- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2008

Q: It was time for another 45-minute press conference/lovefest at Redskin Park. How did new coach Jim Zorn fare?

A: After the first 12 minutes, Zorn was insightful. He was understandably nervous while hitting on a couple of topics he probably was forced to mention. But once the questions came, he was collected and gave the media a slight view into his personality — he will be long-winded. The only reason the press conference ended is that the power in the auditorium began to go off and on.

Q: Dan Snyder used continuity and stability during his remarks. How wrong is he?

A: He’s somewhat off-base even though everybody wearing burgundy yesterday was using the same kind of terminology. On defense, there is consistency because new coordinator Greg Blache said the scheme will not change, and he wants players like cornerback Shawn Springs, defensive end Phillip Daniels and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin to return. On offense, it’s a massive change whenever a new playbook is introduced. The run scheme, Zorn said, will remain the same, but the West Coast passing offense could mean some growing pains early in the 2008 season.

Q: Did Snyder or executive vice president Vinny Cerrato give any insight into the process?

A: Snyder didn’t offer anything new. Cerrato gave some hints about how the interviews went. He said Gregg Williams had two interviews and a dinner, the Redskins had a “discussion” with Pete Carroll and Zorn was the only person offered the job. Cerrato added that in exploring some of the candidates, the Redskins would talk to as many as 50 people connected with the candidate.

Q: How exactly did Zorn go from new offensive coordinator to new coach?

A: Reconstructing the events, Zorn was working Thursday at Redskin Park (his second day on the job). He was told Snyder wanted to have lunch with him at the owner’s Potomac mansion. Zorn then discovered his interview for head coach was soon starting. He left the house and returned later in the afternoon for the interview. On Friday, Zorn was offered the job and accepted.

Q: What were the assistant coaches saying for most, their first public statements since Gibbs retired?

A: Defensive coordinator Greg Blache broke his nearly two-year silence. He gave a wide smile when Zorn said he basically would be hands-off when it comes to Blache and special teams coach Danny Smith. To a man, the coaches are obviously glad they still have jobs and seem enthused by the hiring of Zorn.

Q: Zorn has never been a head coach or coordinator in the NFL. How steep will his learning curve be?

A: It’s going to be an interesting climb. Zorn might call the plays this season, and that’s another thing on his plate. He’s a quarterback expert, and he will have to find time to teach and coach Jason Campbell without being stretched too thin. He said several times how much he will have to trust his staff.

Q: What did he say about Jason Campbell?

A: Given several opportunities, Zorn didn’t exactly heap praise on Campbell, not like he did with Clinton Portis and Antwaan Randle El and the coaching of Joe Bugel. Campbell better be ready to get some serious quarterback coaching from Zorn and whomever becomes the new offensive coordinator.

Q: Zorn said he was glad most of the staff was in place. Was that surprising?

A: It was, and it wasn’t. On the one hand, he doesn’t have a choice — he had to say he was glad the staff was hired before he was. On the other hand, he made a good point in that it would have been a tough task to put together a complete staff with the combine and free agency looming in a few weeks. But it’s good that Zorn will get to hire an offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach.

Ryan O’Halloran

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