Players know Zorn doesn't have total control
I've made a pledge that this week won't be all about transcribed Redskins interviews, and in fact right now I'm on my way to Wizards practice to do some actual work about a team with an actual winning record. But I ran out of time last week before I could post some interesting thoughts from Skins offensive coordinator Sherm "Not That Sherm" Smith, so here they are.
Smith's weekly interview with Comcast SportsNet's Kelli Johnson again touched on the decision to yank the play-calling duties from Jim Zorn, and while these are all things you'd have been able to surmise on your own, it's kind of interesting to hear a coach say them on the record.
"There's a problem, so how do we fix the problem?" Smith said of the offensive malaise. "We've tried to fix it in many different ways: bring in a consultant, have him call plays, all that other stuff. I think it's a distraction. You know, I think you stay true to the course, and if you believe you're doing the right stuff, you just stay consistent and keep emphasizing it. But we want to make changes, so I think when you do that, it's a distraction."
This "we" in "we want to make changes," I think, doesn't necessarily include members of the coaching staff. In other words, it seems like staff morale is probably pretty high.
"Does it affect Jim Zorn's ability to lead this team?" Johnson asked. "Because I know, talking to some of the players, when Joe Gibbs was here, there was no question. He was in control. He was calling the shots. Is there an effect there?"
"Well, it has to be, I think, when guys know that a guy doesn't have total control," Smith said. "I mean, no one has total control except God himself. But control of the football team, the decisions that impact how we do things as far as the Redskins are concerned, [yeah], I think it affects you. Guys know that he's not the bottom line, so I think it affects how he leads in some manners. But I think guys still respect him and understand he's doing the best that he can under the circumstances."
"Not the bottom line;" that's a hell of a line you could use on your head coaching resume, huh? As is "best that he can under the circumstances."
"How hard has this been on Jim Zorn?" Johnson finally asked. "I mean, you're probably one of the closest to him. Going through this and helping him manage with the new play-calling duties?"
"Well, you know, it's hard, because I think he has a great deal of pride," Smith said. "And I think people that are successful in what they do do have--not the wrong kind of pride--but the type of pride that I do a good job. And I think he feels like he's been told, 'You weren't doing a good job,' and he felt that he was doing a good job.
"And so to have that responsibility taken away from you, it hurts. It would hurt anybody. It would be like telling a person, 'Ok, you're running a team, but you don't get to make any decisions. I'll tell you the decisions that you can make.' So I think he just feels that way, so he feels he wasn't the problem, it wasn't the play-calling, and I think that's disappointing."
Man, it really is time to move on to the Caps and Wizards; just reading these quotes makes me sad all over again.
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