Zorn's final press conference: denial + insight
I think I might have just watched Jim Zorn's final press conference as Redskins head coach. Just as his final game had all the elements of the Zorn era -- wasted timeouts, blown leads, dropped interceptions, ill-timed penalties, an exciting finish that benefited the wrong team and a failed last-ditch effort -- so, too, was his final press conference a classic example of the Zorn genre. One to remember.
He started by thanking the media and his players and acknowledging this has been a hard season for them--classy.
He continued by refusing to address rumors about his future and insisting he was proceeding as if he'll be the head coach here next year--delusional.
He refused to take a softball question and turn it into unmitigated praise for Jason Campbell, and instead sort of took a veiled shot at the quarterback--unflinchingly honest.
He compared this failed Redskins team--a team that had just lost to a bunch of reserves--to the Seahawks team the year before they advanced to the Super Bowl--insane.
And he concluded with a heartfelt and touching response when asked whether he had gotten a fair shake in D.C.
"You've got to understand, in my world, nothing has to be fair," Zorn said. "You see what I mean? It's not up to me. So it's not about fairness. Because I could just whine about how uncomfortable everything is. That is not productive. I don't live in a world where I think everything has to be fair or dealt fairly or whatever, because it's not that way for anybody, to be honest with you. It's not that way for our players. Everybody gets mad about it, but that's just not the way it is."
So as always, you're not sure quite what emotion you should be feeling for this man: awe, pity, scorn, admiration, or maybe all of those at once. He definitely kept things interesting for two years. Some other quotes from what might have been his last trip to the mic.
On reports of his imminent firing: "Really? I had no indication of that, and I would not even comment on that. There's a lot of things I'm sure out there as far as stories, there already has been, I get that, but I'm working on our team meeting, I'm working on our offseason schedule. And until I'm told [otherwise], I'm getting ready."
On if he'd rather he find out now: "Again, I'm still reeling from this loss, anything that I say about what my future might be here would just be just babbling along here. So I'm just gonna be forthright and ask and kind of get things moving, but I certainly want to be the head coach here."
On the season: "It's the way it is. It's the nature of the NFL. And that's what makes it so exciting, it really is. It's very compelling."
On his players: "I want to thank all our players publicly, even in this last effort, because they do fight hard, they did play hard today, and our coaches work hard to put them in the best possible position. There was nothing that kept us from losing that football game except ourselves, and that's the most disappointing thing, even though the effort is there."
(He meant "from winning that football game," but he definitely said losing.)
On why he deserves that job: "I'm not gonna talk about, just that whole speculation again, because I'd have a lot to say, not just a little bit. But I'll wait. I'll wait. Because it would be just idle chatter."
On the repeated close losses: "Every game was exciting. I think we competed every game except maybe that Giants game, and some of that Dallas game, it got out of hand. But we gave ourselves a chance to win a lot of the games. So I kind of reflect on how this has been with my experiences in the past, and when you lose close games like this, any one or two, less than a handful of plays flip the game the other way, ok? And I know that in 2004 when I was in Seattle, it was exactly like this. We were losing the close games. Now I don't think we were 4-12, but we were losing a lot of games that just were determined by a few plays. In 2005 if was almost identical struggle, but we were winning those games on those two or three plays and we ended up going to the Super Bowl, so that's how close this team is, and I have said this before about the progress the team's making."
On Jason Campbell: "I thought he improved himself this year. He was our quarterback this year. He has a chance to still be the QB. He played well in this final game. Can he improve? Absolutely, but I could say that about everybody, and that's what we do as players is get better each year. So if he's allowed to be the QB here next year, he'll get better, because he'll work at it, and he'll become stronger. He became a better QB because of this football season. I just continue to think that he's gonna improve his game. Everybody wants to know, is he a franchise quarterback, and he didn't prove that at this particular point in his career with what he was doing, but he's certainly a starter in this league, an improving starter, and he plays in a courageous fashion."
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