Protege believes Zorn is worthy

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PHOENIX — As the befuddling Washington Redskins’ coaching search took owner Dan Snyder and right-hand man Vinny Cerrato to the desert yesterday, site of Sunday’s Super Bowl, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck thinks one candidate is being overlooked.

Jim Zorn.

Hired as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator last week, Zorn was the Seahawks’ quarterbacks coach the last seven seasons. Hasselbeck has been named to the Pro Bowl three times in the last five seasons.

“I think he should be the head coach,” Hasselbeck said yesterday at Phoenix Convention Center. “When you look for qualities in a head coach, he’s got them all. He doesn’t have the experience, but neither did Andy Reid when he was my position coach in Green Bay and left for Philadelphia.”

By all accounts, Zorn is not under consideration to replace Joe Gibbs. The front-runner remains Jim Fassel. Ron Meeks has been interviewed twice, and there is still mystery surrounding Steve Mariucci — does Snyder/Cerrato deem him a candidate, or is Mariucci trying to get himself into the mix?

The Redskins’ fired assistants continue to move on.

Associate head coach-offense Al Saunders signed a three-year deal to become the St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator. A Rams assistant from 1999 to 2000, Saunders will assume play-calling duties from coach Scott Linehan.

“When Al became available and we were granted permission to talk to him, it became obvious he was the right man for the job,” Linehan said.

It is possible Saunders will add his son, Bob, and current Redskins quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor to the staff.

Former assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams, meanwhile, interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday but left without a contract. A league source said coach Jack Del Rio still wants to consider in-house options, including former Maryland coach Mark Duffner.

The source said Del Rio doesn’t want to change the Jaguars’ defensive scheme, which has his fingerprints, and that could be a stumbling block with Williams. Del Rio first targeted Rex Ryan, but Ryan opted to stay in Baltimore. Williams is expected to interview in St. Louis for the vacant defensive backs position.

While the Redskins’ head post remains vacant, both coordinators have been hired — Zorn and Greg Blache were named Saturday.

Hasselbeck said he and Zorn talked before he officially took the job with Washington.

“It was leaked out that he might be leaving for a while, but I didn’t think he would go,” Hasselbeck said. “I’ve been with him for a long time, and he means a lot to me not just as a coach but as a mentor. I think it’s hard for him because he has so many great memories in Seattle, but this is a great opportunity and a great challenge in Washington.”

Hasselbeck said quarterback Jason Campbell is getting a solid technician in Zorn.

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