You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

Zorn trying to stay calm for return to Seattle

- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2008

It took Antwaan Randle El very little time Wednesday morning to realize this week will be different for Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn.

When the Redskins travel to Seattle for Sunday's game, it will mark Zorn's return to a franchise where he played and coached for a combined 15 years.

During a game-plan meeting, Randle El said Zorn was "jumpy," and running back Shaun Alexander called Zorn "giddy" despite a two-game losing streak that has dropped the Redskins to 6-4.

"I hope he can contain himself," Randle El said. "But he's already excited. He's a little jumpy. You can tell in his movements. A little added extra [emotion], and you can understand why."

Quipped left guard Pete Kendall: "I just figured it was the coffee, but maybe it was something else."

After practice, Zorn called facing his old team "cool" but otherwise downplayed the significance of facing former boss Mike Holmgren and former quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

"I have work to do, so I'm not going to be walking around as though it's something super-great," Zorn said. "I really need to walk around as though we're going to do our business, and that's what I'm going to continue to concentrate on."

Kendall, who started his career with Seattle, said the first meeting against a former team carries different emotions.

"Seattle is personally in my rearview mirror, but for Jim I'm sure it's much different," Kendall said. "He had a much bigger impact on the franchise and was there in its infancy, and is in their Ring of Honor and been a great part of their success. I'm sure it will be a special visit for him."

Zorn played nine years for Seattle and coached there for six years before joining the Redskins. He visited Seattle in 1999 as Detroit's quarterback coach and won 28-20.

"When I saw the schedule before the season, I laughed because it is so ironic," Zorn said. "I thought [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell put the thing together and said, 'Take that!' But in reality, we have to play every team in the NFC West, and this is part of it. I think it's pretty cool, really."

Six don't practice

Kendall (knee), Randle El (ankle), running back Clinton Portis (leg, knee), linebacker Marcus Washington (ankle), left tackle Chris Samuels (knee) and defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery (Achilles) did not practice Wednesday.

Only Washington and Montgomery are iffy for Sunday.

Portis said his body feels better than last week at this time and vowed to play.

"I'll be playing this week, no ifs, ands or buts about it," he said. "It's coming along and it's sore, but it's nothing I can't fight through. ... I didn't have the leg drive and I couldn't get my knees high to pull out of stuff [against Dallas]. As far as running the ball, I did OK but as far as breaking tackles and getting a burst of speed, I didn't have that."

Cornerback Shawn Springs (calf) participated in the entire practice and is expected to play after missing four consecutive games.

Discussing Taylor

In anticipation of next week's one-year anniversary of Sean Taylor's death, Zorn moved a collage of pictures that hung outside his office into the team auditorium Wednesday.

"I wanted to make sure these guys knew he was the kind of player that they wanted to practice like and play like, and that's part of the memory we need to keep alive on this team - the kind of player he was," Zorn said. "Next week, things are going to be a little tender. I wanted to make sure I brought it up now so it wouldn't catch anybody by surprise next week."

Voting domination

The Redskins' incessant attempt to garner more Pro Bowl votes from fans is evidently working. They have the leading NFC vote getter at 16 positions, including all four special teams spots.

The notable nonleaders are quarterback Jason Campbell (third in the NFC) and defensive end Andre Carter (second behind the Giants' Justin Tuck).

Three weeks remain in the online voting. The fans', coaches' and players' votes each count for one-third of a player's total.