap their ethically and morally bankrupt approach to life up in veneer of respectibility by appearing to be a "good" person by all the philathranpic endeavors they do or the money they throw around for different causes. That is nice but it does not make up for the other things that are done to others that are clearly wrong. At this point after what he has done over the last 10 years to former employees of this organization no one can claim ignorance of this man's dealing or ways if they choose to be involved with him in any way.

Cerrato is no better. He chooses to have a close relationship with a man like this and work for him. Clearly these 2 are much alike in there approach to how things should be done and Cerrato has no problem with it at all. After his comment to Jim about "strongly suggesting" that he give up the play calling duties makes me wonder(in a comical way to some degree) if he thinks is working for a NFL owner/business man or a mafia boss with the way he worded that. At this rate maybe Jim will end up with a horses head in his bed before he is let go. This guy is just piece of work. I hope in the end he gets canned.

As I said earlier I hope this is over real soon for Jim. He is a good man who deserves to be treated far, far better than he is. Yes, he has had his struggles and the team has struggled as well. But nothing justifies how he is being hung out to dry like this. Since Snyder does not want him he should just let him go and move on. But as we have clearly seen he is not capable of that. That requires character and decency. Which Snyder has clearly shown he has neither of.

Posted by: afriendofzorn | October 20, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Zorn has 4.5 million reasons to not quit.

Posted by: tundey | October 20, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Monday night stadium fans you know the chant:
Make it loud and make it clear. Let's embarrass Snyder on national TV

Posted by: sickaboutit | October 20, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I really feel for Zorn. I don't think he should be the head coach here, but he didn't earn this treatment from Snyder. But I'm glad he didn't quit, for two reasons.

1) The money. Zorn has earned every cent of what Snyder will have to pay him. I never begrudge people for taking the money, you are worth exactly what someone is willing to pay you. Besides, Snyder doesn't care about the sum he has to pay Zorn, so take it and move on when it's time.

2) If Zorn were to quit, the Snyder PR machine, to include everyone who works for him and/or has sat in his box on game day, e.g., Larry Michael/George Michael/Kevin Sheehan/John Thompson/Tony Kornheiser/Larry Weisman/Vinny Cerrato, will immediately carry out their orders to trash Zorn and place the blame for the team's woes squarely on Zorn's shoulders. When Snyder fires Zorn, it will be tacit admission that Snyder and Cerrato made a mistake in hiring him in the first place. Even though Snyder will deny it and spin it otherwise, of course.

Posted by: rooster75 | October 21, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

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