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Dungy: Why midseason changes rarely work

In an unscientific Redskins Insider poll last week, we asked whether management's endorsement of Jim Zorn made you more or less hopeful going forward. There were more than 3,000 votes, and 62 percent of respondents said they felt no difference and another 21 percent said they were less optimistic.

I can't speak for fan sentiment, but experts say that a midseason coaching change in football rarely is a good thing. I spoke to Tony Dungy, former Colts coach and current NBC analyst, about this very topic last week.

"Any time you make a coaching change, you know you're going to take a step backward to go forward. That's why you usually like to do those things in the offseason," he said. "You take your step backward, evaluate where you're going, understand the new coach's different philosophies and different type of personnel that he's looking for. So you get all of that ironed out when you have the most time to do it. And hopefully you've made progress before the next season starts.

"When you try to do that during the season, it usually doesn't work. Very few - I guess, Marv Levy, I don't know how many games they won the first year, but that was probably the last really successful one and maybe Jeff Fisher built a long stand in Tennessee as well. But it's very hard. It's difficult. As a new coach coming in, you almost have to stay with what they've done anyway and you're not able to implement exactly what you'd want to do. So it usually doesn't change a whole lot of things during that season."

I pointed out that just last season, Mike Singletary took over a struggling 49ers team. It finished 5-4 under Singletary, and he was named permanent head coach after the 49ers beat the Redskins in the season finale.

"In that case, it worked out well," Dungy said. "I think they gave it to Mike on sort of a trial basis and said, 'Hey, this is the right guy, and we are going in the right direction now.' That's probably the best example of one turning out positively."

The growing sentiment seems to be that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder made overtures to an out-of-work coach or two in recent weeks and couldn't get them to take the reins midseason. Dungy said a midseason coaching change makes most sense if you already know who you want.

"If you're going to do it as an owner, it's because you've got the guy in mind and you think you can give him a head start to get the mindset changed and get things going in a new direction," Dungy said. "But most of the times, you don't have that person in mind."

By Rick Maese  |  October 26, 2009; 9:22 AM ET
 
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Next: Campbell puts benching, last week's drama behind him

Comments

I'd make the switch to Dungy in a heartbeat. Too bad he's too classy to ever think of taking the job.

Posted by: Original_etrod | October 26, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

"correction - the Saints DEFENSE only gave up 27 points..

Posted by: charley42"

And they scored 14 themselves on defensive TDs.

Net production -- 13 points by the Miami offense.

Not bad for Grilliams.

Posted by: psps23 | October 26, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I suppose it's overly optimistic to think that the Redskins are now the team that other teams might overlook? And that we might sneak up on someone? Because the rest of the NFL is now understimating them?

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | October 26, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Indy vs New Orleans in the super bowl?

Posted by: skinball77 | October 26, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Again: I'm really interested in how Lewis calls things tonite.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 26, 2009 8:32 AM

So really, its still the basic Zorn playbook ... but maybe with a different sequence to get rhythms? So far, there has clearly been a rhythm getting problem ... arrhythmia?

Question: Is Samuels on the IR yet so that they can activate Marko Mitchell?

At the midpoint here, because everything likely will change in about six weeks, I'd like to take a bow for my offseason pimping about how the Saints were going to rule the roost this season. I'd like to thank the Academy, my agent Vera, and, of course, Eli Manning's Week Six performance (also known as Weak Six).

Though I know that people started committing hari kari up here after the low point margin wins against the Rams and the Buccs, I want to take this opportunity to remind people that a one point win counts as a "W" and such a win tonight would merit sacrifice of a family jewel.

Posted by: dcsween | October 26, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I think to get more insight into that aforementioned poll, you should ask the 83% who felt management's proclamation made no difference or were less optimistic whether or not they actually believe the statement or if they think Vinny is once again lying through his teeth. I would wager that you'll get pretty close to 100% on the lying through his teeth response.

Posted by: walkdwalk | October 26, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

i'd be all for that sb....sigh...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | October 26, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Grilliams should have been named HC at the same press conference Gibbs stepped down. I said it then, last week and will again in two months. Is an egomaniac sure...but rather have that at HC than owner. And IF he had completely failed....guess what...we'd be no worse than we are right now.

And before anyone says "Jacksonville" that was one season where Del Rio obviously didn't let him do his thing. Personality conflict there. And if you are not impressed with the impact that he has had on the Saints, well than maybe Football isn't the sport for you.

Posted by: chrislarry | October 26, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Nothing the Skins do will help this year. Its more a matter of do we want to give someone else a chance to polish this turd midseason or string Zorn out a little longer.

It is hopeless either way.

Posted by: hackeynut | October 26, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

If we do actually want to do a west coast offense I'd try to land C.J. Spiller this year and wait on the QB from Florida State for 2011. Draft a good zone blocking line in the meantime.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | October 26, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"In an unscientific Redskins Insider poll last week, we asked whether management's endorsement of Jim Zorn made you more or less hopeful going forward. There were more than 3,000 votes, and 62 percent of respondents said they felt no difference and another 21 percent said they were less optimistic. ..." -JReid

I think the optimism droppers were keen to note that, when speaking directly to a specific point, Vinny Cerrato has a well-documented history of 180-degree-not-truth-telling.

["Vinny, with Phil Daniel's down, are you interested in Jason Taylor?" Response: "Hold please, I'm on the phone with someone ... OK, what was the question? Oh yeah, interest in Taylor? No, none."]

Posted by: dcsween | October 26, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Tonight we find out if we can still play up to good teams as well as we play down to bad teams.

Posted by: REXskins | October 26, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Did y'all see that Adam Schphincter reported that Snyder refused to back up Vinny's confidence/season vote on Zorn.

Please please please have their fates tied together...PLEASE!

Posted by: chrislarry | October 26, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

And before anyone says "Jacksonville" that was one season where Del Rio obviously didn't let him do his thing. Personality conflict there. And if you are not impressed with the impact that he has had on the Saints, well than maybe Football isn't the sport for you.

Posted by: chrislarry | October 26, 2009 9:47 AM

I doubt that the relationship btwn Grilliams and Del Rio was anything other than very friendly and collegial. It had to have been one of those known known things ... that Del Rio is the defensive play caller and that Grilliams just needed a desk and an email address for one season ... because the Jacksonville vacancy was the last unfilled defensive coordinator position left. Nothing changed in the Jacksonsville defense (except that a few of the vets who had made that defense what it was either retired or left in free agency).

Posted by: dcsween | October 26, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

*** Coffee Flats Alert ***

cL, tough break on the Cards/Giants thing. The day was looking so lovely for you till then.

*** End Coffee Flats Alert ***

Posted by: dcsween | October 26, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Nothing the Skins do will help this year. Its more a matter of do we want to give someone else a chance to polish this turd midseason or string Zorn out a little longer.

It is hopeless either way.

Posted by: hackeynut | October 26, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't see the point in getting rid of Zorn now. The thing that he was bad at was play caliing and he's not doing that anymore. The players like him and he can run the meetings, practices, etc. I like this arrangement. Sherm Lewis can concentrate on building a gameplan and gearing the plays up to our players strengths while Zorn works with Campbell. Divide and conquer. Nothing is going to help this seaosn though. We're boned until we get a new left tackle. I'd like to see 2 tackles, a center, and a playmaker RB in the offseason.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | October 26, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

And that we might sneak up on someone? Because the rest of the NFL is now understimating them?

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | October 26, 2009 9:45 AM

False. Yeah, they think we suck. But they're still overestimating us. There's sucking, and then there's the 2009 Redskins: the Dyson vacuum of sucking. We've actually looked better in the first six games than we really are.

Posted by: League-Source | October 26, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Big Thanks to the Giants for ruining my 20-1 parlay I would have hit:

Pats, Colts, Pack cover
Saints straight up and Over
Giants straight.

Thanks big blue.

Posted by: Rypien11 | October 26, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"...and maybe Jeff Fisher built a long stand in Tennessee as well."

(INSERT image and audio of Moe banging the "Hire Jeff Fisher If He's Fired" drum.)

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 26, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

And regardless of who Snyder has in mind, there's still the issue of whether they actually wan't ti DEAL with us... lol.

Posted by: DikShuttle | October 26, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The jints are in first place in the NFC East, but lost to the Saints/Cards.

The iggles lost to the raiders.

The skins lost to the chiefs, lions, and barely beat the rams.

The boys lost to Denver.

Is the NFC East all that?

Don't think so.

The AFC West might be, though.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 26, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Wow, League, I actually followed that...

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | October 26, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

F Grilliams.

Cood coord, sh*tty HC. Not that we don't have a sh*tty HC, or a good coordinator for that matter, but F Grilliams just the same.

Posted by: Original_etrod | October 26, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

It's going to be a disaster tonight and it breaks my heart. We NEVER win on Monday night - even when we are having decent seasons - and we never win when we are inducting someone (tonight is Brian Mitchell) into the Ring of Honor. When did we last win a MNF game? Wasn't it the Dallas game with Brunell's miracle passes to Santana?

Not to mention, we are a bad team in disarray.

I hope our fans do turn out to support B Mitch - and hopefully not boo and ruin his night.

And I think after we are humiliated and embarrassed on national television tonight, Snyder will decide to fire Vinny but it will happen at seasons end.

Posted by: Lisa_R | October 26, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I hope our fans do turn out to support B Mitch - and hopefully not boo and ruin his night.


Posted by: Lisa_R | October 26, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget that B-mitch played for Philly, too. I forsee a lot of green in the crowd tonight.

I hope the skins go back to the red on red tonight. I'm in the small minority that liked that combo.

Posted by: Original_etrod | October 26, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

dikshuttle

"...there's still the issue of whether they actually want to DEAL with us... lol."


Whomever he hires will want control.

And that's where the devil in the details is as Snyder wants to be svengali and rabid fan all at the same time.

Jeff Fisher would be a good hire--along with some crafty underling from the titan personnel department--as the skins have some of the basics of what the titans where last year when they went 13-3 when they were a power running team with a strong defense.

If Snyder wants a 'name coach,' that guy is going to want control.

And if he wants to win, Snyder is going to have to give it to him.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 26, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Moe, please tell me you have something better than "lost to [6-0] Denver" as rationale for saying the Cowboys ain't all that... and feel free to use poetic license. Go ahead and outright lie if you need to.

I want to believe, dumb as I am, that we're not staring down the barrel of two inevitable losses to Dallas, along with all the other soul-crushing embarrassments we seem certain to endure the rest of the season.

F Dallas, F everything, here's to getting work done early so I can skedaddle to the sports bar and start self-medicating well before kickoff...

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 26, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I'd make the switch to Dungy in a heartbeat. Too bad he's too classy to ever think of taking the job.

Posted by: Original_etrod | October 26, 2009 9:36 AM


I second that. I would love to have Dungy as our coach next season.

Posted by: BacktoGlory | October 26, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Maybe, just maybe, the dissaray that Snyder has perpetuated will finally put him in a position, where, no matter HOW much money he throws at someone, no matter who, they tell him, screw you Dan, until he gives up control...

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | October 26, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Lisa, you piqued my interest enough that I made a quick survey of recent prime time games (I know we've had a good number of Sunday nighters, but couldn't think of a quick way to pick those out from the nfl.com results I was scanning, hence just Mondays and Thursdays):

Mon, 9/16/02 loss vs. Eagles
Mon, 9/4/03 win vs. Jets
Mon, 9/27/04 loss vs. Cowboys
Mon, 9/19/05 win @ Cowboys (Brunell to Moss x2)
Mon, 9/11/06 loss vs. Vikings
Mon, 9/17/07 win @ Eagles
Thurs, 12/6/07 win vs. Bears
Thurs, 9/4/08 loss @ Giants
Mon, 11/3/08 loss vs. Steelers

So we don't have to go back to '05 for a prime time win, it just feels like it's been that long...

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 26, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

the offense can't be worse right??

i mean its been 22 games of the same type of thing.....take away those first 8 games, and this is a collussal failure offensively...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | October 26, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Game Day....

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 26, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

"Go ahead and outright lie if you need to."


Lie?

Is this a job interview?

Or maybe I'm trying to pick somebody up at a funeral.

Lie?

The last time I got caught in a lie, it took a lawyer and probation to get things straight.

Actually, I like to lie.

It's something I learned from mrsmoe as she's convinced me that all of my children are mine when none of them look like me.

Lie?

You're asking me to break one of the Ten Commandments.

I've already committed adultery, stolen office supplies from my job, worked on the Sabbath, not honored my parents, and presently, I'm coveting my neighbor's fine ass.

Perhaps I should lie to her.

That way I might get some kids that look like me.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 26, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

From the Steve Hendrix article today...Donovan is the Skins chief operating officer........


"I think the relentless negative coverage in The Washington Post is a real difference from previous years," Donovan said. "But in terms of the way our actual fans are behaving, we don't see any difference."

Game attendance is still far surpassing that at any other stadium in the league, he said, and he attributed the lower TV ratings largely to the unglamorous opponents the Redskins have faced in the first part of the season.'


[Facepalm]

Posted by: 4-12 | October 26, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Lisa, you piqued my interest enough that I made a quick survey of recent prime time games (I know we've had a good number of Sunday nighters, but couldn't think of a quick way to pick those out from the nfl.com results I was scanning, hence just Mondays and Thursdays):
Mon, 9/16/02 loss vs. Eagles
Mon, 9/4/03 win vs. Jets
Mon, 9/27/04 loss vs. Cowboys
Mon, 9/19/05 win @ Cowboys (Brunell to Moss x2)
Mon, 9/11/06 loss vs. Vikings
Mon, 9/17/07 win @ Eagles
Thurs, 12/6/07 win vs. Bears
Thurs, 9/4/08 loss @ Giants
Mon, 11/3/08 loss vs. Steelers

So we don't have to go back to '05 for a prime time win, it just feels like it's been that long...

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 26, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse


-------------------
They had a nice little primetime run in 07. After beating the Bears on thursday night, they beat the Giants in NJ and followed that up with a primetime beatdown of the Vikes in Minny.

This team was built for the bright lights!

Posted by: zyvo23 | October 26, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Wow, League, I actually followed that...

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | October 26, 2009 10:16 AM

I knew who I was talking to. I never would have tried to explain in to TheTruth11.

Posted by: League-Source | October 26, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

** Coffee Flats **

sween, I think you're confusing cL with mini-him...

** End Coffee Flats **

Posted by: 4-12 | October 26, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Second the thought about Grwilliams - he may have been an in your face type of coach, but he would have held the players accountable. I can't imagine that some of the issues involving CP would ever have even happened knowing there would have been repercussions. This also would likely have given us some carryover heading into last year.

Worse case would have been that Joe Gibbs' handpicked successor was a bomb and Snyder would still have looked good for giving him a chance to be the head coach. It would have also played much better for future candidates that the Skins rewarded loyalty and stayed in-house with a candidate endorsed by the retiring head coach. i.e. Dungy endorsing Caldwell and Holmgren endorsing Mora.

Both teams had succession plans in order and have maintained some continuity, although the Seahawks are in rebuilding phase. The Colts haven't skipped a beat.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 26, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

You know, I always found it funny that people seem to discredit Jon Gruden because he won a Super Bowl with "Dungy's" players, but Dungy gets no flack for not winning with said team, and gets all the credit for being handed Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Edgerrin James, and winning a SB with those names.

Just an observation.

Posted by: psps23 | October 26, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Actually Sween that is "middle-him" not mini....Scott Larry is also the poster formerly known as "Monkaliscious"

Nate and I watched the Skins/Eagles MNF victory together at a TX BBQ joint in Manhattan with a few of my posse....maybe if we could recreate that magic the Skins would win, but alas with Nate in the PDX, I don't see that happening....

Posted by: chrislarry | October 26, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

4-12--

I noticed that quote. It jumped off the page. Are they in a complete state of denial out there at the Park? Aside from this Tracee Hamilton junk, the coverage has been relatively neutral this year. The problem is the product on the field and the off-field machinations that the Post is covering. If they'd win a few games, or at least act like professionals....

Posted by: League-Source | October 26, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

The Colts haven't skipped a beat

A lot of which has to do with the guy under center...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | October 26, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Although I guess he didn't win a SB with James. It was with Addai and Rhodes.

Posted by: psps23 | October 26, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

psps23,

Or forget that Gruden actaully had the Raiders good and "his" team went to the SB the year after and he was a "tuck" away from getting to SB...

How about this, we just accept that Gruden and Dungy are good and accomplished NFL coaches and that, as we know, winning is tough "up here" and winners are to be respected...

I almost shart my pants laughing at posters this weekend bemoaning the "winners bias" given to teams like Pitt...they do realize its sports right? With a built in system for naming good teams....its called "WINNING"

I swear some people "up here" would gladly go to a figure skating/gymnastics scoring system if it allowed them to feel better about the redskins....although with this team and their play that system would not look favorably on them either.

Posted by: chrislarry | October 26, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I almost shart my pants

you should get that looked at...could be a problem....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | October 26, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

L-S,

Yes, they're in a complete state of denial.
Somebody mentioned the Kevin Bacon/Animal House "ALL IS WELL" scene the other day...perfect analogy.

Posted by: 4-12 | October 26, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Everyone up here's in denial. You're denying that there's a new thread.

Beep beep.

Posted by: League-Source | October 26, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I remember that like I was there, chRIs LaRRy! What a night. A belly full of not-too-shabby BBQ, a big room, mostly full of Skins fans (as I recall), plenty of beer... and a win over the Iggles.

We'll have to recapture the magic by proxy or something. I'll turn to the east and hoist a pint, raise a lighter (such as), that sort of thing... suffice to say that we'll all be in communion tonight, come what may in game seven of this brutal season...

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 26, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

we weren't asked the right question... like "How many of you want Vinny to hit the road - NOW - or RIGHT AFTER THE SEASON ENDS?" and "HOW SOON SHOULD SNYDER SELL THE TEAM?" It makes no sense to ask a Jim Zorn question when the problem is Vinny and Danny.

Posted by: 1of9000 | October 26, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: M00SE | October 26, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

It don't make much difference what play is called -- or who calls it -- if they can't/won't execute it.

- Offensive unit will still be unable to make first downs, sustain drives, score points

- CP26 stretch run to the left will still go for a 3 yard loss.

- JC17 pass upfield will still fall either 3 yards short of the marker or incomplete.

- Punts to ARE will still result in a fair catches/near fumbles/no gains.

- Fat Albert will still be sprawled out like a beached whale, sucking wind.

- Redskin D backs will still be prancing around like prom queens

- JZ will still be the most clueless coach in NFL history

- Vinny will still be spinning his lies and schemes

- Big Dan will stil be raking his cash, grimy hand over tightly clenched fist, stopping only occasionally to offer a middle fingered salute to the world


Posted by: Vic1 | October 26, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

If the definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then all of us who watch the redskins games are INSANE!

Posted by: REDneckSKINhead | October 26, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"but most of the time, you don't have that guy in mind."

Or he's not available to you for a midseason switch. Think about it: if you were a head coach candidate from outside the organization, would you want to walk into the Redskins mess and take responsibility for the rest of the season?

Singletary was already firmly entrenched in the 49ers heirarchy. The Skins could have promoted Gregg Williams instead of Zorn two years ago, or Greg Blache last week, and probably received little grief for it. But they've probably got their eyes fixed on somebody outside the organization, and Zorn will be, in effect, a caretaker in the way Ed Tapscott was for the Wiz.

Why did the Wiz fire Eddie Jordan early last season? Because Ernie Grunfeld wanted him gone. Snyder and Cerrato probably don't feel as strongly about Zorn. They can put up with him for another nine games.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 26, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"If the definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then all of us who watch the redskins games are INSANE!
Posted by: REDneckSKINhead"

Big Duh. Check out the movie "Big Fan" when it comes to your neighborhood plexyplex.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 26, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Indy vs New Orleans in the super bowl?

Posted by: skinball77 | October 26, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

A team can look great early in the season and have a great regular season record but might not escape all of the pitfalls of the postseason. Who thought after the Titans' run last year they'd be in the superbowl? And who thought Arizona was going to before Fitzy blew up for 30,000 postseason TD receptions?

I mean ONE bad game can ruin a playoff run, ONE time some 350lb lineman can fall on Peyton's arm.

Posted by: Keiser | October 26, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

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