Three for the play-calling seesaw
For the second consecutive game, offensive consultant Sherman Lewis will call the passing plays today for the Redskins.
With the approval of owner Daniel Snyder, Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations, promoted Lewis to play-caller and stripped Coach Jim Zorn of those duties. No one in the organization said Lewis would only handle a portion of the play-calling, but that's what happened during his first game in the role -- a 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles -- as offensive coordinator Sherman Smith ran the running game and Zorn directed the two-minute drill.
On Friday, Zorn said he envisioned the process continuing with the three men all involved in play-calling against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome and for the remainder of the season.
Hired on Oct. 6, Lewis has not been in the organization long enough to become well-versed in Zorn's offensive terminology or familiar with the personnel. There was no way he was going to come out of retirement after more than four years and call plays effectively without a lot of help from Zorn and his staff.
Against the Eagles, television cameras showed offensive assistant Chris Meidt, the de facto quarterbacks coach, appearing to provide a big-time assist to Lewis in the coaches' box, hurriedly pointing to other coaches' play sheets and making suggestions as the play clock wound down.
Zorn and Smith have discussed the play-calling process; they are available throughout the week to discuss the offense and their areas of involvement, but Lewis is not. He has addressed the media only once (on the day after he was hired) and not all since his role was expanded.
With three people calling plays for the Redskins, and Lewis essentially serving as a co-offensive coordinator, many media outlets, including the one for which I work, have made multiple requests to speak with the newest member of the coaching staff. All the requests have been rejected.
Lewis seems like a genial guy. He smiles and says, "hello," after practice and when you see him around the main building at Redskins Park. But he's a big part of the coaching staff and he hasn't taken questions since revealing that he, among other things, was calling bingo games at a senior center during his retirement. That revelation prompted many media outlets -- again, including this one -- to report on Lewis's experiences as a bingo caller.
The whole bingo thing, rightly or wrongly, contributed to the national perception that chaos reigns in Ashburn. Zack Bolno, the team's hard-working PR guy, and his staff have faced one demanding situation after another -- and we're only in Week 9. I understand why Bolno would not want to make anyone in this organization available to the media for the remainder of the season. If I were in his place, I'm sure I'd consider -- cliche alert! -- circling the wagons, hunkering down and trying to ride out the storm.
But forget about what the media wants. Do the Redskins have a responsibility to their fans, many of whom have remained loyal to them during yet another disappointing season? I've received a lot of email from readers who say they want to hear from Lewis, and it's time for the man to speak publicly again.
But first, there's a game today. I'm not expecting a Redskins Renaissance any time soon: Falcons 38, Redskins 16. What's your prediction?
The Sunday lineup
Live from Atlanta, the Post's crew will consist of Jason Reid (@JReidPost), Rick Maese (@RickMaese), Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga), Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy), and two
irregulars guest stars: Sally Jenkins (@sallyjenx) and Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog). Also on Twitter, @RedskinsInsider (with Cindy Boren) and @HyperSkins (with Paul Tenorio).
Immediately after the game, Tenorio will be chatting.
As always, if you're not glued to the TV today, you can sign up for Redskins mobile alerts (text "Redskins" to 98999). That is all. We'll be back shortly.
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