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Lewis quietly continues his evaluations

Offensive consultant Sherman Lewis has been in the building for almost two weeks, so I figured the time was right to ask him if he has determined how to fix Coach Jim Zorn's ineffective version of the West Coast offense. Owner Daniel Snyder hired Lewis -- a longtime assistant in West Coast offenses -- to help Zorn succeed, and with the Redskins having played five games, Lewis presumably needs to move quickly.

My request to interview Lewis was rejected so I called a few players to get their impressions of Lewis, 67, whom they all said seems like a nice guy. But Lewis has not had much interaction with them, they said, and he usually just sits in the back of the room during meetings and takes notes. That seems reasonable, but I expected a little more from Lewis. I know there's not much he can do in terms of helping with strategy and game-planning until he learns Zorn's terminology, but the clock is ticking loudly for Zorn.

After speaking with players, I called the Redskins in an attempt to better understand Lewis's role at the complex. Zorn, through a team spokesman, praised Lewis for being a "veteran coach, a very nice guy and a very good guy." Since he arrived in Ashburn, Lewis has being reviewing tape of the team, doing self-scouting, working on some projects and offering help when he can. Once Lewis becomes more familiar with Zorn's terminology and the roster, he is expected to offer Zorn suggestions on how to perform better in his role as a play-caller and provide tips to players in practice. Lewis apparently has worked closely with Bill Khayat, offensive quality control assistant, to inform Zorn of his tendencies in play-calling.

I actually could save Lewis a lot of time on that front. Zorn tends to call running plays to the left side of the line, or at least he did before Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels suffered what is believed to be a season-ending and perhaps a career-threatening neck injury against the Carolina Panthers. In the passing game, Zorn rarely takes deep shots because of the constant threat of quarterback Jason Campbell being broken into tiny pieces because of a weak offensive line.

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A week ago, I had to revise my prediction. This week, I'm going with Chiefs 21, Redskins 3.

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On Twitter today, follow @hyperskins, @RedskinsInsider, @RickMaese, @JReidPost, @bsvrluga, @dcsportsbog. Our fan tweets page will be functional, too. Go there for instructions on how to get your tweets from FedEx to appear on the page. ... For mobile alerts, text "Redskins" to 98999.

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Immediately postgame, join Paul Tenorio for a 30-minute chat.

By Jason Reid  |  October 18, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
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Next: More from Brian Mitchell

Comments

I know there's not much he can do in terms of helping with strategy and game-planning until he learns Zorn's terminology...

By Jason Reid | October 18, 2009; 7:00 AM ET

Zorn could simplify this for Lewis if he wanted to. Given Lewis's recent activities, all the plays should have names like B-7, I-22, N-35, G-64, and 0-78. And, if any of the plays actually scores a TD, well that's a BINGO!

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 18, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter what Sherm says...this team will not be successful until it shores up its O-line and D-line. Everything else is built on those foundations.

If Danny and Vinny were building a house, they'd spend a million bucks on drapes (old antique ones that have seen better days) and build the foundation out of mud and sticks.

Posted by: Monk81_Green28 | October 18, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Like many posters, I often tend to comment on the negative. To be fair, there are positives with the Skins, too.
+ nine teams have a worse record than the Skins (three others are also 2-3)
+ Jason Campbell is 16th, right in the middle of the NFL, in passing percentage (despite a questionable O-line)
+ Clinton Portis is 10th in the NFL in total yards rushing (despite a questionable O-line)
+ the defense is ranked 5th in the NFL in total D
+London Fletcher leads the NFL in tackles (59)
+ DeAngelo Hall is tied for second in the NFL in INTs (3)

Posted by: MrMerkin | October 18, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

If Mr. Mayor is going 21-3, the Skins are in trouble. It's painful to hear anyone as knowledgeable about the team going the other way. Lions I was feeling it; I didn't think I was today.

Good point on Sherm -- if he hasn't given feedback by the bye, what's he there for, anyhow?

Posted by: WorstSeat | October 18, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I love the picture of Coach Zorn, 'Mr.' Snyder and Vinny! The coach looks like a high school principal chastizing a student for failing the dress code.

Posted by: SkinsfaninPeru | October 18, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Merkin,

If those all stay true after 11 games - I'd consider this season a success.

Posted by: charley42 | October 18, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I think that Zorn is still showing his arrogance. He must believe that he himself has the amswers to make this work.

He is underestimating why Sherman was hired. Danny hired Sherman IMO as a quick fix to get Zorn's WCO in the endzone.

If Zorn thinks Sherman was hired to quietly and methodically make reports/suggestions as he gets up to speed, then he is missings the point of this hire I think.

Why would Sherman need to get up to speed on the WCO? He is supposedly a WCO expert.

It is bull manure to say he has to learn the terminology.

If that is true, if the terminology is really that tough, then that might explain why the players/this offense ain't producing.

It is too damn complicated. Did Zorn come up with his own WCO terminlogy/plan?

You mean he is using an unestablished version that Sherman does not know?

If Zorn has installed a version of the WCO that Sherman has to learn, then that means that this version of the WCO has never been successful.

Are you folks getting this?

Sherman Lewis has to learn the Terminology of Zorn's WCO.

So we hire an inexperienced coach in Zorn who comes in and has to OJT as a coach and he installs his own version of the WCO that has never been proven.

So, now an expert in WCO's has to come in and figure Zorn's version out and hopefully make it work.

Why isn't Zorn using an established version? What has made this man think that his version that he himself has never been successful with will work.

Jason Campbell and the whole Offense needs to take Zorns butt and whip it roundly. Better yet, he should yes be fired and that WCO nersion that he has made up needs to be shreded.

Terminology. Gag me wit' maggott.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 18, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

how many people does it take to understand that the QB is one of the major problems?
One, but he has to be outside the Washington area.

Posted by: opita1 | October 18, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I got one word for Sherm Lewis:

B-I-N-G-O!

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 18, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Wow - thing are so dismal in Slick City Ashburn that even the MAYOR is depressed.

Are you surprised, Jay, that they're not giving you access to the head hunter? It's not usually given.

But not even a touchdown?! I guess the loss of Samuels is pretty devastating. Should be interesting, uh... maybe that's not the right word.

What's the word for staring at a car wreck?

Posted by: DikShuttle | October 18, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Sherm Lewis is going to take over the team - or at the very least, the offense during the bye week. Why would he help the guy who he has been sent to replace? This seems so obvious to me. Why else would management tolerate an expensive consultant not contributing unless he is just gathering the info to use when he is the guy running the show? This must be horrible for Zorn. It would be like having the undertaker following you around taking your measurements after you have been given a month to live.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | October 18, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"...how many people does it take to understand that the QB is one of the major problems?"



Whereas your point is that Jason Campbell should be removed, smart people think building the offensive line needed to protect a newly drafted quarterback should be a priority.

Why draft a new quarterback only to see him get beat up weekend and week out?

Re-sign Campbell to a big signing bonus, but low ball contract laden with incentives.

Then, draft a speedy back, a right tackle, a center, and use free agency to sneak in some low cost lnemen depth guys.

Once the line is re-fortified, then draft a quarterback--but you might not have to as with improved blocking and a running game, Campbell will be older and wiser and much improved with time to throw.

And you will be glad he's not gone.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 18, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"...how many people does it take to understand that the QB is one of the major problems?"
-----------------------
Whereas your point is that Jason Campbell should be removed...

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 18, 2009 9:39 AM

Moe, I think he was trying to say that Jason plays better on the road than at home?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 18, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

A weekly report from the second set of eyes:
===
Before one can understand and resolve a complex issue, there should be a foundation, a base, a precedence set in place to begin the process of evaluation. Having said that, I have no fricking idea what type of offensive Coach Zorn is running. It appears to be a hybrid of Marty ball and Gibbs-2 conservatism. It’s unlike any version of a west coast offense that I have been involved in or have studied. It’s as though, Zorn has cut and pasted 2 or 3 types of offenses together and told his players that it is a west coast version. The west coast offense relies heavily on a strong passing game, which does not exist here. The WCO features a quick explosive running game, which does not exist here. The WCO is design to put the ball in the hands of your big receivers, which does not exist here. I would suggest that Zorn utilize the only running back who can offer some explosiveness ( Anthony Aldridge). I am at practice every day and this Markco Mitchell seems to be unstoppable and for the life of me, I can’t understand why he is not on the field on Sundays. I will continue my evaluation and will submit a weekly report as requested

Posted by: pennstate1 | October 18, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I am much more shocked by "the Mayor's" assesment that the Skins' defense is going to give up 21 points. Or maybe, he figures the Chiefs' defense scores, and maybe special teams?

@RedSkinHead: I hadn't seen any reports on what Lewis was being paid, are you just figuring that based on Snyder's history that Lewis MUST be a "expensive consultant"?

I personally think the Skins win today, but that doesn't mean anything "impressive" happens. Here is pretty decent article what we already know: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/17/AR2009101701535.html

Posted by: craig2 | October 18, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

JC is one of the smallest problems this team has. That was plainly clear last year, during the 6-2 start. If the team around can hold their own, he will provide plenty of plays to win. Is he a "game changing" player? No. But there are only so many of those at the quarterback position anyway. Obviously, if a truly "game changing" quarterback is available, drafting him would be a good thing, but there is NO WAY this team should be focused on that position.

Posted by: craig2 | October 18, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

ugh - the Soup apologists persist. JC is the second biggest problem that you can actually address this season.

In this situation the QB has to be smart. And if anyone here is assigning that trait to Soup, well, you haven't been watching the same games I have.

As long as Zorn is in there, I don't see Soup coming out - I guess they've decided to go down with their sinking ship.

Posted by: DikShuttle | October 18, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The Skins must select the best QB in next years draft. So hopefully the skins lose today and for the rest of the season. Hello Bradford!

Posted by: thehogs1 | October 18, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

THe Media is making tooooo much out of Sher Lewis.

You have to absorb the team, the organization, the daily and weekly processes already in progess. This can take a couple of weeks.

And IF Lewis makes any suggestions, it'll be between him and the coaches. Not the Media, Players, and fans.

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 18, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Like many posters, I often tend to comment on the negative. To be fair, there are positives with the Skins, too.
+ nine teams have a worse record than the Skins (three others are also 2-3)
+ Jason Campbell is 16th, right in the middle of the NFL, in passing percentage (despite a questionable O-line)
+ Clinton Portis is 10th in the NFL in total yards rushing (despite a questionable O-line)
+ the defense is ranked 5th in the NFL in total D
+London Fletcher leads the NFL in tackles (59)
+ DeAngelo Hall is tied for second in the NFL in INTs (3)

Posted by: MrMerkin | October 18, 2009 8:44 AM
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

OK MrMerkin, I understand and applaud your efforts at trying to be fair and balanced.

The problem is that some of those numbers are very misleading. 2-3 record? Give me a break. The two wins have come against winless teams. The Miami Dolphins have a 2-3 record also. Are you going to argue that the Redskins are as good as the Dolphins? (The Bill Parcells' quote "you are your record" applies most to the end of the season, so we'll just have to wait and see, and keep watching atrocious games.) And besides, since when is hovering around the bottom third of the league (32 teams, 2-3 record better than 9 other teams) POSITIVE? I look for more from my Redskins.

Campbell and Portis, all I can say is whatver. Yes, Campbell has been efficient, and showed some flashes. He is a miggle of the pack passer in terms of stats right now, like you point out. What has that done for the team? Not Much. And Portis? Give me a break. 10th in the league in rushing for the leagues highest paid running back? Again, hard to see that as a positive, unless we like to reward mediocrity. Still not one 100 yard game from Portis this season. But I am sure he is just getting ready to break out and explode, any day now.

All the stuff about defense I agree with. Looking better every week. DHall is getting turnovers, although he is not a great man cover guy this season so far. But yeah, defense is working. So that is a positive.

But in the end, I am watching these games out of loyalty and habit, not because I think that the Redskins will suddenly become dominant this season. I am done buying into hype until I see regular results on the field.

Posted by: hithere1 | October 18, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

And by the way, I would love to be miggle of the pack myself. Not sure waht it means, but I like the cut of miggle's jib.

Posted by: hithere1 | October 18, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

PennState1,

This offense is not even being marginally successful, in fact, it is an adject failure.

Your words above are very telling why this offense is not successful.

Do you think that Vinny Cerrato and Daniel Synder knew that Jim Zorn was bringing in some hybrid offense?

And if the did know, what would make them think that it would be successful?

PennState1, I have been reading a lot of comments on this blog, but your short comment above explains a lot.

Those comments more than anything else I have seen so far illuminates why this Offense is a failure.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 18, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The biggest problem the 'skins have is their owner - Napoleon Bonaparte; and he can only be fixed by himself. Embrace change Napy.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | October 18, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

THe Media is making tooooo much out of Sher Lewis.

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 18, 2009 10:17 AM

The most absurd part of the Mayor's post is "my request to interview Lewis was turned down." These guys think that everyone on the planet is running for public office and so has to answer any question they can think of, as soon as they think of it.

And once it's turned down, they want the world to know about it. As in "an e/mail to Vinnie Cerrato was not immediately answered."

Duh. "My request to interview Jim Zorn's wife was denied."

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 18, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Well what absurdity, or complete fug up, or example of stupidity will we see on the field today? One can only wonder....


........anticipation

Posted by: 72Redskins | October 18, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

From what I've seen, I think Zorn needs to learn the terminology of the WCO.

Posted by: richie_sheppard | October 18, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Some criticize Skins fans for over reacting. I think we care enough that we don't want them to be the next Detroit Lions! This teams fate was decided in the off season. There is no hope unless the O-line can somehow come together with training camp castoffs and practice squad projects.
At least when Gibbs "Part2" was here, they had backup lineman who atleast were starters!! Oh.. I forgot the one that came to camp 400lb+. he could actually be the best one! Wait... Rinehart was supposed to be it!! He couldn't even wear the uniform on game days last year!!! With this group!!!
Lets trade a 2nd or 3rd pick for T.o.... At-least the drama will be entertaining!!!

Posted by: baggfull | October 18, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Jason Reid!!! 21-3?? You think this line can block long enough for a field goal??

Posted by: baggfull | October 18, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The biggest problem and has been ignored by management is the Redskins offensive line! Everyone is so down to jump on a QB I think 1st 2nd round O-line also hit the free agency for additional o-line help.. The Redskins are years behind on thier o-line.. I understand qb is important but keeping him from getting sacked 15 times in 5 games is important too.

Posted by: WilliamsJohn1666 | October 18, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Jason Reid!!! 21-3?? You think this line can block long enough for a field goal??

Posted by: baggfull | October 18, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse
He forgot to leave out the 4 previous blocked field goals!!! I think thats more the mayor giving some pitty points..

Posted by: WilliamsJohn1666 | October 18, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Why draft a new quarterback only to see him get beat up weekend and week out?

Re-sign Campbell to a big signing bonus, but low ball contract laden with incentives.

Then, draft a speedy back, a right tackle, a center, and use free agency to sneak in some low cost lnemen depth guys.

Once the line is re-fortified, then draft a quarterback--but you might not have to as with improved blocking and a running game, Campbell will be older and wiser and much improved with time to throw.

And you will be glad he's not gone.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 18, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I agree, MistaMoe. I've been saying for 9 months that we should sign JC to a mid-level contract. He is not the problem.

I would try to draft the best OT, even if we have to trade up to get him. RB is another need.

Posted by: frediefritz | October 18, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

How will our new bookends of the Oline hold up today?

Will the defense(mainly one D.Hall)tackle better today?

The Chiefs stood with the Cowgirls and traded blow for blow, until a whiffed tackle allowed a catch and run in OT. Can we stand toe to toe and trade blow for blow with these bums today? Can we come out and dominate?

The Toilet Bowl awaits.

Posted by: 72Redskins | October 18, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Jason Reid!!! 21-3?? You think this line can block long enough for a field goal??

Posted by: baggfull | October 18, 2009 10:56 AM

Hall will get an INT and run it back to the five. Four plays later, Suisham will kick a field goal from the 23 yard line.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 18, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

From what I've seen, I think Zorn needs to learn the terminology of the WCO.

Posted by: richie_sheppard | October 18, 2009 10:47 AM

LMAO. Brilliant, just brilliant.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 18, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Beep beep

Posted by: edvar | October 18, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Did The Mayor really give any new information here. Rinse, Spin, Repeat!

Posted by: 6-2StackMonster | October 18, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Zorn is going with his usual suspects...no MM or AA

Posted by: pennstate1 | October 18, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I really believe that Zorn is afraid to play Anthony Aldridge. What if Aldridge show explosiveness and speed. What if Aldridge breaks long runs and make defenders miss. What if Aldridge is successful. How will Zorn explain Clinton's slow plodding, mostly ineffective method of running. "Clinton's a very good blocker???

Posted by: pennstate1 | October 18, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

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