Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: dcsportsbog and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

More players on Shanahan vs. Zorn

Through his first five games with the Redskins, Mike Shanahan is 3-2. Jim Zorn was 4-1.

Through his first five games with the Redskins, Mike Shanahan is 3-1 in games decided by seven points or less. Jim Zorn was 4-0 in such games.

We're all tripping over each other to write awesome things about Shanahan's influence right now, and deservedly so. Players say it, fans say it, opponents say it, announcers say it. If you watch games on television, it feels different. But still. Here are some things that were written about Zorn after the 4-1 start in 2008.

Mike Wise: Did we mention the Redskins, barring a major injury, are going back to the playoffs? They are, and I don't want to hear anything to the contrary after this surreal 4-1 start....There is no road to oblivion here; just a nice, healthy team with a good mix of kids and old heads, who are being led by an ultra-intense guy who didn't turn out to be Lane Kiffin, after all....Mindful coaching. Conscious play-calling. Or, the spirit of the franchise's times, which now should be referred to as, "Zorngeist." Approachable, likable, open and quotable, he's the anti-Belichick....In hindsight, Jim Zorn, the 55-year-old rookie head coach who walked off the field victorious again, had a lot more Roy Hobbs in him than we figured.

Thomas Boswell: Each week, the Washington Redskins continue the dazzling process of discovering who they are while simultaneously amazing everybody else....Now, with back-to-back wins on the road against NFC East foes, something no Washington team has done since the '87 Super Bowl champs, the Redskins of Jim Zorn are coming into focus fast. They're an 18-wheeler. You're not....No matter what the season brings, few Sundays will match the last two weeks with bare-knuckle wins over old foes and the fresh air of a new coach....Things may work out better for him in a headset than they ever did in a helmet.

Barry Svrluga: If there is one element that defines Washington's unexpected run to four victories in its first five games, it is the decision-making of the rookie head coach, the man in the headset who must determine which plays to run and when to run them. In replacing Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, whose critics often accused him of predictable and conservative play-calling, Zorn has delighted his team and confounded opponents, thus far, with an aggressive mix. His own offensive players said they often have little idea what to expect at a given moment. How, then, could defenses?

USA Today: In Washington, Redskins players have responded to Zorn's likeable demeanor. Yet underneath that folksy facade is an intense football man. Zorn, as he admits, is hands-on. Quarterback Jason Campbell has prospered in Zorn's version of the West Coast offense, which in turn has made running back Clinton Portis, the NFL's No.2 rusher, a valuable commodity again.

New York Times: Everybody has to worry about the Redskins now. One week after they stunned the Cowboys in Dallas, the Redskins served notice with a 23-17 victory over the Eagles that the brutal National Football Conference East may still send three teams to the playoffs....Campbell jokingly asked his coach, a former quarterback, if he wanted to take Campbell's pads and go into the game. Zorn replied, ''I've got to get ready, too.'' So should the rest of the N.F.L.

And so on. But jeez, that actually wasn't what I was trying to write here at all. Seriously. I was trying to link to Jason Reid's On Football column from Wednesday morning about the change in spirits ushered in by Shanahan and McNabb. Reid and Svrluga quoted many players about the obvious differences between this year and last; here are some more.

Phillip Daniels, on the Junkies: "It's a different feel, man. Coach Shanahan's a guy that's been there, he's won Super Bowls, guys believe in him, and that's the difference right there. Nothing against Coach Zorn, but he came in, they gave him two titles, he was the offensive coordinator and head coach, and that was a lot on his plate for a first-time guy. I can't say that he wouldn't have improved the team and got better if he had a longer term. I don't know. I just think that guys here believe in Coach Shanahan and what he's doing. He's a straightforward guy, he comes in and he lets us know what we need to do. His speeches are not long and they're not crazy, they just get you pumped to go play, and that's the difference."

Reed Doughty, in the locker room: "There's just a change in attitude. I really feel like when there's four minutes left in the game and it's a tight game, it's not whooo, here we go again, it's ok, we've been here before, we can do this. In years past, it might have been an attitude of it's gonna be tough, we might not do it."

Casey Rabach, in the locker room: "I just think it's the whole new atmosphere around here. It's what Coach Shanahan brings to it, it's what the players in this locker room, the character in this locker room bring to it. I just think we have confidence in this system and confidence in each other. When the chips get down, in the past, we'd kind of cash it in, but now we're finding ways to win games."

And trust me, reading over that early 2008 stuff, I was a worse offender than anyone. It makes me not want to write anything definitive ever again. Just mush out of me from here on out.

By Dan Steinberg  | October 13, 2010; 9:42 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Eric Fehr's 6,000-calorie diet
Next: DeAngelo Hall compares Ovechkin to Landry

Comments

Wait, so what you're saying is that when a team is winning people praise the coaches and players but when they are losing they don't?!?

Posted by: dalison | October 13, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Dan. If you are going to bring up the 4-1 start under Jim Zorn in 2008, then just say it. Say what we are all thinking.

Mother f*@&ing Pete Kendall.

Posted by: goose33 | October 13, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

This is actually a GREAT post. Those lines from the Wise and Boswell columns are amazing to read in retrospect. Skin fans should really think about how rosy things were in Zorns early days and take the recent success with a grain of salt. Nothing matters until they put together a full winning, playoff reaching season. And if McNabb doesn't get an extension (a very real possibility)....ughhh.

Posted by: dbunkr | October 13, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

1996: 7-1 Record, No playoffs;
2000: 6-2 Record, No playoffs;
2008: 6-2 Record, No playoffs....

I think we all know how this ends.

Posted by: Scoonie97 | October 13, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

just another thing i thought of...i remember looking at this a little cautiously at the time.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/dr_z/10/01/prs/

SI's Week 5 power rankings from 2008.

Posted by: bacaje | October 13, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

dbunkr,
Absolutely, gotta "stay medium." It's easy to get carried away this early, for better or worse. But the reality is we don't know how this team compares with previous years until all 16 games are up. Period.

Posted by: pgugino | October 13, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

@ pgugino:

Exactly.

Posted by: dbunkr | October 13, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The difference is Shanahan has kicked their sorry butts and thrown down the gauntlet. Danny would never have allowed Zorn to do the same, even if he was inclined to do so. Just wait until the losing begins after McHurt is injured. Then, let's see what we say, eh?

Posted by: KDSmallJr | October 13, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Hmm okay in the end its very simple almost too simple people.

They are right now 2 wins and 0 losses in the NFC Eastern Division. That puts them in first place right now. They still have four more games in the division. The teams that went to the playoffs and excelled always either won ***ALL*** of those games or maybe lost only one ... two at the most and that's pushing it. That's usually the key. This Sunday's game is relatively meaningless as an inter-conference affair. The Giants games will be critical.

That's what you watch with this team. How well they perform in the NFC East. And with no running game to speak of ... with Portis about to follow Johnson out the door ... and a rushing defense that really relies on having Albert Haynesworth in the game ... and helps the pass defense immensely as well ... with an OL that's still patchwork ... with a defense, its coaches and players still learning to implement a brand new flex 4-3/3-4 defense?

I don't know ... its awfully early to be making comparisons or for raising expectations. Given the situation they have done remarkably well.

Posted by: periculum | October 13, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I have been a Redskin fan for over 4 decades and I must point out that this has been the luckiest Redskin team I have ever seen. I love the wins, but deep inside every one of us knows we are just a bounce away from 0 and 5 as a record.

Unlike Zorn's fast start I feel that this team will actually get better over the course of this season and next. Being an incredibly old football team, we will be seeing at least 25% of the roster change over each of next two seasons. Now if we only had stockpiled draft picks....

Posted by: driley | October 13, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree - everyone was slurping Zorn after that early season Philly away game win, slurping all the way through 6-2.

Good job!

Posted by: hithere1 | October 13, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Please no more Redskin articles with the name Jim Zorn in it, comparing him to this, that, or the other. He is in Baltimore doing a great job at what he does best. Here in Washington he was a victim of Snyderization, shoved into a job he didn't ask for and couldn't turn down (or be out of a job completely). Stop writing articles bad mouthing the guy just so you have something to write about. If you can't find current, up-to-date material...leave the page blank!

Posted by: footballfreak | October 13, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

1996: 7-1 Record, No playoffs;
2000: 6-2 Record, No playoffs;
2008: 6-2 Record, No playoffs....

I think we all know how this ends.

Posted by: Scoonie97 | October 13, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Well I guess since it is such a foregone conclusion that early season success automatically means no playoffs at the end of the year, we might as well start losing games now to help our chances later on.

1999: 0-1 Record, playoffs
2005: 5-6 Record, playoffs
2007: 5-7 Record, playoffs

Posted by: Barno1 | October 13, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

This article is a classic example of the pathetic quality of sports writers. Mike Wise is at the top of the list as head idiot. The Redskins at best are a .500 team +/- 1. We have no consistent pass rush, play the 3-4 with low quality 4-3 personnel, no running game, and 1 good WR.

Yes, I believe we are on the right track but there is no way I drinking the Kool Aid. Shanny is at least 2 drafts away from having a consistent, quality team that can compete. And they better sign McNabb to an extension quick.

Posted by: neil64 | October 13, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Way to bring down the proverbial room Steinz. But honestly, there is no one in the world who would compare the way Shanahan does things to the way Zorn did. It hasn't been a pretty start but if you look at the way Zorn's reign ended Shanahan has had a ridiculous amount of work to do. I think most people have confidence that it will only get better...if not this year, then next.

Posted by: JulzDC | October 13, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"We have no consistent pass rush, play the 3-4 with low quality 4-3 personnel, no running game, and 1 good WR.

"there is no way I drinking the Kool Aid. Shanny is at least 2 drafts away from having a consistent, quality team that can compete."

Posted by: neil64 | October 13, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Real Men of Genius

Today we salute you, Mr. I-Don't-Enjoy-It-When-My-Team-Wins-Guy. (Mr. I-Don't-Enjoy-It-When-My-Team-Winssss-Guy!) Unlike most fans, you know that a win is not a win, unless it's by 65 points or more. While everyone around you is celebrating, you know that your team isn't winning the next 5 championships, so what's the point of even getting excited (Oh I hate my life!). So get on the blogs and demand new coaches and players after every win, and drink up an ice cold bud light as we salute you....Mr. I-Don't-Enjoy-It-When-My-Team-Wins-Guy.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 13, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

i will add this one caveat to all this: zorn was a qb coach who was (accidentally) promoted to a head coaching position.

shanahan has a proven record as a head coach, going to the playoffs 7 times in 13 years as head coach of the broncos (obviously with back-to-back super bowl victories as well).

that's enough of a difference for me to feel more confident about shanahan.

Posted by: bacaje | October 13, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

typical stupid post by steiny. shanahan has a track record. zorn was getting lucky

Posted by: slim4 | October 13, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

typical stupid post by steiny. shanahan has a track record. zorn was getting lucky

Posted by: slim4 | October 13, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

The 2008 second half collapse had more to do with the offensive line completely falling apart due to injuries than anything else. I'm not comparing Zorn to a future HOF coach but he clearly did a good job with the Skins when we actually had a healthy O line. When the line fell apart, so did the team.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 13, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

We have just as much of a chance of going 6 - 10 than 10 - 6. But this ain't 2008 that's for damn sure.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | October 13, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm feeling pretty confident that we go into the bye above .500. After that, it'll be a battle for .500 on the season. If we reach that mark, I think that's outstanding progress from the abyss into which Vinny and and active Danny sunk us.

Looking forward to the 2012 season!

Posted by: fr3dmars | October 13, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, Mr. Steinberg! This is a strange year in the NFL. I saw power rankings that gave the 'Skins as high a ranking as #8. Don't forget; the only game this team was in that did not involve the final play was when they got crushed by the Rams.
The defense is ranked 32. Spin it any way you want; that's bad.
The '09 Redskins scored 20 or more points 5 times in '09; the '10 'Skins, through 5 games, have scored 20 or more points once.
Now, the only difference is that after a 4-12 campaign, 3 wins in the first five games is pretty good. Also, it's one of those years where the 'Skins can compete and defeat anyone, which gives us hope.
Too much hope, though, will crush a person when they start losing the close ones.

Everyone should be happy with 8-8.

Posted by: joedavis7 | October 13, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

7-9 at best this year, and we should be thankful for that. As much as I'd love to dream about a position in the post this year, unless we are extremely LUCKY, won't happen. We lack the consistency and, and quite frankly, the talent to do so. Give Shanny 2 more seasons and drafts to build on. 2012 if not lock out, 2013 if a lockout before we have a legit shot not only at a post spot, but the Lombardi.

HTTR!!!

Posted by: Southernbelle_aurora | October 13, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

The defense is ranked 32 because of a fluky overtime game against Houston. If you remove that game, we are in the middle of the pack statistically in yards allowed per game, and literally tops in the NFL in points per game. That was also a fluky game for us offensively as well, as McNabb put up career numbers.

Make no mistake about it, our defense may have a totally different style now, but it is still one of the top 10 defenses in the national football league (which it has been in 9 of the last 11 years).

Posted by: Barno1 | October 13, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I think Zorn got funky when things started to look REAL bad his second year. Heck, even Vinnie and Danny got funky, bringing Sherman "Bingo" Smith in to call plays... I mean, just the Run plays... Or was it the Pass plays?

Zorn tried a lot, but he didn't expose the REAL problem in the press. Some might think that's a good thing, I don't. Especially when he suddenly becomes "Zoron" behind it.

The difference between now and then is players. Our O Line is... well, not great. But it's deeper. Our QB has a chip on his shoulder and can play behind a second-string O Line with some success... Plus, he's experienced and pretty damn talented.

Our wideouts are still a question mark. Many question marks, actually. But, we keep taking shots downfield, we still have Moss and Cooley (which Zorn didn't most of last year), and we've got veterans fighting for playing time.

Clinton Portis seems to have a fork growing out of his back, but we've got some young guys who are hungry. In this regard, I give Zorn's RBs the edge.

But, basically, it's the SuperBowl Ring that does most of the talking. Shanahan is a proven quantity. Zorn was not.

I dont feel like we're just waiting to see how this thing goes, as was the case with Zorn, who seemed as surprised as anyone when we started 6-2 and Campbell hadn't thrown a pic. I feel like, right now, if we lost our entire O Line because they were all lost at sea, Shanahan would come up with something to maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses.

He would adapt.

I think.

At least, I hope.

Posted by: Thinker_ | October 14, 2010 5:23 AM | Report abuse

"The defense is ranked 32 because of a fluky overtime game against Houston. If you remove that game, we are in the middle of the pack statistically in yards allowed per game, and literally tops in the NFL in points per game. That was also a fluky game for us offensively as well, as McNabb put up career numbers."

Posted by: Barno1 | October 13, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse


I went back and looked at the numbers; without that game we'd be giving up 381yds per game, good enough for 27th in the league. Not really middle of the pack.

PS -- "Today we salute you, Mr. I-Don't-Enjoy-It-When-My-Team-Wins-Guy." <-- genius :)

Posted by: joedavis7 | October 14, 2010 5:43 AM | Report abuse

1996: 7-1 Record, No playoffs;
2000: 6-2 Record, No playoffs;
2008: 6-2 Record, No playoffs....

I think we all know how this ends.

Posted by: Scoonie97 | October 13, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Well I guess since it is such a foregone conclusion that early season success automatically means no playoffs at the end of the year, we might as well start losing games now to help our chances later on.

1999: 0-1 Record, playoffs
2005: 5-6 Record, playoffs
2007: 5-7 Record, playoffs

Posted by: Barno1 | October 13, 2010 12:46 PM |

nice one barno...this is the way we need to think. i like it! not overboard, but optimistic. there really are some pathetic skins fans on this blog that are so pessimistic. our fan base needs to grow up now that dan snyder has. come on lets just support the team and get a reputation as being the most loyal fans in the league. not the whiniest as it stands right now. i don't know if its been harder standing behind the team through almost 20 years of losing ways or hearing people laugh at how much our fan base whines. Toughen up, get loyal, and root em on win or lose. Period.

Posted by: go88car | October 14, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

bye the way, there is nothing wrong with someone giving a sincere analysis of how good or bad they think the team is, but some are just so negative. almost like they are just hoping for something bad to happen so they can say i told ya so. im tired of those fans, go root for the cryboys or ginas.

Posted by: go88car | October 14, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

ok, there's my vent. it had to be done.

Posted by: go88car | October 14, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

What can we conclude from this? Sportwriters are no better than neocons in prediction. You guys were wrong about the Redskins, and neocons were wrong about Iraq. Next.

Posted by: 44fx2901 | October 14, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

typical stupid post by steiny. shanahan has a track record. zorn was getting lucky

Posted by: slim4 | October 13, 2010 2:56 PM

Shanahan was fired in Denver for the Broncos collapse in the second half of the season, much like Zorn experienced in 08. That's part of his track record.

Posted by: Alan4 | October 14, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

is it possible we might lose the remainder of our games?

Posted by: dcjazzman | October 14, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Sheeeeeep! The media has fallen into the hype as often as the sheepish Skins fans have. We are 3-2, and I'm pretty happy about that. I'm not happy about how we won those games, but rather that we did win. I mean I could potentially end up in the ER if we keep having games come down to the last play, but that is what makes me love football. I've been a Skins fan for 26 years. I've learned to recognize the hype during this time. This season is "the hype"! We are no better than we were last year. We are however alot luckier! Can we say that luck is provided to teams who are good? Well you could if you're an idiot. I root for my team, I support my team, I love being a Skins fan! However, I am not a sheep, or even a wolf in sheeps clothing. Wake up people and realize that you're excited about a coach who has a military style of leadership, which keeps him from putting the best players on the field. Zorn wasn't the answer, but neither is Shanahan! McNabb? Seriously? He isn't winning these games for us, he is certainly doing his best to lose them though. You can however, thank Avant for the win over the Eagles, thank Alex Barron for the win over Dallas, and thank Crosby for the win over Green Bay. The Skins have not outright won one game this season! I'm stoked about the 3-2 record, but luck doesn't last forever, at some point you have to start playing football.

Posted by: dwilcox2 | October 14, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I love the Skins, but they are who I think they are! To the sheep out there - I have some really nice property on the moon that I'm looking to sell for a great price. The ROI is expected to be amazing. Baaaaa Baaaaa Baaaaa

Posted by: dwilcox2 | October 14, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It us not fair (to the post) to EVER bring up old Wise columns. Despite his thrilling verbiage, history judges him an idiot. Remember when Wise said that Danny Weurful was the future of the Redskins?

Posted by: Adam_freedman | October 14, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey we are winning and that's what counts! I could care less if we won by half a point! Just win! Be happy you ain't a Niner fan 0-5! It's crazy that fans want thier team to blow everyone out like we are just the most talented team in the league! We may not have the most talent but I'm seeing this team does not quit unlike some Skins rosters in the past! Hail the Skins! Skin Nation!

Posted by: Hi-Def408 | October 14, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company