- The Washington Times - Friday, October 23, 2009

Jim Zorn is mostly down to challenging the ruling on the field. That means he gets to toss the red flag in the vicinity of a referee.

That is subject to change in the mad, mad football world of Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato.

To those who say the Redskins have become the Raiders of the East, that is not fair to Zorn. At least he has not beaten up one of his assistant coaches.

If he ever decides to wring Cerrato’s neck, he will have to get in the back of an increasingly long line.

The Redskins are the No. 1 story in the NFL this week. That normally is difficult to achieve if your record is 2-4. It is not so difficult if the team’s brass is stuck on dysfunction.

The talking heads around the NFL - a number of them with Super Bowl rings - find it odd that someone who was plucked from a bingo parlor two weeks ago is now in charge of the Redskins’ playbook.

That either does not say much for the quality of the playbook or Snyder.

It could lead to a whole change in terminology.

B-5, I-22, hut, hut-hut.

Bingo, anyone?

It is one thing to be a bad team. It is another to be a bad team with a serious clown element.

It has taken Snyder 10 years to nearly double the value of the franchise and reduce it to a punch line.

When Snyder assumed control of the franchise, he was big on accountability.

That meant all the secretaries and water boys had to go.

Snyder seemingly prides himself on being an all-knowing motivator. But no motivation is necessary in a league that lacks guaranteed contracts and can stick anyone on the waiver wire in a moment’s notice.

Most players have all the shelf life of a gallon of a milk. They know that dread better than Snyder, an astute businessman who apparently is tone deaf to the noise about him.

Snyder might as well go for it at this point. He could try to hire Marv Levy as the coin-flip assessor.

Heads - Zorn twists in the wind another week. Tails - the Redskins, in another effort to force his resignation, announce that Zorn’s parking space has been turned over to the equipment manager.

Snyder actually has done Zorn a tremendous favor. He has removed the media glare from Zorn and put it on himself. This is no longer about the putrid offense. This is about a team run amok.

Zorn is merely the martyr in this twisted affair.

St. Jim is burning at the stake, while Snyder and Cerrato devise yet more schemes to advance the cause of the Redskins. Who knows what’s next? No one saw B-15 coming.

The highly frustrated Redskins fans are either threatening to sell their tickets to Eagles fans or burn their tickets in protest.

The only thing that would elicit a collective roar of approval from them would be an announcement from Snyder indicating that he plans to sell the team.

That is not about to happen. Snyder is a winner, except on the football field. He has not made the correlation yet that being incredibly competent in one area does not necessarily result in being incredibly incompetent in another area.

The late Jack Kent Cooke was overbearing, irascible, but was restrained enough to trust his football personnel. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of paying them?

Another thing about Cooke: He loved the sparring that goes with the media. Whether he liked or loathed an account in the newspaper, he was likely to have his secretary place a call to the author of the piece on the morning of its publication and take over from there.

That is the antithesis of Snyder, who maintains a muted profile while the national media goes about portraying him as a George Steinbrenner wannabe without a clue.

By the way, it is time for everyone to forget dreaming about Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden or Mike Shanahan or Mike Holmgren or Brian Billick coming to D.C. to save the franchise from Snyder and Cerrato.

You say $10 million should do it?

I say why would a Super Bowl champion come here with his choice of positions?

I say, given the damage done to this franchise, $20 million is the new $10 million.

You do not come to the nation’s capital to build a football reputation. This is now where football reputations die.

You can tell by all the ex-Redskins lurking on the airwaves. They are mostly ex-Redskins from the ‘80s, the glory period of Joe Gibbs and the franchise.

As much as Snyder and the Redskins have been blistered in the media this week, the worst is probably yet to come.

That would be Monday night before a national television audience.

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