- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2008

As a quarterback for most of his life, the Washington Redskins’ Jason Campbell knows the importance of avoiding trouble. It’s called escapability, a valuable asset in dodging onrushing defenders - and coach Jim Zorn when he starts to get mad.

“He’s got this little spit to him when he yells,” Campbell said, laughing. “I’ve got to lean back. It let’s you know he’s kind of angry right now.”

But Campbell doesn’t mind. He knows Zorn, who doubles as the Redskins’ quarterbacks coach, shares his passion and can relate to his position. Zorn, a former NFL quarterback, has been there.

“He understands,” Campbell said. “He’s been in a lot of the same situations. He’s been through adversity. He’s been through a lot of the highs and lows of the NFL, and he understands what it takes and how you’ve got to persevere.”


Rookie Colt Brennan, who played at Hawaii for ex-NFL quarterback June Jones, sees another benefit.

“When you have that much interaction because your head coach is also your position coach, it allows him to see you a lot more,” the sixth-round draft pick said. “If you’re successful, it makes a bigger impression.”

Zorn served as quarterbacks coach with the Seattle Seahawks for seven years and for nine years in college before that. As the expansion Seahawks’ first quarterback, he earned a place in the team’s Ring of Honor.

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren hired Zorn in 2001 to work with Matt Hasselbeck. Four years later, Hasselbeck started the Pro Bowl after he led Seattle to Super Bowl XL.

“I can run into [Zorn] in March at church, and we’ll spend 30 minutes talking about a drill he thought up where I can work on something that would have helped me on that play, against that team, that would have helped us win the game,” Hasselbeck told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2006. “I’m very, very lucky I have him as a coach that way.”

Can Zorn have the same effect on Campbell? As Campbell learns the intricacies Zorn’s West Coast offense, he has sometimes looked shaky during the preseason. But his teammates said he exudes more confidence than before.

“This is a new system, but he’s taking it on full charge, showing confidence in the huddle in terms of getting people where they’re supposed to be,” wide receiver Antwaan Randle El said. “And he’s not afraid to take a chance on making a throw. It might be a tight squeeze, but he’s gonna try and stick it in there.”

Campbell’s development “is a process,” Zorn said. “It’s not like instant coffee. You don’t just add water and shake. It takes time.”

It also takes extra time on Zorn’s part.

“I’ve really been trying to pay attention,” he said. “I’m there in meetings, I’m there on the field and I try to impress my will on the quarterbacks.”

But he can’t do it alone, which is why the Redskins have two quarterbacks coaches. Zorn hired longtime college coach Chris Meidt as an “offensive assistant,” who works with the quarterbacks when Zorn tends to his other coaching duties.

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