Jim Zorn needs to be given at least one more year, preferably more, to make the Redskins into a team that is capable of going deep into the playoffs.
I'm not saying this because I think that Zorn is without flaws that need to be corrected. He has made mistakes and I'm not going to call them rookie mistakes. Rookies come into the league and enter an environment that is totally different from the one that they were used to in college. Zorn has spent virtually all of his adult life in the NFL.
Through observation he should know that you have to have your finger on the pulse of the team and know that a player like Clinton Portis isn't going to knock on his office door when he's ticked off about a coaching decision. You can't let Carlos Rogers stand there in the tunnel waiting to get introduced as a starter when everyone in Washington who had Internet access could find out that he had been demoted to second string.
From watching Mike Holmgren over the past seven years he should know that your sideline demeanor can set the tone for the rest of the team and that if you act frustrated that feeling can spread.
He appeared to be unprepared for other teams catching up with his offensive schemes. In this league, as soon as something starts working, you had better make plans to tweak it.
However, I will go on the assumption that he recognizes these mistakes, that he's not stuck on stupid, and that he wants to improve. In other words, I figure he meant what he said in his Monday presser when he said he felt like "the worst coach in America" and basically took responsibility for everything that's gone wrong short of the problems that General Motors is having.
If you're reading this, I don't have to chronicle all of the upheaval that the team has undergone in the past 10 years. The number of changes at the key positions—head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators and quarterback—has been staggering. You have to give Zorn some time to grow and learn and get the players to ingrain his system and philosophy into their brains and bodies.
I don't think that Dan Snyder will pull the trigger on firing Zorn this soon. If nothing else, to do so would be to admit that the long, drawn out coaching search of last January came to a disastrously wrong conclusion.
Had the Redskins reached their 7-7 record by winning one, dropping a couple, going on a mini-streak followed by a mild slump, there would be no talk of Jim Zorn being fired. They would be meeting the mildly optimistic preseason expectations of a .500 season. But the way they have gone from 6-2 to 7-7 has many people fired up.
But you are what your record says you are not matter how you get to that record. The Redskins are about where they've been for the past decade, not horrible but also not ready to contend for any kind of playoff run. Their best shot at changing that in the near future is to resist change and stay the course with Jim Zorn.
Rich Tandler blogs about the Skins at RealRedskins.com and he is the author of the upcoming book The Redskins Chronicle. You can reach Rich by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Zorn Must Stay
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