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Zorn Focuses on Third Downs and Red-Zone Offense

Jim Zorn didn't change the way the team practiced coming out of the bye, but he did change several points of emphasis.

He delivered the cold, hard facts to his offensive players about where they stand in two key categories, which he believes have prevented the offense from becoming as productive and diverse as it could be. In meetings, the players heard frequently about third-down efficiency and red-zone proficiency.

Zorn is already given to spending more time in practice on certain situational drills than Gibbs and his coaches were - such sessions are more of a staple in the West Coast Offense practice schedule - but with so much to cover and only so much on-field time available, Zorn is trying to balance the need to focus on normal first- and second-down play with these other elements (as an aside he thinks the two-minute offense, in general, is operating fairly well).

The Redskins are 23rd in red-zone scoring, and only eight teams are worse than they are on third-down offense (36.4 percent).

"Each situation deserves its amount of time," Zorn said. "But you try to have the purpose and intention of emphasis on where we're really at, and you can talk about statistics and emphasize where we're really at and I think that's a bit of a reality for the players. And it really is what you emphasize. You can't emphasize too much more time [in practice], because then that takes away from something else."

Zorn said the red zone is particularly tricky because he is already constantly demanding more tempo from the offense in general, and in the red zone often things need to be amped up even more.

"When you get inside the 20, things happen faster," Zorn said, "and what I've been trying to do is get our offense to speed up everything just in the open field. And now you ask them to ... go faster, and we haven't even got quite in the passing game where we want to be yet and now I'm asking them to take a double leap."

Zorn said he is pleased with the general scheme inside the red zone, and would love to see a little more accuracy from Jason Campbell in these instances. Of course, having another solid target or two for Campbell to look for when teams clamp down on Santana Moss and Chris Cooley would go a long way, too.

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 14, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

First

Posted by: Flounder21 | November 14, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

WTF,

Where is everyone today?

Posted by: Flounder21 | November 14, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

WTF,
Where is everyone today?
Posted by: Flounder21 | November 14, 2008 9:29 AM

JLC didn't bring up Leigh Torrence in this post so there is nothing to talk about.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | November 14, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Without Leigh Torrence we are doomed on offensive 3rd downs.

Posted by: MonkMossMann | November 14, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I actually think 3rd down conversion is more important at the moment, we've been winning by controlling the time of possession. Gotta keep the O on the field!

At least they won't be facing the Steelers D on Sunday. I'm nervous, but optimistic of the 'Skins squeaking out a win.

HTTR!

Posted by: stevebeagrie | November 14, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Of course, having another solid target or two for Campbell to look for when teams clamp down on Santana Moss and Chris Cooley would go a long way, too.


By Jason La Canfora

I am sure if Torrence wasn't cut he would been able to help in this area.

JM220

Posted by: icetotalpackage | November 14, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I think we should have only focused on 3rd and red zone. We have had 12 weeks of the first and second stuff, we should know that back and forth...

I believe this game will come down to a 4th or 3rd and goal.... Skins 17 - Boys 14

Posted by: Zeebs | November 14, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I stand corrected.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | November 14, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Zorn knows better than me, but why not use kelly/thomas down in the red zone if nothing more than a decoy.

i understand they're still pretty green, but they should have enough command of the offense to be able to execute a few routes down in the red zone.

im tired of hearing about romo.

Posted by: rambo2000 | November 14, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

JM, we get it. What happened to all the soliloquies? About love and peace... now just haterade.

Posted by: Zeebs | November 14, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

*NEWS FLASH*

The AP reports: "Leigh Torrence will be announced as Secretary of State after Obama realizes he's a better jammer than Hillary."

Posted by: Pulldownclaw | November 14, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Steinberg had a thing about the DC fanbase, for sports. I did a breakdown on where we rank in terms of fan support vs the other 4 team cities.

Let’s see, terrible sports town eh, Skins seem to have the most attendance per-game each year, yes there are between 5-20,000 fans for the opponent, but in a 92,000 seat stadium only the Steelers and Cowboys can put up fan numbers to scare you, but those teams travel well, and always have. The Nats are too new to be counted, but if they are active this off season people will be into it. If the Wiz want to get attendance up they would just go back to being called the Bullets, I don’t mind the gold uniforms but hate the teal and yellow how can you support a team with those kind of PR issues, stupid name+uncool look=low fan base. Caps are setting attendance records this year. And attendance counts for something, something big, but does not earn a banner.
Here are your 13 cities with a team in the big 4 sports. Some of them don't have an MLS team for what its worth and 1/2 of NYC's teams play in . If you were to rank the fan bases I think we are in the middle of the pack. Here is my subjective ranking of the rabid fans when balanced out against all their teams, this is unfair to CHI and NYC as they have so many teams in the same sport & some have crummy fan bases.

1.Chicago, Illinois (by sheer volume the greatest sports city)
2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (but the fans are butt annoying and maybe the dumbest too)
3. Boston, Massachusetts (see Philly but ad the word wicked randomly)
4. New York City, New York (yanks and giants fans are solid but the rest are average at best and they seem to have 40 hockey teams that no one knows about)
5. Dallas, Texas (biggest bandwagon franchise in the US is there so they edge us out but the city itself is just a bunch of fat loser rednecks)
6. Washington, D.C. (see description above)
7. Denver, Colorado(I bet you can't name all 4 of their teams if you try real real hard)
8. Miami, Florida (A culture of failure in most sports, who cares the city will be under water in about 25 years)
9. San Francisco, California (49ers are a joke now, the Giants had Bondsgate)
10. Detroit, Michigan (the blackout for the Lions is a sign of a dying city)
11. Atlanta, Georgia (The fans come out to watch but don't really see many diehards)
12. Phoenix, Arizona (a transplant's city so no crazy loyal fan base to any sport, until recently the Cardinals were not shown on TV in the city)
13. Minneapolis, Minnesota (single stadium for 2 sports and they may lose the Vikings)

Posted by: alex35332 | November 14, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and Flannel Thongs Friday to the Hamster Nation.

Posted by: Pulldownclaw | November 14, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Is it me or is there a distinct lack of intensity being emitted? This is DALLAS WEEK!!!! WTF? I do not feel good about this game for many reasons. Most of which you all have talked about. I feel like this game is even more must win for us than Dallas. I feel like we have been going backward for a few weeks and a loss here, at home with the chance to take a decisive lead in the wild card race says we don't want it. Anyone else?

Skins 13 Cowf*cks 21

That was crazy painful to write.

Posted by: 44riggosranger44 | November 14, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Ive got my optimism hat on today 44

Posted by: Zeebs | November 14, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

JM, we get it. What happened to all the soliloquies? About love and peace... now just haterade.

Posted by: Zeebs

I still have the love and peace. But I have always called out bs (remember that is what the hanmmer was all about).

JM220

Posted by: icetotalpackage | November 14, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

7. Denver, Colorado(I bet you can't name all 4 of their teams if you try real real hard)

Broncos, Nuggets, Rockies, Avalanche...do I get a prize?

Posted by: 44riggosranger44 | November 14, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Skins 13 Cowf*cks 21

That was crazy painful to write.


Posted by: 44riggosranger44 |

Were'nt you up here the first time we played the Cowgirls crying about how we were going to lose.

The Cowgirls are not a good team, we punked them once with all there starters healthy, I am worried about the RB situation but I know this team can beat the Cowgirls.

What have you seen from the Cowgilrs to make you think we will lose?

Posted by: Flounder21 | November 14, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Night Games Are Lame,
I think we will win this one, but I freeking hate that this game is on at prime time, 1:00 games are alwayse better than night games in terms of overall quality of play. DC is a town where we have to work on Monday morning and too many "fans" will leave the game early.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 14, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I disagree alex, i went to the ravens monday nighter 3 years ago and have never seen such a raucous crowd. Those are the diehards because they choose to miss work.

Steelers was an anomaly.

Posted by: Zeebs | November 14, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Alex,
Philly fans shouldn't be sniffing your top 10....they look good right now because they won the world series. Even the Orioles would sell out playoff games. I live up here; the fans suck. Period. Back as soon as 1998, the Eagles were not even selling out their home games; before the Reid/Mcnabb era (once they made the playoffs, that is), the local Fox tv station had to buy the last few thousand tix each week. I could go to the stadium from 93-98 and buy Redskins/Eagles tix from the box office on game day. Eagles/Sixers/Phillies fas are the biggest bunch of fair weather, bandwaggoners on the planet. Even the one guy ON THE PHILLIES called the fans frontrunners in an interview. The only fans that are actually year round faithfuls are for the Flyers. Overall, the fanbase up here sux, and the local media is even worse that yu could imagine.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | November 14, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Were'nt you up here the first time we played the Cowgirls crying about how we were going to lose.

The Cowgirls are not a good team, we punked them once with all there starters healthy, I am worried about the RB situation but I know this team can beat the Cowgirls.

What have you seen from the Cowgilrs to make you think we will lose?

Posted by: Flounder21 | November 14, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse


Flounder...no...I am not normally negative. I am know as a ridiculous Homer most of the time, looking at the world through Burgundy and Gold colored lenses. Or Maroon and Black...whatever...but I am not feelin' it from the team this week. It is not that I think Dallas is all that...I certainly didn't think much of the Rams either...I am just worried about where our heads are at.

Posted by: 44riggosranger44 | November 14, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Well 44, the last 4 games have shown we arent where we thought we were prior to those games.

Hopefully rest and refocusing of the coaches will go a long way.

Posted by: Zeebs | November 14, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Can we get a little Malcolm Kelly in the red zone?

Posted by: wrkiller21 | November 14, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I am just worried about where our heads are at.

Posted by: 44riggosranger44 | November 14, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Dude....huh?? I love anyone with "Riggo's Rangers" in their name, but I couldn't get my feeble mind around this one. I have many concerns - can we protect Campbell, will Springs tweak a glute, hammy, another calf, etc, and most of all, will CP and/or Ladell play...but where their heads are...not a concern of mine. This is our hated rival. This is a quasi-playoff game in November. I don't think focus/intensity are a problem. Can you explain?

HAIL

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | November 14, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Well 44, the last 4 games have shown we arent where we thought we were prior to those games.

Hopefully rest and refocusing of the coaches will go a long way.

Posted by: Zeebs | November 14, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse


Hope so. Hope I am dead wrong. Would love to see a good old fashioned beating of the Boys...it would go a long way for the teams confidence after the Pittsburgh thing.

Posted by: 44riggosranger44 | November 14, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I am just worried about where our heads are at.

Posted by: 44riggosranger44 | November 14, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Dude....huh?? I love anyone with "Riggo's Rangers" in their name, but I couldn't get my feeble mind around this one. I have many concerns - can we protect Campbell, will Springs tweak a glute, hammy, another calf, etc, and most of all, will CP and/or Ladell play...but where their heads are...not a concern of mine. This is our hated rival. This is a quasi-playoff game in November. I don't think focus/intensity are a problem. Can you explain?

HAIL

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | November 14, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

LMG,

I hear you. No question we feel it. The idea that the team wouldn't is pretty illogical. I guess I am more worried about our confidence after the Pitt loss and the fact that we are going into the game with a lot of question marks health wise. I am worried that the team doesn't think we are the same team we were in earlier weeks.

Confidence and swagger go a long way...

Posted by: 44riggosranger44 | November 14, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the "red zone" did I ever tell you about the time George Carlin yanked my chain?? I was down at the old Biograph in Georgetown to catch the porno matinee (they would show artsy-fartsy foreign films at night, "Borat Does Dallas" during the day)..I slithered into one of the back corner seats to , well, calmly watch the film and, well, DO THE DIRTY DUCK..I was calmly doing the "NY Yankee" when all of a sudden, the guy on the end of the aisle pulls up next to me and REACHES IN FOR A PIECE OF THE ACTION..I turn look at him bugeyed and its GEORGE FREAKIN'CARLIN.. STARING AT ME BUG-EYED!!! I said "GET THE F*** AWAY, A**HOLE!!!" and moved farther into the corner seats..I would have hit him but it was the famous goatman himself...I proceeded to resume my "Dirty Duck" routine..He did the same..true story..

Posted by: frak | November 14, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't trying to p**s in everyone's cornflakes...just a gut thing...

Posted by: 44riggosranger44 | November 14, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Dallas week means you take off the following Monday.
Cant believe all the doom and gloom. Even without Portis we have a better team then them, theyve regularly had big numbers 30+ put up on them in the meantime our D is playing great.

Posted by: Stu27 | November 14, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

44 the era of gut feelings is over....lets stick to analysis, trends, match-ups and game planning. Skins didn't lose to Steelers b/c they didn't have heart, but because they got beat by superior skill and execution.

Skins will be "up" for the game, no doubt. Since Gibbs return the culture of effort at Redskins Park has been rekindled. IF they lose it will be due football reasons, not "lack of heart"

Posted by: chrislarry | November 14, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm a HATER!

I HATE frickin' Dall-ass! If I were the King of the World I'd nuke that piece of shti city and mushroom Fort Worth with it. I'd banish Jerrah to Siberia, would sew T.O.'s mouth shut, and would force Rony Tomo to be a permanent contestant on The Dating Game with fat, ugly broads. Stars would be illegal, cowboys would be spelled cowturds, Michael Irvin would be impotent and get Alzheimers, and their new stadium would be swallowed up in a sinkhole.

HATE! HATE! HATE! HATE!
Can you feel it?

Just sayin'...

Posted by: ILikeSonny | November 14, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

i feel it. everytime i see a star flag on someones car I want to deflate their tires. makes me so sick, those people are the like the anti-Christ

Posted by: skinzfan4 | November 14, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Yeah I'm very worried this week as well. I hope to hell I'm wrong... but since beating philly we've gone downhill. Cowgirls aren't a good team right now but either were the RAMS (still makes me sick!) Browns and Lion's were both very competative and then we get blown out by Blitzburg.

Also I hope Portis doesn't play b/c I'd rather have him healty next week than him re aggrevating the knee sprain and than being out 4 weeks (essentially rest of the regular season).

Man those "3" 2nd round draft picks are working out well !!!


Posted by: cwprice2 | November 14, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

We won't get much Kelly becuase he has not yet been healthy enough to get into game shape. If they put him in there he'd be ineffective. He won't put Thomas in there in red zone situations becuase he doesn't trust that the rookie won't do something stupid to mess up their scoring chance.

ILikeSonny:
I wouldn't nuke Dallas. It has some of the best brass pole establishments I've been to. They are BYOB to boot.

Posted by: akmzrazor | November 14, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

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