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Zorn's Skins-Seahawks Wrap-Up

Jim Zorn ran the gamut in his meeting with the schlubs, from talking about preprinting a game ball to hand to owner Daniel Snyder after the Seattle game to the state of his offense, so I'll give you a little bit of everything and empty out the ol' notebook.

In no particular order...

Of his offense, Zorn obviously is looking for more points, and he said the test of the players will be how they "handle the defenses that are very strong." Well, the Giants fit that description, as do the Ravens the week after that.

Zorn felt that his team left at least eight points on the field Sunday. The third-and-inches call for the rollout screen to FB Mike Sellers was botched, and kicker Shaun Suisham missed another field goal from within his range (more on that later).

Zorn put some of the blame for the missed TD pass on QB Jason Campbell and Sellers. He believes Campbell threw the ball too high, noting "you've got to keep the ball to the core," when throwing to tight ends and backs. Sellers had to reach up to make the catch, and while it's a ball Zorn believes he has to control, the placement should have been better.

As for Sellers in general, Zorn said he had a bigger role in the game because he often was spelling Portis in pass protection on third down. Zorn said he also likes throwing to the fullback in situations around the goal line.

He felt like the pass protection got better as the game progressed, with his scheme playing a role on the first sack. He had reserve TE Todd Yoder blocking an end, and it didn't go too well, with Yoder coming late off the snap. Right tackle Jon Jansen also got pushed around by LB Julian Peterson a lot early on, but got a lot of help from TE Chris Cooley. The Giants' vaunted pass rush will test this group for sure.

"It will be a major concern and emphasis," Zorn said of the pass protection.

Zorn said he tried to "take a breath and not panic" after getting overwhelmed by the pass rush early - especially when he went four-wide - and felt like they executed at key times in spread formations later in the game, while again relying on the run to carry the day (that's how they have to roll; it's how they're built).

"I felt like we matched up well against them in the run," Zorn said.

Zorn said he feels like his offense is better in general than its ranking - 27th in points per game. "Maybe we're really only that good right now," he said. "But I don't feel like it."

I asked Zorn whether Suisham has a dead leg or fatigue in his leg, with him missing two field goals in recent weeks within his range, and with some of his kickoffs not even making it to the 10 (this after routinely booting balls to the goal line or deeper early in the season).

Zorn says he attributes the slide to Suisham just "mis-hitting" the ball, not getting enough of the ball on some kickoffs and field-goal attempts.

Zorn praised rookie WR Malcolm Kelly, who caught a few balls and did not seem out of place. "I thought he did great," Zorn said. "He didn't make any mental errors." Zorn is kicking himself for a play he called to Kelly in the end zone, knowing it did not put the rookie in position to succeed there. "I wish I had the call back," he said, also irritated at himself for a call he made on third-and-10 as well.

Zorn continued to praise the work of his secondary - that unit has been pretty stellar all season - with Greg Blache able to work all four corners into the game plan and execute several big matchups (Shawn Springs returning and shutting down Bobby Engram in the slot was the biggest one to me, with Seattle going to the inside receiver with such regularity and that often is Hasselbeck's primary target in clutch situations).

Zorn sounded like he is bracing for a fine to WR Santana Moss for a head slap at a defender (he got a 15-yard personal foul on the play).

Zorn attributed part of Washington's troubles in stopping the perimeter run game to Seattle's concentration on that part of the game, the ability of Seahawks back Maurice Morris to quickly stop and go, his team missing too many tackles and Seattle's tight ends being able to handle the Redskins' ends in critical situations. This is will be a vital area against the Giants.

Zorn liked the way Blache and his staff tried to move struggling DE Jason Taylor around, getting more active, but also conceded that the $8-million man is not really making many plays.

"I don't think he has gotten into any comfort zone yet," Zorn said. He likened Taylor's shifting roles to an offensive lineman being asked to switch around the line (though Taylor has been seeking more of a hybrid, moving-part role in this defense), and admitted that lining Taylor up at left end on running downs wasn't really working. Zorn said that with Taylor and Carter both speed guys and tweeners, they need more of an inside push to be effective.

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 24, 2008; 1:32 PM ET
 
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Comments

First

repost

Some people act like the Skins didn't know this guy was a gamble. Duh, that's why we drafted another WR and a receiving TE, because Devin Thomas WAS a gamble with potentially a lot of upside.

Posted by: TheTruth11 | November 24, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that the #1 WR on most everybody's projections is a "duh" project but if that is so true than we're even dumber than I thought wasting that high a pick on a gamble when we needed so much at other places like our lines and I don't know linebacker where we might be starting Alfred Fincher this week.

Posted by: zjfr2 | November 24, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: zjfr2 | November 24, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah, so that was JLC with the $8 million question.

When will MRI updates occur?

Posted by: Rypien11 | November 24, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I like having this centerfield type FS position that we empoly Landry to, he does a good job at it howeva did any one else notice the one and only play they sent him up to the line on he was in on a tackle for loss of yards.
We created that postion for ST and had Landry step in to fill it after the happenings. He does a great job in that role but everyone knows it is not his stong suit.
I would like to see Springs back there in that role when healthy and get landry back up to the line to do some damage. This would be a perfect week for it. the giants have one of the best rush attackls in the league and with all out Lbs hurt we need as many solid tacklers and physical players close to the line as we can get.
Once again practically every play we have sent Landry to the line good things have happened. Put him back up there this week, he dosent have any preseason rust and will be more then happy to reaquaint himself with Jacobs.
Not saying this move needs to be made out of a lack of production on his behalf it neds to be made because it is obviously his game to be closer to the line making contact on as many plays as possible.

Posted by: Stu27 | November 24, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Stu27 | November 24, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else find the word "tweener" to be kinda dirty?

Posted by: alex35332 | November 24, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think that the #1 WR on most everybody's projections is a "duh" project but if that is so true than we're even dumber than I thought wasting that high a pick on a gamble when we needed so much at other places like our lines and I don't know linebacker where we might be starting Alfred Fincher this week.

Posted by: zjfr2 | November 24, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: zjfr2"

We thought he was a solid first round talent, but we passed on our chance to get him in the first round because, my belief is, of exactly this. We knew he would be a gamble but his potential could be really high.

Then he just happened to fall, and he was still a 1st round talent to us.

Dude cry all you want but Santana Moss had 2 catches for 40 yards his first year.

Steve Smith had 10 receptions and 8 fumbles in his first year with 0 TD's.

Neither player was cut because GM's/HC's don't post on the Redskins Insider blog under zjfr2 (thank god).

Posted by: TheTruth11 | November 24, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Stu27:
Once again practically every play we have sent Landry to the line good things have happened. Put him back up there this week, he dosent have any preseason rust and will be more then happy to reaquaint himself with Jacobs.

You sure you really want that? You remember Jacobs steamrolling Landry in the season opener, right? I think we definitely need to put more pressure on the QB and on stuffing the run, esp. next week, but I'm not sure about the Landry-Jacobs match-up.

Posted by: alizadk | November 24, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

If you go cutting WR's after 11 games, you'd have cut some damn good players, including our very own Santana Moss.

Posted by: TheTruth11 | November 24, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Why do people keep thinking I'm saying cut him? I never said cut him, I'm not saying cut him, and I don't think they should cut him, but I am saying he has disappointed and it isn't a good sign that another rookie with nowhere near the same amount of reps as he's had just waved at him as he flew past him on the depth chart.

Posted by: zjfr2 | November 24, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"Does anyone else find the word "tweener" to be kinda dirty?

Posted by: alex35332"

nope, it's an oldschool rasslin' term

Posted by: TheTruth11 | November 24, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Wrassiling is kinda dirty.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 24, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

dude, you said he was a bust, after 11 games.

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but look at what Truth said, Moss had 2 catches his rookie year, and Steve Smith had 10. Thomas has surpassed them both so far.

Lets give this one a bit more time to play itself out before we call it a bust, shall we....

Posted by: BeantownGreg | November 24, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I like having this centerfielf type FS position that we empoly Landry to, he does a good job at it howeva did any one else notice the one and only play they sent him up to the line on he was in on a tackle for loss of yards.
We created that postion for ST and had Landry step in to fill it after the happenings. He does a great job in that role but everyone knows it is not his stong suit.
I would like to see Springs back there in that role when healthy and get landry back up to the line to do some damage. This would be a perfect week for it.

...............................

Posted by: Stu27 | November 24, 2008 2:39 PM

Stu - I think they should get rid of that position now that the greatest player to play that position is now gone from this earth. No one can compare, not even Landry........

Posted by: 4thFloor | November 24, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

We play 3 safeties.

Let Springs work the deep coverage/center-field.

Let Horton and LL police the "edges" to blow up the running plays.

I'm sure LL would like to have another crack at Jacob's knees this week...

Posted by: p1funk | November 24, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry - apparently there is some kind of special formula that guarantees that a player should acheive x amount of success in their first year as an NFL draft pick - of all 3 major sports, the NFL is the sport where a first year player might make NO impact (perhaps because their team already has strong players ahead of them, ahem, or because the club prefers to place them on a slow track, or maybe their learning curve is just higher) and they may still prove to have strong value in their 2nd or third year.

Stop trying to say that someone is a bust already after 11 games. It makes no sense. If Thomas had been on the field for 80 % of the plays, and had umpteen drops, yeah, I'd buy it. But that is not the situation.

In basketball, pure skill can allow a player to show flashes of brillance in their first year; in baseball, rookies usually have had 3 or more years of minor league seasoning, but still usually do not start off at a high level. In football, with a new system to learn, a longer schedule, stronger players, the first year is GOING to be an adjustment period. The receiving position is probably the hardes to learn other then QB.

So stop already - you haven't seen enough of Thomas to know if he's a bust.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | November 24, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: Cindy Boren | November 24, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Stu27:
Once again practically every play we have sent Landry to the line good things have happened. Put him back up there this week, he dosent have any preseason rust and will be more then happy to reaquaint himself with Jacobs.

You sure you really want that? You remember Jacobs steamrolling Landry in the season opener, right? I think we definitely need to put more pressure on the QB and on stuffing the run, esp. next week, but I'm not sure about the Landry-Jacobs match-up.

Posted by: alizadk | November 24, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I think like I said he still had some preseason rust, remember he missed the entire preseason with injury and that was the very fisrt game, i have no problem with him manning up on Jacobs I really dont and look forward to it this week.
And if you want more pressure on the QB thats another reason to send him up to the line thats one of his greatest assests the guy was the player that the QB last looked at to see where he was lined up in college due to his ability of being a pass rusher, he had some devistating sacks in college and the way we are getting to the QB we need anyone and everyone with pass rush ability rushing the passer.

Posted by: Stu27 | November 24, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Re: Steve Smith:

He had 10 catches in the last 3 games b/c he had been hurt most of the year, not b/c of production. Actually If your going to talk S. Smith compare him to Kelly, a dude who struggled with health but when he got on the field helped out the Giants quickly at the end of the season and into the playoffs.....

Posted by: chrislarry | November 24, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Notable receivers and their # of catches in rookie year...
Cris Carter: 5
Issac Bruce: 21
Santana Moss: 2
Joe Horn: 2
Kennan McCardell: 1
Irving Fryar: 11
Henry Ellard: 16
Hines Ward: 15
Chad Johnson: 28
Plax Burress: 22
Steve Smith: 10
TO: 35
Irvin: 32
Reggie Wayne: 27
TJ Housmazoo: 21
Ricky Saunders: 14
Devin Thomas: 11
Malcolm Kelly: 3

Posted by: MonkMossMann | November 24, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Steve Smith and Santanna are a few of the examples of developed over times guys, but there are plenty of get it right away guys to, Colston (a 7th rounder), Boldin (a second rounder)....

Let's test your theory, second round wideouts from 2005 or earlier, that's three years so no excuses right?

Reggie Brown
Mark Bradley
Roscoe Parrish
Terrence Murphy
Vincent Jackson (the best of the bunch)

2004

Devery Henderson
Darius Watts
Keary Colbert

hardly a impressive list, in those same drafts in the same round (2) players taken at positions of need for us that we ignored for 2 receivers and a tight end.

2005
6 current starters on OL and DL out of 8 picks at oline and dline

2004

6 current starters out of 9 picks at oline and dline.

Posted by: zjfr2 | November 24, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Why do people keep thinking I'm saying cut him? I never said cut him, I'm not saying cut him, and I don't think they should cut him, but I am saying he has disappointed and it isn't a good sign that another rookie with nowhere near the same amount of reps as he's had just waved at him as he flew past him on the depth chart.

Posted by: zjfr2 | November 24, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen you say to cut him, but you do keep calling him a bust. Draft busts don't exist until they give up on the guy and he's gone with no contribution.

But to your point about Kelly passing him on the depth chart, it is a "duh" because Kelly has more experience at the position. Thomas had very limited exposure (and limited coaching) to a REAL passing game in school, but Kelly started his freshman year, and played a lot in a solid offense with solid coaching.

Zorn said long ago that anything they got from either one THIS SEASON would be pure bonus, but in camp, Kelly looked so good that everybody got their hopes up for him to step in right away.

I honestly thought he'd take ARE's spot as the two within a couple weeks of the season opener before he got hurt.

Posted by: craig2 | November 24, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

So stop already - you haven't seen enough of Thomas to know if he's a bust.


Posted by: JohnDinHouston | November 24, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I was fighting with Bean earlier on this.

I won't say Thomas is a "bust", but I believe Thomas's proper place right now is #5 WR on the depth chart.

He has shown no progress in the 10 games he's been active for, despite getting multiple opportunities to show his stuff. His playing-time to penalty ratio has got to be the WORST on the team by far. Our opinion of him is so low that if he can get on and off the field without drawing a flag and without botching his route, we pat him on the back and talk about how much he's progressing.

The problem, IMO, is with expectations. The FO did NOT draft him with the expectation that he would be a long-term project. They obviously expected him to contribute this season, and, perhaps, in a big way (no other logical reason for keeping only 3 veteran receivers on roster, especially w/ Kelly's injuries). Other fans seem to think he should step into the #2 or #3 WR spot off the bat and just run plays to him until he "gets it". I personally think this is ludicrous.

Posted by: p1funk | November 24, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Jason, thanks for asking the Suisham question! Nice to know the media actually listens to what a fan asks!
Paul

Posted by: achilleas11 | November 24, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

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