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Zorn on Play-Calling, Noise, the Bye -- and More

Jim Zorn spent a fair amount of time going over the seven sacks, visiting team crowd noise, protection problems, etc.

At times he said the scheme and formations he chose failed to call for all of the blitzers to be picked up, and at other times his players lost individual battles, which resulted in quarterback Jason Campbell getting hit, sacked or hurried. And sometimes Campbell didn't "feel" the pressure quickly enough, getting caught holding the ball and not finding an open receiver. Sometimes the receivers ran imperfect routes, or the wrong route.

Zorn did not deny that the Steelers had some success overloading one side of the offensive line or another, however, a tactic we could see duplicated in the second half (particularly if Santana Moss is not 100 percent and lacks his usual vertical effectiveness). He said Pittsburgh unveiled some complicated blitzes they had not shown since 2007, but Zorn had a 2007 blitz card on them and was prepared.

"There were guys running free based on communication [between blockers on the field], and based on overloads towards the end," Zorn said.

The ridiculous amount of Pittsburgh fans at FedEx Field was a topic of conversation as well, with Zorn pushed on it several times, particularly the bizarre sequences when the Redskins had to utilize a silent snap count -- at home -- because the visiting fans were making so much noise.

The Terrible Towels were everywhere. "To see that many yellow towels, I'm thinking, 'Where are they getting all these tickets?'" Zorn said. Zorn said that switching to a silent count at times was not "an excuse" for the pass protection problems but did concede it was "highly unusual," to have to do this at home.

Zorn said the Redskins lost communication with Campbell from the sidelines, something that has happened frequently at home. He said it was a recurring hardware issue that left them having to signal plays in for much of the fourth quarter, and something he wants resolved for good. "I have to have an answer," he said. "It can't happen."

With the players off for the rest of the week, Zorn and his staff have begun self-scouting meetings, reviewing every play this season, tweaking the scheme, evaluating personnel and likely eliminating some plays that have not worked. He mentioning that some ineffective play-action calls could be left on the editing room floor. He expects "several concept ideas" to come out of the think tanks.

I asked Zorn about opting to go no huddle more in the second half, falling behind by two, and then three, scores, and he said he considered doing it with about 12 minutes left (it's a tactic he is not particularly fond of), but opted to try to take more deep shots and pick up chunks of yards that way. (The longest pass of the day was a 29-yard catch and run by RB Clinton Portis, so I'm not sure he was going to be in position to get chunks in this game. Perhaps he could have tried to change the pace on that defense and keep guys on the field.)

Zorn also admitted that in calling some of those "longer developing" pass plays, he opened the QB up to more pressure and that that risk often did not pay off.

On the blocked punt, Zorn pointed to a protection breakdown that let a rusher come free and said punter Ryan Plackemeier was not at fault. "The punter was not slow," Zorn said.

He also defers to the players on issues of uniforms and the like. When they came to him asked to wear burgundy-on-burgundy (and "they" in these cases often means Clinton Portis), he was all for it, just as he was when they wanted to wear white-on-white, saying, "I want what the players want," when it comes to ancillary stuff like uniforms.

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 4, 2008; 1:49 PM ET
 
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Next: Lessons Learned on Monday Night

Comments

Rest up and come back and take care of business. One tired game does not crush a season.

Posted by: kreitmaster | November 4, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Time out. Truth, you're up here calling people idiots or morons all the time. And, you're not the only one. But, damn, it gets boring and tedious. To my mind, someone who cannot find a better, more original epithet is, himself, a dunce, a tomfool, or a dimwit. Sort of like Pee Wee Herman, "I know you are but what am I?"

So, just to keep the blog fresh and clever, can we all agree to find better epithets than "idiot" or "moron"? Good, I thought so. And, to do my part, here's a few synonyms that you might keep in mind:

blockhead, bonehead, cretin, dimwit, dork, dumbbell, dunce, fool, ignoramus, imbecile, jerk, kook, nincompoop, ninny, nitwit, out to lunch, pinhead, simpleton, stupid, tomfool, twit


Posted by: talent_evaluator | November 4, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Our guys had a brutal game, but they've still had a heck of a first-half (more or less) and we ought to be proud of them. Now they need to go get rested and healthy and come back with renewed spirit.

Posted by: manalive | November 4, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Lets move on. Learn and move on. WE WANT DALLAS!

Posted by: alex35332 | November 4, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Zorn said the Redskins lost communication with Campbell from the sidelines, something that has happened frequently at home. He said it was a recurring hardware issue that left them having to signal plays in for much of the fourth quarter, and something he wants resolved for good. "I have to have an answer," he said. "It can't happen."

By Jason La Canfora | November 4, 2008; 1:49 PM ET

Sounds like the Redskins are also using Losable Type like the Post.

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

Wait.

Zorn is not fond of the No Huddle when were down BY THREE SCORES IN THE 4th QTR?!?!?

He has alot to learn in the NFL. I harkened on this same issue the week after we lost to the Giants and how he gave some excuse that made no sense as he did just now, but no one wants to call him out on it. No Huddle and having a sense of urgency is very important.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | November 4, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

They did use the no-huddle a little later in the game, did it solve the problems? NO.

I love how a beat report and a dude sitting behind a desk on the fourth floor of an office building no more about football than a guy who played the game his entire young life, and them has been coaching for almost 20 years.

Geniuses.

Posted by: craig2 | November 4, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I like the color scheme of the uniforms
last night, burgundy on burgundy.
It looks "Real Cool!" I would not mind
if they wore it for home games for
rest of the year. Go skins!

Posted by: madalao | November 4, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Well? Nobody has/can answer my questions about the Skins taking a week off in this situation? The Cowgirls are practicing this week - why can't we?

If we come out against The Cowgirls as unprepared as we did against the Steelers -the result will be the same - another loss.

Posted by: captjim | November 4, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Craig - Zorn knows more football than I do.

So, the point really is, why are you up here posting? Do you never post anything critical.

Do you just wear a cheerleaders outfit and sing Hip Hip Hooray whenever commanded to by Danny?

Let me know......

Posted by: 4thFloor | November 4, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

FYI all, John McCain is suing over the VA race and trying to extend mail in absentee ballots for Military personell already, if he wins and things go down the way that they could then we may not know who won the election till the 14th.

OH AND WE WANT DALLAS!

Posted by: alex35332 | November 4, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

4th, eat me pig.

Critical of your dumbass comment so I am a tool from "Danny"? Your not ususally quite such an idiot, what's your problem today?

The "no-huddle" isn't the answer everytime a team is behind late in a game. Your post indicated that your judgement of when to use the "no-huddle" was somehow far superior than his decision making, how exactly do you arrive at this, you and JLC sit around and call few "sources" this morning?

Posted by: craig2 | November 4, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Jim, can you back up your assertion that the team from Dallas is practicing this week??

Posted by: BeantownGreg | November 4, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: BeantownGreg | November 4, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Greg,
I thought I heard that too on Monday pre-game shows.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 4, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The coach-to-QB headset is probably on AT&T Wireless. Fewest drop calls my a$$.

Posted by: PDiddy | November 4, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I think it bigger than just the hurry up, some games they dont come out at with a since until the second half. I am not a patriots fan but their coach makes them come out with a sense of urgency from the begining.

Posted by: GreatOne1 | November 4, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

two plays 4 and 1, punt and throw to a lineman. Bad play calling at home.

Posted by: hotdogman | November 4, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

OH AND WE WANT DALLAS!

Oh no, Jason Cambell and his 6pt offense, look out now! Can't win a big game cambell in the house!

Posted by: Dfan | November 4, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Dfan - didn't Campbell rally the Skins from 10 down in Big D a few weeks ago and beat the Cowgirls? Or 9 points down in the 4th quarter at home vs. New Orleans? Or 14 points down on the road vs. Philly? Jason Campbell ran into a defense that was too good for his O-line who couldn't protect the QB or open holes. The Steelers would have beaten any team except possibly the Giants with the way they played last night...as for the Cowboys, haven't they gotten their heads handed to them 35-14 twice in the last 3 weeks? They are the most overrated team in 2008 and are lucky they aren't 3-6 after barely beating Philly and Tampa Bay at home.

Posted by: wizfan89 | November 4, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

+++There was NO execution from the Defensive players, save for Fletcher........

Posted by: 4thFloor+++

I must have seen a different game than you. I saw Evans get two sackss several tackles and disrupt Pittsburgh all night. I saw good effort form the interior line against a very VERY good Oline. I saw Horton resume his defensive rookie of the year level of play. I saw Rogers, except for a couple of egregious mistakes--do a fine job in coverage and tackling.

Sometimes a team can execute as well as it can and just get beat by a better team. That was the case Monday.

Whats needed on D is better players at key positions instead of washed up old vets brought in as stopgap measures..


Posted by: TheCork | November 4, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

+++blockhead, bonehead, cretin, dimwit, dork, dumbbell, dunce, fool, ignoramus, imbecile, jerk, kook, nincompoop, ninny, nitwit, out to lunch, pinhead, simpleton, stupid, tomfool, twit

Posted by: talent_evaluator +++|

Oh Puhlease, THAT’s all you got?

How about alactote, blatherskite, chattermucker, chuff, clinchpoop, clodpate, clodpoll, clumperton, cudden, Doolally, Dizzard, Dunderwhelp, fopdoodle, fuxduddy or giddypate? And that's just up to the G's

Posted by: TheCork | November 4, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Geez the way JLC talks all the time about second guessing the head coach....ESPECIALLY after a loss....Why don't we just hire you JLC saince you seem to know so much more than the coaching staff we have....From your posts, ( which is not reporting as much as it is always your opinion) you would do better ...let's just hire you since you seem to know so much about whats wrong in a game than the coaching staff.

Posted by: leevi98 | November 4, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game last night and I was mad as hell. First of all, shame on all of you "fans" that sold your tickets to a Monday night game. If you are going to sell the ticket, at least give it to a Skins fan.
Secondly, there were not as many Steelers fans as people are saying. I have had season tickets for years and have never seen so many visiting team fans in the seats, but there was no where close to the 30, 40, or 50% visitors we are hearing about.
Finally, the reason it seemed like there were so many Steelers fans was because they had something to cheer about. FedEx was incredibly loud during the first quarter. Not a coincidence that this was the only part of the game that Skins fans had anything to cheer about. The Steelers fans were loud because all of the Redskins fans were sitting there, mad as hell, watching the pathetic performance that our offense was displaying. Have no doubt that had we had something to cheer about for the final 2 hours of the game, the place would not have seemed so embarrassing.
I have never left a football game in so much disgust as last night.

Posted by: axglod | November 4, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"Visiting team crowd noise". What a disgrace. You can lay this defeat at the feet of little Danny boy. With 25,000 people willing to sell their seats to a bunch of morons from Pittsburgh tells me that his seats are overpriced and that real Redskin's fans can't afford them in the first place and these seats are purchased by corporations who divvy them up among the employees or don't bother attending. I can't wait for this little bastard to get rid of this team.

Posted by: MKadyman | November 4, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

axgold is right on point. The Redskins fans were extremely loud when the Redskins were playing well. The problem was that all of that noise was made in the 1st quarter.

Posted by: BT23 | November 4, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Evans was beasty, and the five sacks are %50 of what the Skins have got all year (atrocious!!)..Leftwich played above and beyond, as he is wont to do coming off the bench, but particularly against hometown team, he got big sky mind coming in for knocked out Ben..

"FYI all, John McCain is suing over the VA race and trying to extend mail in absentee ballots for Military personell already, if he wins and things go down the way that they could then we may not know who won the election till the 14th.

OH AND WE WANT DALLAS!

Posted by: alex35332 "

My niece's election registration was completely deleted from the Va. rolls, it's her first election and I don't trust nuthin' anymore. I'd expect this "suit" to be of the pre-emptive false flag variety that they are so famous to carry out, like the Republican provocateur across the way that baits you into a fight and then calls the cops on you, the coward..

Posted by: frak | November 4, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Shame on REDSKINS season ticket holders for selling their tickets to steelers fans. I'm embarrassed.

Posted by: umdjak | November 4, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I am a fervent Redskin fan who lives out of state, so it is easy for me to pass judgment from afar. Stating that, it was embarrassing to hear and see that many steeler fans in the stadium. Am I wrong in assuming that visiting fans never have that many seats at a steeler home game? We need Fedex field to be a true home field advantage and monday night it was not even close to that. I hope we dont see that kind of fan support for the upcoming cowgirls, giants and eagles coming to town.

Posted by: gallrick | November 5, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

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