- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2009

For the previous five weeks, the season had actually calmed down for the Washington Redskins.

The Jason Campbell-led offense looked functional. Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo barreled into double-digit sack territory. And while the wins weren’t coming, there was evidence that improvement was being made. The drama of October had not carried over.

So much for that.

Thursday: Front office chief Vinny Cerrato resigned, replaced by new general manager Bruce Allen.

Friday: The Redskins reportedly engaged in discussions with former Denver coach Mike Shanahan.

Saturday/Sunday: Speculation swirled that two of Jim Zorn’s assistants had interviewed for his job.

Monday: The Redskins suffered a pitiful 45-12 loss to the New York Giants.

Goodbye momentum and hello controversy. Again.

“It was surprising,” Zorn said Tuesday of the giant step backward. “I think it was not expected and, when it happened and after it was over, everybody was a little shellshocked. It was very hard to deal with as I watched it [Tuesday].”

Zorn saw a Redskins team that was overwhelmed by the Giants’ running and screen games and had no answer for a torrid pass rush that put Campbell on the ground nearly 20 times.

“We didn’t play with the passion, the focus, the intensity, the effort needed,” linebacker London Fletcher said. “It’s a situation where you’re playing at home, against a division opponent, it’s ‘Monday Night Football’ - and you put that performance on tape? You put that performance out to let everybody see? It’s not acceptable.”

While defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth questioned the team’s leadership and defensive scheme, cornerback DeAngelo Hall probably spoke for the entire locker room when assessing how Allen viewed his first game with the Redskins.

“Bruce Allen pretty much got a head start on evaluating talent,” Hall said. “And if he looks at what he saw today, he’ll scrap this whole thing.”

Zorn will be at the top of the wreckage when Snyder decides to begin the purging. Zorn’s job security was one of several topics he addressed during a news conference that lasted less than 11 minutes:

c Haynesworth: “I just think we’re all going in different directions, and we need somebody to lead us in the right direction,” the $41 million defensive tackle said. “You can take that however you want to.”

Zorn said he wasn’t aware of Haynesworth’s comments and chalked it up to the frustration of another defeat.

“After a loss, there are a lot of things said, and the meaning could probably go in many different directions,” Zorn said. “I wouldn’t want to speculate on what he meant. I know we have great leadership from the coaches to the captains and the players on this team.”

c Assistants going after his job: A team source said defensive coordinator Greg Blache did not interview for Zorn’s job. Even though secondary coach Jerry Gray declined to comment after the game, there remains some mystery as to his involvement, if any.

“I don’t really have an answer for that specific question [about Gray] or my longevity here questions,” Zorn said. “I try not to be an investigative reporter; I try to be the head football coach and be open with our staff and players about the important things as they pertain to the game. … That’s really the focal point, and that’s what I’m called on to do - not to go and try and figure out all the extras.

“There are so many things out there, I don’t know what’s true or what’s not.”

Zorn said the coaching staff remains united despite the outside noise.

“I believe our staff is pretty together,” he said. “We’re frustrated we’re losing, and we’re trying to eke out every single opportunity to put our guys in the right position so they can be successful and motivate them in such a way that they’ll go out and play with a passion. It takes a staff being together to do that. I feel pretty good about our staff. I don’t even know all the stuff going on.”

c Working with Allen: Zorn said the two have had several conversations since Allen replaced Cerrato.

“He’s doing a tremendous job getting himself up to speed,” Zorn said. “I’m very impressed with his actions and his attention to the workings of our program. We’ve had some positive conversations. Everything has been up-front and positive and straightforward. We’re moving in the right direction.”

c The fake field goal fiasco: Zorn stuck to his guns on calling a fake field goal after showing part of the trickery that caused the Giants to call timeout. New York quickly snuffed out the play and intercepted Hunter Smith’s pass as the first half expired.

“We thought it was a good enough play that they had to call timeout,” he said. “Had they not had a timeout, we probably would have fared better. I wanted to try it again. I didn’t think they saw enough of it, because they didn’t see the snap and what was actually going to happen. Looking back on it, I would have kicked the field goal.”

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