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Zorn: Offense's Image Not an Issue

Jim Zorn spent a lot of time talking about the running game during his weekly press conference with guard Pete Kendall teasing that he might lose his West Coast Offense membership card if he keeps pounding the ball on the ground.

Zorn knows his offensive linemen are loving it, it's working, and the Skins have rushed the ball more times than anyone in the NFL (234, Baltimore is second with 215) with Clinton Portis the league's top rusher. Zorn said he is comfortable going with it, while still maintaining balance in the overall play-calling (the Redskins have attempted 202 passes).

"I'm not trying to create any particular image," he said.

The ground game carried the day Sunday and Zorn thought Jason Campbell's accuracy was a bit off, with the groin problems a likely factor. Zorn joked that if he were to walk into a meeting with the linemen and say, "We're going to change. The West Coast is a passing game. I forgot," he would get a mutiny.

Zorn praised center Casey Rabach, who lined up against a 3-4 front with gargantuan tackle Shaun Rogers on top of him for most every snap, and more than held his own despite giving up considerable height and weight to the 350-pounder.

"I tip my hat to what Casey did," Zorn said. "Casey had to block him mano-a-mano, and it was hard."

Zorn also showed some love to two rookies - tight end Fred Davis and wide receiver Devin Thomas. Thomas hasn't worked his way into the regular offense yet, but ran down return specialist Joshua Cribbs in the coverage unit on special teams. "He decided that this was his niche," Zorn said of Thomas's willingness to relish an unglamorous role.

Davis was on the field more Sunday than he had been all season, with Zorn making a point of trying to get him active and involved (even calling an ill-fated reverse for him). Davis did not make a catch, but ran the correct route and was ready to make the play a few times, with some of Campbell's inaccuracy coming at his expense, including one play when Zorn saw a sure touchdown had the ball arrived.

"He probably would have scored on it, but Jason threw the ball out of bounds," Zorn said. When Zorn graded the film he called the pass "a must completion,' and said Campbell regrets it. On the reverse, Zorn thought it could gash the Browns, but they ended up blitzing to the side where the reverse was designed to go.

Zorn took some heat for not using all of his timeouts at the end of the first half - the Redskins missed a field-goal attempt there - but defended his strategy, saying that above all else he does not want to leave an opponent with too much time to make a drive of its own.

He felt confident that his offense could continue to pick up positive yardage and with 90 seconds left and three timeouts, he felt no pressing urge to use them. "I know the risks and everything, but if we throw the ball and stop the clock and leave that team with 50 seconds left, and they've got one timeout, then they can go the distance. And I don't want it to be that way."

Zorn loved the intensity that the Redskins defense brought on Sunday. Linebacker London Fletcher was all over tailback Jamal Lewis, and that physicality becomes very disruptive to an offense, Zorn said.

"We kind of arrive [at the ball] with an attitude," Zorn said.

One final note on the injuries, Zorn said he is looking into whether orthotics or arch supports or other mechanisms might be able to curb the prevalence of calf injuries that have struck the team (the hamstring is so 2007; the calf is all the rage now).

"I can't figure it out," Zorn said. "I'm trying to look into it. One year it's everybody's hamstring, then the next year it's quads, and this year we've had some calf muscles."

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 20, 2008; 1:29 PM ET
 
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Comments

I dunno ... this looks highly leveraged during a credit drought as it is ("The venture, named Legends Hospitality Management, borrowed $100 million several weeks ago. The Cowboys and Yankees each own a third of the company; Goldman Sach has most of the remainder."). I'm guessing that Goldman Sach's "capital" contribution is "in the mail."

Posted by: dcsween | October 20, 2008 1:13 PM

Sween - The Skins are worth over a Billion Dollars and Congress just approved $700 Billion Dollars to Wall Street (Which is really $1.3 Trillion Dollars but no one really cares because we will be dead when it's time to repay and the election will be over when the US Americans get the real numbers). They (and specifically Snyder) can still get credit.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 20, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

HAIL HAIL HAIL HAIL HAIL HAIL HAIL

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 20, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

OK. I feel the need to rebuke all the jinx-donkeys on this blog who are already treating Detroit like they are the Citadel.

Haven't we been through this before? You were probably the same guys toasting a 41-0 victory that never took place against the Rams the week leading up.

Now, of course, I expect and hope for us to win. But let's just treat the situation like we are going to play another professional team who has players that also get paid. Treat it like any other week; rest the guys who absolutely NEED it; play everyone else.

Once you start pulling guys out with nicks/scrapes, I can't imagine you are setting a very serious tone of preparation for the game.

Posted by: p1funk | October 20, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

This dude reminds me so much of Gibbs. He has adapted to his team.

But, people still must hate on him.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 20, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg has the lowdown on the guys (thankfully clothed) who ran onto the field Sunday. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2008/10/s_moss_and_randle_el_discuss_t.html#more

Posted by: CindyBoren | October 20, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Detroit scares the heck out of me.

They're like a stick of dynomite, getting ready to blow!
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 20, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

We need to play our guts on this Sunday.

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 20, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Fletch went all PSU Arrington on Jamal's @ss.

Posted by: Stu27 | October 20, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

We need a repeat of last years 34-3 beat down.

Posted by: mattsoundworld | October 20, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"OK. I feel the need to rebuke all the jinx-donkeys on this blog who are already treating Detroit like they are the Citadel."

No edskins game-score predictions from me, ever. Nor will I voice any opinion regarding the upcoming game between the Redskins vs. the Lions. But I firmly believe that a match-up between the Lions and the Citadel would be low-scoring hard-fought battle, but that in the end, the Citadel would probably prevail.

Posted by: tafka | October 20, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Stu I had the same thought. Anyone who doesn't love Fletcher doesn't like football, probably hates unicorns and puppies as well.

Posted by: Gweez | October 20, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Skins 27 - Lions 10
Heeeeee-Haw!

Posted by: dlhaze1 | October 20, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I'd say the run-pass differential is also likely to the fact that they've been winning games, making them more likely to be in a position to run out the clock late in the 4th quarter.

Also, in 4 of the 5 plays I noticed they ran that had motion (non-goal line situations), they were runs. Given that Zorn doesn't like motion much, and that the running game is carried over from the Gibbs playbook, have teams or could teams see motion in the middle of the field and immediately know it's a run?

Posted by: Jon_L | October 20, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Fletch went all PSU Arrington on Jamal's @ss.

Posted by: Stu27 | October 20, 2008 2:46 PM

Good Comparrison......

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 20, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Also, in 4 of the 5 plays I noticed they ran that had motion (non-goal line situations), they were runs. Given that Zorn doesn't like motion much, and that the running game is carried over from the Gibbs playbook, have teams or could teams see motion in the middle of the field and immediately know it's a run?

Posted by: Jon_L | October 20, 2008 3:01 PM |

One of these weeks, you will probably be seeing a long TD pass come out of one of these pre-snap motion plays. When defenses see the motion and begin to anticipate "run", Zorn and JC will have a surprise for them.

Posted by: tafka | October 20, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: tafka | October 20, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Detroit scares the heck out of me.

They're like a stick of dynomite, getting ready to blow!

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 20, 2008 2:16 P

I'm with this comment, plus the one in an earlier post about how thinking about "resting" starters is the wrong attitude to take into a game.

Skins have to play this next game smart ... and aggressive. Playing on carpet is risky enough for injuries ... losing focus is another trap for injury.

And if the lightning don't get ya either, the injuries will.

Posted by: dcsween | October 20, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"...Skins have rushed the ball more times than anyone in the NFL..." Jason LaC

Is that more than any single player in the NFL? (In which case, the statement is logically correct but of marginal relevance.)

Or does it mean that the Skins have rushed more than any TEAM in the NFL? (In which case the statement is logically flawed, because last I checked the Redskins were in the NFL, and had not actually rushed more times than themselves.)

Posted by: GoTeamGoTeamGooooooTeamYay | October 20, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

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