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Zorn speaks to shakeup on punt returns

Slot receiver/punt returner Antwaan Randle El is a hard worker who happens to be a nice guy who is well-liked by his teammates and coaches. And the respect in the organization for Randle El is among the main reasons Coach Jim Zorn addressed the shakeup in the punt return game as nicely as he did today during his radio show on ESPN 980.

In an interview Monday, Zorn said the team planned to expand cornerback DeAngelo Hall's role as a punt returner, using him more than Randle El -- the team's primary returner the last four seasons -- while also continuing to occasionally turn to top receiver Santana Moss in a change-of-pace role. After the major change in the return game was revealed, Zorn declined requests Monday to further explain the situation in detail, instead waiting for his weekly radio show to essentially repeat that a move has been made in an effort to increase production on punt returns.

"The situation has changed," Zorn said. While reiterating that he intends to use Hall, Moss and Randle El, Zorn remained slightly coy and declined to reveal who'd be out there for the Redskins first punt return Sunday in Atlanta.

With the offensive line in tatters and the offense inept overall, the Redskins can't afford to continue to waste potential opportunities on punt returns. And if Randle El " was purely a punt returner who has had production," Zorn said today, "he'd probably continue on" in the primary role.

"Not totally his problem, but with some of the production problems that we've had there, I'm starting to interject with other guys," the head coach said.

Zorn also addressed Mike Holmgren's comments Monday on a Chicago radio station, in which the former Packers and Seahawks head coach defended Zorn and criticized Redskins management.

"I appreciate Mike," Zorn said. "He's a seasoned coach. He's kind of been around the block, been in the league as a coach for a lot of years -- as long as I've played and coached. You know, it's hard for me -- I didnt hear all the comments. One of the things he mentioned was that it makes me look foolish. That's hard for me. Nobody wants to be a fool out there. One of the things I'm trying to do is work within the program that is before me and work hard with our coaches and players and try to create an edge that we can go out and be successful with. I certainly hope that i dont look foolish out there in a Redskins coaching outfit. He's in full support of me and he knows what my capabilities are."

The show's hosts pointed out to Zorn that Holmgren complimented the Redskins coach, calling him a nice guy. "Nobody likes a nice guy if you're not winning," Zorn said.

From the Bog

Dan Steinberg follows up on a question spawned and hatched in the Redskins Insider podcast session: just what is the record of DeAngelo Hall's teams?

By Jason Reid  |  November 3, 2009; 2:34 PM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Davis takes crash course to get up to speed
Next: Snyder: 'We've let everyone down'

Comments

Hall will be emotional. Zorn will be medium.

Posted by: dcsween | November 3, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

once more, i expressed my feelings about the the last 10 years of being a redskin fan in my pumpkin carving this weekend:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/58171957@N00/

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | November 3, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Nice Sween...you almost feel bad for the guy, almost. Must be hard to hear that people think he looks like a fool out there. Truth hurts!

Posted by: mhartz1 | November 3, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Its classic Zorn. ARE was a problem last year and it should have been addressed then.

Take ARE off of the PR unit and let him concentrate on being a WR. He'd be a better WR and we'd be better on the PR. That it took Zorn 23 games to see this is one of the many reason why people think Zorn is in over his head.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | November 3, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I suppose the situation is so ridiculous that it makes sense that we're spending so much time on punt returns . . . let's put this chair over here for a better view of the iceberg. . .

Posted by: sfskin | November 3, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Good Point from Clark Judge:

1. The Minnesota Vikings get credit for taking chances others would not, and I'm not talking about their play-calling. I'm talking about their drafting. They chose Adrian Peterson in 2007 after six other clubs were scared off because of injuries, and they took Percy Harvin with the 22nd pick this year after others passed because of character concerns. Peterson isn't hurt, and Harvin isn't in trouble. Instead, they're both in the end zone. Yeah, I'd say the Vikings aced the exam.

Posted by: 4thFloor | November 3, 2009 2:32 PM

There's a difference. Vikings have had several years of stability, including some misery under Tavaris Jackson, who the coach STUCK WITH (until Favre came along). Childress has been their since 2006 (along with his offensive coordinator, Bevell), and Frazier (DC) since 2007. They've had the same VP for football operation for 11 years and the same VP for player personnel since 2006 ... consistency for 3-4 years plus THAT guy, Spielman, is the reason the Vikings are having success now.
http://www.vikings.com/team/staff/rick-spielman/2616f5fa-5818-4289-a4d1-ddb7daf8b07c

On the other hand, Vinny Cerrato has been a constant in DC this whole time, plus The Owner, so we do got that.

Posted by: dcsween | November 3, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Sween, trade proposal for you ...

Posted by: zcezcest1 | November 3, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

That pumpkin's awesome.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | November 3, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The reasons the Skins are 2-5 is because they started the season 0-1. That's it. That's the single reason for the swagger deficit. It rolls downhill from there. Winning in Week One makes all the difference. [Also, not involuntarily changing play callers midseason also helps.]

Posted by: dcsween | November 3, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Sween, trade proposal for you ...

Posted by: zcezcest1 | November 3, 2009 3:10 PM

I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. That last one has worked out so well.

Posted by: dcsween | November 3, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

As sween's silent partner on that team, I... actually, I have no opinion on the trade you proposed, Zeke.

I had this notion of DeAngelo Hall getting a hero's welcome at the airport in ATL, descending the stairs from the airplane and dramatically dropping to his knees to kiss the tarmac... the prodigal son returns... only this wouldn't just happen this weekend when the Skins go down for this game, it would happen on a weekly basis when DeAngelo goes home.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 3, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

BrooklynSkins,
t'anks.

i could never carve an "anti-redskins" pumpkin - i DO have morals - but i do feel resignation/disgust...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | November 3, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

What's up with all this nice guy crap? Randle El is a nice guy, Zorn is a nice guy, blah, blah. Who the hell cares? For all we know, after having his playcall duties taken away Zorn might of went home and kicked the family dog and slapped his wife. Enough with the nice guy crap!

Posted by: ga8085 | November 3, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Why can't Zorn do this for the offense???? Shake it up!

Remove Zorn now!

Posted by: 4thFloor | November 3, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The reasons the Skins are 2-5 is because they started the season 0-1. That's it. That's the single reason for the swagger deficit. It rolls downhill from there. Winning in Week One makes all the difference.

Posted by: dcsween | November 3, 2009 3:14 PM

To play devil's advocate, they started last season 0-1, before winning 6 of their next 7.

I think what I'm saying is, F Vinny Cerrato. Yes, yes, that's what I'm saying. And F that little friend of his too.

Posted by: 4-12 | November 3, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

*** FF ALERT ***

Favre has a bye week this week ... I have the Owen Daniels equivalent at backup QB, Jason Campbell. Chester Taylor remains junk b/c the Vikings have a passing game this year. LT is back and healthy ... and I wish I had Vincent Jackson back ... and Matt Ryan is going to tweetrape the Skins secondary this weekend. Del Rio just dialed back Garrard's ability to audible from run to pass, further limiting the limited Sims-Walker. Also, Chargers' D is the reason Norv can pull defeat from the jaws of victory on MNF.

*** End FF ALERT ***

Posted by: dcsween | November 3, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Redskins' Snyder says team has 'let everyone down'
By JOSEPH WHITE AP Sports Writer The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 3:09 PM EST

CLINTON, Md. (AP) — Dan Snyder says his Washington Redskins have "let everyone down."

In a rare, in-season interview with reporters, Snyder said at a charity event that the team is embarrassed by its 2-5 start and hopes to turn things around soon.

Snyder has been the subject of much ire from some fans. Signs critical of the owner have been confiscated at recent home games as part of the team's new crackdown on all signs and banners at the stadium.

Snyder was asked about the sign ban but did not address the issue. Regarding the fans, he said: "We've let everyone down, including ourselves, and we know that and we're just apologetic."

Posted by: NCICURN | November 3, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4619992

Article above saying that Snyder apologized for the team being awful...REALLY!!!
I don't want an apology...I want him to take a F'ing back seat and hire a legit GM to make decisions.

Posted by: kickass10101 | November 3, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

What's up with all this nice guy crap? Randle El is a nice guy, Zorn is a nice guy, blah, blah. Who the hell cares? For all we know, after having his playcall duties taken away Zorn might of went home and kicked the family dog and slapped his wife. Enough with the nice guy crap!

Posted by: ga8085 | November 3, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse


[place obligitory Raiders coach reference here]

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | November 3, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

From SI.com:

"Snyder: Redskins 'let everyone down'"

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/football/nfl/11/03/redskins.ap/index.html

Posted by: quinn3 | November 3, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

sween, if you need a TE, you can have Kellen Winslow for a shot of Jamesons and a ham sandwich...

Posted by: 4-12 | November 3, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not giving up on Fred Davis, Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas! Who knows if they can really play?"


Want an early assessment?

Devin Thomas and Fred Davis have done enough to earn extended time on the field.

Malcolm Kelly got extended time, and may have proven himself not to be all that.

Which is why I'd get Marko Mitchell in on some of the same plays he ran in the preseason, toss the ball his way on purpose, and wait to see what shakes.

If we come out of this mess knowing Thomas, Davis, and Mitchell have legit starter potential, that would be 'a good thing'.

Posted by: MistaMoe | November 3, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

What We've Learned
By: John Keim
Examiner Staff Writer
11/02/09 7:22 PM EST

» Even during the bye week, we were reminded of one thing: the Redskins lack explosiveness on offense – and in the return game. The Eagles do not move the ball consistently; they don’t need to because of the big plays generated by the offense. Miami … Minnesota … Tennessee … all won because of explosive plays. Outside of Santana Moss, the Redskins have no one who scares an opposing defense; their return game threatens nobody as well. Nor can it compensate enough, or provide a major spark, during games when the offense struggles. Of course, Devin Thomas was drafted to be such a player, but he has not yet filled that role. So, in addition to two tackles, a guard and quarterback, the Redskins need to find someone in the offseason who can add speed and explosiveness. Other than all of those needs, they’re set offensively.

Posted by: TWISI | November 3, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

cont.

» H.B. Blades, likely out this week with a knee injury, has quietly become a special teams standout for Washington. His size, and lack of top-end speed, will prevent him from being a full-time starter. London Fletcher is a bit taller, but definitely faster, which is how he’s survived as a starter for this long. But Blades’ contributions on special teams will keep him in the league for a while. He could be the guy who eventually replaces Rock Cartwright as a special teams leader.

» The Redskins practices have been criticized by analysts when they’ve visited. There’s a feeling by them that Washington lacks a sense of urgency in practice. Their training camp was not as strenuous as previous coaches – nor as many around the league, according to media who see many teams’ camps. The Redskins started the season with fewer injuries, but entering the final nine games their offense is anything but fresh. Oh, and some of those analysts have not liked the music played before practice. It just does not send the right message.

Posted by: TWISI | November 3, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I am intrigued by Zorn's excuses to keep the younger players on the bench. There have been so many. It is abundantly clear to me that he places no value in junior players. Davis, for instance, was kept on the bench because he couldn't grasp the playbook. C'mon... I mean, so you might have hundreds of plays in the playbook, but the guy doesn't have to know all of them to get on the field. Why wouldn't you simplify it so you can get this guy on the field? We all make a lot of noise about Vinny having a poor eye for talent, but Zorn has a terrible reputation for developing talent. I really don't think he gets the whole concept of investing playing time in the younger players.

He started Mike Williams at guard - a position he had never played - instead of using Rhinehart or Montgomery. He hasn't given Marko Mitchell any playing time although the guy was lighting it up in the preseason. They re-signed Alridge and never even activated him for a game. First Malcolm Kelly is great and then he is riding the pine. I just don't get it. Does he expect these guys to rush out onto the field on day one and play mistake-free football? Most teams scale down the packages for the young players and gradually work them into games. Zorn doesn't seem to get this. I hope he is gone after this season because the team will need to rebuild, and they are never going to get the job done with this coach's approach.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | November 3, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse


I agree with you Redskinhead. And its stuff like this that has made me lose all confidence in Zorn, not just the FO. I think an entire culture shift is needed. Trade away vets who think they deserve to start if you have to, put some fire into these guys, make them compete with each other.

Also while I'd not be opposed to a trade back and taking some player that can have impact, but selvish capers in the second round? I'm not sure he'll be drafted in the first five rounds, and I'm a WVU homer. Maybe you've seen something I haven't.

Posted by: Veretax

Posted by: Veretax | November 3, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Redskins' Snyder says team has 'let everyone down'

No, YOU have let everyone down by hiring inept front office managers and meddling in football operations for 10 years. This guy will never get it.

Posted by: Moose33 | November 3, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"...Even during the bye week, we were reminded of one thing: the Redskins lack explosiveness on offense – and in the return game. Outside of Santana Moss, the Redskins have no one who scares an opposing defense..."

Some of us noticed this well before the bye-week.

And as much as folks shout, "We need linemen," (and they are right) the team also needs offensive threats that force mismatches or players who can 'flip the field'.

Posted by: MistaMoe | November 3, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Snyder 'apologetic' over team's start
Comment Email Print Share
Associated Press

CLINTON, Md. -- Dan Snyder says his Washington Redskins have "let everyone down."

In a rare, in-season interview with reporters, Snyder said at a charity event that the team is embarrassed by its 2-5 start and hopes to turn things around soon.

Snyder has been the subject of much ire from some fans. Signs critical of the owner have been confiscated at recent home games as part of the team's new crackdown on all signs and banners at the stadium.

Snyder was asked about the sign ban but did not address the issue. Regarding the fans, he said: "We've let everyone down, including ourselves, and we know that and we're just apologetic."


Posted by: TWISI | November 3, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The music thing I never got.

Zorn has allowed loud music during practice, but refuses to insert any gimmicks into his offense. That's backward thinking.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | November 3, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Keys to winning ATL game:)

1. Play tough Defense
2. Put S. MOSS at punt return not Hall..
3. Put campbell in Shotgun when passing.
4. Spread the field with your WR. Kelly, thomas, moss, Randle El and F.Davis.
5. Run the ball out of the spread formation.
6. Play Hard!
7. Dont give up the big play!

Final score: 28-24 SKINS!!!

Posted by: taylormade218 | November 3, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

What's up with all this nice guy crap? Randle El is a nice guy, Zorn is a nice guy, blah, blah. Who the hell cares? For all we know, after having his playcall duties taken away Zorn might of went home and kicked the family dog and slapped his wife. Enough with the nice guy crap!

Posted by: ga8085

Glad to help. ga8085 is NOT a nice guy, kicking that nice Mr. Zorn and his nice dog and that nice Antwaan Randle El when they're down.

Can't wait til Cerrato is relieved of his duties, then we can all kick someone when he's down.

Posted by: TheCork | November 3, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Interesting comment from Bill Barnwell on QB play league-wide:

"We are blessed to live in remarkable times. Remarkably awful times."

"Sure, there's a handful of Hall of Famers at the top of the quarterback charts... What fans don't realize is what's at the bottom: A historic amount of detritus."

"Through the first eight weeks of the 2009 NFL season, 5.8 percent of quarterback starts and substitute appearances of ten attempts or more have resulted in quarterback ratings of 30.0 or below. That's notably higher than in any of the five previous seasons, which have produced such "disaster games" 3.7 percent of the time. It also bears a pretty strong relationship to losing: From 2004 through 2008, when quarterbacks have posted a QB rating under 30, they've gone 14-83 (.144 winning percentage). This year, such quarterbacks are 1-13, with the only victory coming when Derek Anderson's Browns eked out a 6-3 win over the Bills in Week 5."

Posted by: Samson151 | November 3, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Redskins' Snyder says team has 'let everyone down'

No, YOU have let everyone down by hiring inept front office managers and meddling in football operations for 10 years. This guy will never get it.

Posted by: Moose33 | November 3, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

This is as close as Dan Snyder has ever come to saying "I f'd up" so I'll take it.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | November 3, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

4th, Zorn has gimmicks in his offense just not any solid bread and butter plays....

f zorn

Posted by: chrislarry | November 3, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Kelly needs to be running more out routes and fades. We do nothing shallow near the sidelines. We should run some quick outs. We need to spread the field horizontally just as much as we spread it vertically. You are much harder to stop when you use the whole field.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | November 3, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Criminey Zorn is such a Puzzy. That is his problem. ARE is to so well respected by the organization because he is a hard worker and such a nice guy?? What a crock of unadulterated BS. "Hard worker" should be a prerequisite and a given for all 53. Maybe if you called him out and said what the entire fan base (and the rest of the team I imagine) knows "ARE sucks returning punts and we need to get somebody back there who will a) catch the ball, and b) attack up field. D Hall is next. If he sucks like ARE, we'll keep trying." Guess he doesn't need to be that harsh, but simply saying "We need more production from our Punt returner and are making a move to try and improve" is certainly true. He can bench Campbell but kid gloves all the others. Idiot.

I'd sit ARE and Mike Sellers forever. They both suck. Time to get the triplets and Eddie Williams on the field to see what they can do. We are not gonna catch any fish this year, and its time to see if the bait we have stored is ever gonna help land the Big One.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | November 3, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"We've let everyone down, including ourselves, and we know that and we're just apologetic."

I would have liked him to say, "I have let everyone down".

Posted by: gatorskinz2000 | November 3, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Its probably the royal "we".

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | November 3, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

This is as close as Dan Snyder has ever come to saying "I f'd up" so I'll take it.


Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | November 3, 2009 4:00 PM

This is the problem. We've taken everything this guy has throw at us and continued to fill his pockets with cash. Ticket/concession/parking prices, suing season ticket holders, banning signs...the list goes on and on. And what do we get in return?

I get your point since he rarely says anything at all but I'm not ready to accept any type of apology from this guy until I see fundamental changes within this organization. Then and only then is he really accepting blame and is willing to change his course of action.

Posted by: Moose33 | November 3, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I get your point since he rarely says anything at all but I'm not ready to accept any type of apology from this guy until I see fundamental changes within this organization. Then and only then is he really accepting blame and is willing to change his course of action.

Posted by: Moose33 | November 3, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. There is no way to know if Snyder has learned anything based on what he is saying. There is not much any owner could do right now to show that he has changed. I think Vinny and Zorn are both gone, just doesn't want to make either move mid season.

I'm just being optimistic that he has learned something since he is doing something that is pretty rare by his standards.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | November 3, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

*** FF ALERT ***

Favre has a bye week this week ... I have the Owen Daniels equivalent at backup QB, Jason Campbell. Chester Taylor remains junk b/c the Vikings have a passing game this year. LT is back and healthy ... and I wish I had Vincent Jackson back ... and Matt Ryan is going to tweetrape the Skins secondary this weekend. Del Rio just dialed back Garrard's ability to audible from run to pass, further limiting the limited Sims-Walker. Also, Chargers' D is the reason Norv can pull defeat from the jaws of victory on MNF.

*** End FF ALERT ***

Posted by: dcsween

I'm guessing that's your response to the trade offer. Now that you've blown off some steam ... Favre has outplayed Ryan by a bunch. Plus Favre has an easier schedule -- I think Chicago is probably his toughest remaining competition and Cincy lit up da Bears for 45 points.

As for the Chargers, not suggesting they are an every week play, but they do have a couple good matchups.

On the Favre bye week -- my bad on that one. Didn't catch that and I should have.

As for the other stuff, enjoyed watching the steam rise off your forehead ...

Posted by: zcezcest1 | November 3, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Is Zorn apologizing for booting El off punt returns? I really liked Zorn at first but now I can't wait until he's gone.

Posted by: coparker5 | November 3, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Before training camp one of the bloggers at www.riggosrag.com stated the case for Randle El only playing receiver. Seems to me the facts that make this a good decision now are the same facts quoted by riggosrag. If they knew it then, why on earth did it take the coaching staff this long to pull the trigger?

Posted by: JHG_sec405 | November 4, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

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