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Thorn, Torn, Zorn

Watching a quarterback coach ineffectively enhance quarterback play, seeing a 6-2 start translate into an 8-8 finish, and seeing two other rookie coaches (Harbaugh/Ravens, Smith/Falcons) lead their teams to the playoffs has Jim Zorn painted as the “goat” of the Washington Redskins. From well respected analyst and Redskin legends, to casual fans and fantasy football managers the consensus is the same, Jim Zorn is not producing enough points. To make matters worse there are five head coaches out of work right now who all have Super Bowl rings: Mike Shanahan (2), Bill Cowher (1), Tony Dungy (1), and John Gruden (1) Mike Holmgren (1).

When the Redskins announced Jim Zorn was the replacement for Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, I started to get that funny feeling in my stomach that this was a bad move. After growing up watching Redskin coaches including Norv Turner and Steve Spurrier, the term “Offensive Mastermind” no longer intrigued me. I was in the Greg Williams bandwagon at the time; I thought he had the players playing at a high level and chemistry and familiarity is vital for a successful franchise. Despite having huge shoes to fill Coach Jim Zorn had his Redskins playing at a high level in his first year. It seemed quarterback Jason Campbell had finally “got it”, running back Clinton Portis was on pace to break Redskin rushing records, and the defense had all the Greg Williams supporters momentarily humbled. The voice of opinion that was lost on not wanting Coach Zorn was changed into a cheer of victory, but it would only last half of a season.

The Redskins offense has failed to produce points consistently which has fans and former players wanting a change. Can you blame them? The 2009 Redskins have played six games this year and all their respective opponents were in last place. Jim Zorn has failed to revitalize the offense and it has Redskins nation looking for a change. Well, change has come in the form of Sherman Lewis. Jim Zorn’s play calling duties have been taken away from him. What will this do to a team midseason? The ramifications might be devastating. With the NFC East looking all but normal this past weekend, the Redskins season is far from over. Is Sherman Lewis really the answer? That question won’t be answered until game time.

We have seen Coach Zorn as the thorn in the side of Skins fans, and then torn from the duties he was hired for, and now we will see who Jim Zorn really is. Taking the responsibilities away from the head coach can be a humbling experience. It will be interesting to see how Coach Zorn reacts to having a new role as a coach. He now might be able to focus on the thing he does best, teaching. Jim Zorn was formerly a QB coach in Seattle and helped develop a Super Bowl quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck. There is no Super Bowl in the Redskins immediate future, but I like the character shown by Jim Zorn. Despite being ripped by everyone from legends to my mother, Jim Zorn has a mind for the game and can be a useful resource, but as a head coach he might need some more time.

Brandon Jarman


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