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.
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