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With that experience as a guide, Zorn never stopped coaching Campbell and never stopped treating him as anything but the Redskins’ starting quarterback.

Few can relate to what Campbell experienced since last season ended, but Zorn can. That allowed him to deftly handle the spring full of chaos by speaking to Campbell privately and not listening to the outside noise.

“I kind of have rules for myself - I don’t read, listen or watch,” Zorn said. “I have other people read, and I only need to hear the really significant things, and it doesn’t have to do with the Redskins per se, but the league. I try to stay focused on what’s true and what I know inside and what we were trying to get done.”

Once training camp started and the Campbell situation was squashed, Zorn tried to get more things done by not trying to get everything done and creating a better rapport with veterans.

He let players with four or more years experience stay at their homes, throttled down the level of hitting during camp and was more open to listening and delegating.

“Last year being his first as a head coach, he felt like he had to control everything and it was all on him,” said Smith, his former teammate in Seattle. “He’s held still accountable for everything, but he’s not responsible for all of it. He’s grown into the position, no question.”

The coaching staff spent the start of last season learning the personnel and each other in addition to Zorn’s offense. This season, the coaches already are on the same page.

While the question of whether Snyder will pursue another mega-coach in January will hover over Redskin Park all season, the coaching staff is privately and publicly confident that Zorn is the right guy at the right time.

“We’ve made some great improvements,” offensive line coach Joe Bugel said. “[Zorn] is a great listener, and I think he’s a hell of a leader. He listens and confers with his assistants. It’s not like he says, ‘I know everything.’ He’s been super.”

Campbell: I need to be better

When the Redskins tried to ditch him, Campbell was disappointed. But he cemented his status as Mr. Even Keel by not lashing out publicly. He knew bluster would do him no good.

“This easily could have gotten blown out of control and proportion, and that definitely wouldn’t have been the good way to go because you don’t want to burn any bridges or have anything carrying into the season,” he said. “Had I said something or done something out of the ordinary, it would be something we’re still dealing with now instead of moving forward.”

Instead of taking the Cutler approach (whining), Campbell said all the right things, which means he basically said nothing.

But he admitted he was tested.

“There’s no denying it stung him,” Collins said. “You want to feel wanted and appreciated and have people share that sentiment.”

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