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Coaching Comparisons

Without a doubt, the issue of Jim Zorn vs. Joe Gibbs will come up throughout the season. It's inevitable that comparison are made from one regime to the next, particularly when you are going from a Hall of Fame head coach at the end of his career to a first-time head coach who has never been a coordinator before; from what was an aged offensive staff to what is now a relatively inexperienced offensive staff (in terms of years spent as coordinators or head coaches).

I got a bunch of questions to this end during a web chat yesterday and anticipate more to come as the season rolls along. In talking to people at Redskins Park, from coaches to players to others, there is a pervasive feeling that the vibe is a little looser, more relaxed. Gibbs had a tendency to get tense and tight, particularly as Sunday approached, going to great pains not to boast too much about his team, often deferring to opponents and saying this next game was going to be "the biggest of my coaching career."

There was a lack of swagger, it seemed - defensive players in particular often privately bristled about Gibbs's tone of voice most weeks, in the way he talked up the opposition. Now, it's still ridiculously early in Zorn's tenure, and no one knows how the dude is gonna react when this puppy gets going for real and games and seasons are on the line. But so far one thing that has impressed others is his cool confidence.

"He's very calm, very under control," one staff member said. "There's no crisis every day. Jim doesn't treat every situation like it's a crisis."

Again, I'm sure Zorn's traits will evolve over time, and all will be watching closely to see how he handles the sidelines on game day, if he gets rattled, if he experiences some of the varied game-management issues that dogged Gibbs in his second go-round. But even as defensive ends were dropping all over the place Sunday morning, Zorn was steadfast. He wasn't making excuses - no hint of "woe is me" in his voice - or asking fans to pray for his team. He just continued to project a positive demeanor and outlook despite the setback.

By Jason La Canfora  |  July 22, 2008; 7:49 AM ET
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Next: Jason Taylor - No. 55 In Your Program ... (Updated)



Posted by: etrod | July 22, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Greetings, etrod.

Posted by: Cindy | July 22, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Hello lady!

--The ultimate pickup line courtesy of Fezzik from the Princess Bride.

Posted by: etrod | July 22, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Greetings TheCindy!

Posted by: Redcoat | July 22, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I've often thought of how Coach Gibbs' paranoia affected his players and there always seemed to be a lack of swagger to the offense. Especially compared to the defense under double g.

I hope to see a little 'Here it comes, try and stop it' this season from the Offense.

Posted by: etrod | July 22, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Redcoat, hola! Has the gang up here noted your recent conversion and suitably welcomed you?

Posted by: Cindy | July 22, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Well you know what they say, you don't want to be the guy after 'The Guy', you want to be the guy after the guy after 'The Guy".

And anyway, was Joe 2.0 'The Guy'?

Posted by: kost52 | July 22, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

My sense is that Gibbs really was caught in a time warp. I recall an NFL coach telling me and other staffers (neither of the Jasons, if you're wondering), that the big difference was in the players as people, that that would be the thing that would be so different and disconcerting for Gibbs. He didn't doubt that Gibbs could adjust, or so he said. He wasn't the type of guy to shoot down Joe Gibbs before he had coached a game again.

Posted by: Cindy | July 22, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Not yet. The Skins have certainly moved waaay up in my list of favo(u)rite things. All the way to 'nth' place in fact.

Current Rankings:

$. Mrs Redcoat (2.0)
h. The kids
9. The Miami Dauphins
u. TheCindy

... and then on to ...

(. Man. Untied
2. Cheese (all kinds)
*. Bright copper kettles
n. The Washington Redskins (as long as JT is here)
@. Schnitzel with noodles


Posted by: Redcoat | July 22, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm...the guy after the guy after the guy...Norv, Marty, the ol' ball coach, Gibbs....I think we're up to five guys. (This is in no way an endorsement of any hamburger franchise. Each, in its own way, offers a tasty burger.)

Posted by: Cindy | July 22, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I weep with joy to be placed ahead of Man U.

Posted by: Cindy | July 22, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I gotta believe that Zorn's fresh perspective will be a good thing for the Redskins...maybe not this year but soon

Posted by: Cheyenne, WY | July 22, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I am looking for, and not finding, a reaction from Blache regarding the Daniels-Taylor situation.

Are there any soundbites from Blache?

Posted by: SCSkins | July 22, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

"He'll be a good addition because he fits the type of guy we look for here," defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. "He's got the M.O. of a real nasty guy that plays the game for 60 minutes."

Blache said he has yet to finalize how he will fully use him, but Taylor is planning to move to the left side, with Carter staying on the right.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 22, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I weep with joy to be placed ahead of Man U.

Posted by: Cindy | July 22, 2008 8:21 AM

What can I say? You've typed your way into my affections. :)

It sounds to me like Zorn has his head screwed on right. Whether he turns out to be a good coach or not, he should certainly be a good leader.

Posted by: Redcoat | July 22, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes, a new coach can make all the difference. Look at Tampa Bay with Gruden replacing Dungy (certainly Gruden was far more seasoned than Zorn, but still ... ) or, for that matter, Joe Torre replacing Little Bucky Showalter. I saw firsthand was a difference that made to players. He was somebody they could talk to, who wasn't always all keyed up. Very interesting.

Posted by: Cindy | July 22, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

beep beep say hello to no. 55

Posted by: Cindy | July 22, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

As an irrational fan, I can say that I'm confident in this team, more so than the Gibbs 2.0 years.

My rational mind sites the unknowns associated with regime change, but my overall feeling is positive. And with the addition of Taylor that has only increased.

I think the dual DE's in New York was really the reason they won the superbowl. So feed a little logic to my irrational side and it's talking SUPERBOWL!

So the part of me that thinks he's Korny is starting the imaginary bandwagon.

I welcome everyone to virutally climb aboard.... or a broad, whichever you prefer.

Posted by: Dik | July 22, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Speaking from just a football point of view,strictly X's and O's,I am now pissed about not having #21 around.He and Landry were supposed to make receivers pissed themselves for at least the next decade.Yeah I might sound a bit selfish,but I doubt that I'm the only one who would have wanted to see what may have become the greatest safety duo of all-time,right in our backyard.

Posted by: dawglbs | July 22, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse


I was thinking the same thing. Nobody would gain a yard on our defense if we still had ST21 along with Jason Taylor.

Posted by: Jimmy | July 22, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Great we have the willie randolph of football coaches.

Posted by: prob | July 22, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a Christian, but let's not beat up Gibbs for asking the fans to pray for his team if a player is injured or if the team is dealing with a crisis or bad luck. Some people draw strength from prayer so let's not belittle that.

Posted by: Baller4Life | July 22, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Redskins Defensive Coordinator Greg Blache

On the acquisition of Jason Taylor:

"You have to be excited to get a guy that's been a six-time Pro Bowler, a guy with his capability, personality and background. I think he will be a good addition to our locker room. I think he will be a good addition to our football team."

On the loss of Phillip Daniels:

"It is a huge loss. When you lose a guy like Phillip Daniels you lose not just a player, but you lose the man, you lose the leader and you lose a friend. I think that it is one of the hardest things I've had to deal with. We will overcome it. The players will overcome it, but at the same time it is one of the difficult things I have ever had to deal with."

On how he is dealing with the injury to Phillip Daniels:

"He has worked so hard this offseason. The real tragedy is the injury, but also the amount of effort and work he has put into being here this year to try and win a championship. To see him go down the very first day was very difficult. The more you know this man the harder it is to accept. He brings so much to the table, to his teammates and into the locker room. He is so unselfish."

On the news of Jason Taylor coming to the Redskins:

"His tenacity [is impressive]. He has a great motor and plays the game with a passion. He goes one hundred percent. He has toughness. He is a total football player that plays the run and rushes the passer. He will be a good addition because he fits the type of guy we look for here. He has the MO of a real nasty guy that plays the game for sixty minutes."

On the pairing of Jason Taylor and Andre Carter:

"It is going to create some problems on offense. One compliments the other and I think that it will be a new dimension for us. It is one that we are excited about and we are looking forward to working on. Once we get him in we will go to work on it and see what is best for them and us. We will come up with a recipe that will hopefully give us the success that we are looking for."

On the ability that Jason Taylor has to stop the run:

"He is still very strong. He is a tough and disciplined player. I think he is savvy and strong enough. We will find out as we go into the season. Obviously, we felt strongly enough about

Posted by: rickmort | July 22, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Gibbs team made the playoffs 2 of the past three seasons. Compare Zorn to that, not personality, there is no set formula for winning. Walsh, Gibbs, Landry, Belchick, J Johnson, Shanahan etc all have different styles, all have won multiple super bowls, you can't predict success by personality or coaching style period.

Posted by: Cabraman | July 22, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

After attending two camp practices I noticed how involved Zorn is with the players, especially the QB's. He actually runs a lot of the drills and gives feedback after every play.

Where Gibbs would slowly pace the field and observe quietly with his arms crossed.

Two different styls, two different people...only time will tell.

Posted by: the_squire | July 22, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Thanks rickmort and anon.

Posted by: SCSkins | July 22, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

give me a break, Jason...most coaches in the NFL play the "woe is me game"...Belichick, Andy Reid, etc. It's a bunch of garbage if folks think that Gibbs' attitude hurt the Skins.

Posted by: Big Skinboy | July 22, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Hey whadda know--people are different.

Posted by: What Who? | July 22, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Gibbs always...always pumped up his opponents so that his players wouldn't get big heads going into the game. I believe that super bowl against the Raiders stayed with him for life, which it should have.

His paranoia earned him 3 Super Bowls and a bust in Canton. Also as a person of faith, I find nothing wrong with asking fans of faith to pray for the health of injured players.

When you start believing the hype and thinking you're the man, you get shown the boy you really are fairly quickly.

Posted by: C-MAC | July 22, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Note to Zorn: Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 22, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"He just continued to project a positive demeanor and outlook despite the setback."

Um, that's what Gibbs did,too.

Posted by: d | July 22, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

OK OK OK!!!! This is stupid...I am not going to sit here and compare a new young coach with Gibbs and then read about how much better things are without him...


Posted by: Leevi98 | July 22, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

While I am optimistic about Zorn, we really can't tell how good he is until he faces a crisis (either football or non-football related.) Say what you want about Gibbs, but getting the team to make the playoffs after the Sean Taylor tragedy has to be some of the finest coaching (and leadership) ever.

In my opinion, you can't compare the two guys yet.

Posted by: G in Richmond | July 22, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I have known Jim for 20 years and I followed his career the whole time as a player to where he is today. If given the time Jim should be an excellent head coach. But with him working for a man like Daniel Snyder in my opinion there will always be uncertainty of how much support he will truly receive.

As far as the comparisons go between Jim and Joe Gibbs it is human nature to do that. But these men are different in many ways and Jim is more different than any of his 31 other peers in the league. Jim goes about his life and career much differently than alot of them do. So expect things to be done differently and his approaches to be unique at times. So compare to the 2 men really makes no sense at all.

But here is the thing that surprises me to some degree. Some of the comments that have been about Joe Gibbs by players and people around that organization in recent months. I realize that he didn't go back to the SB his second time around. But some off the critisim has been surprising. After what that man gave your city and organization that to me is disappointing but not surprising either. People have short memories.

Posted by: afriendofzorn | July 23, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

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