Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jim Zorn is original -- and pretty quirky

ESPN's Elizabeth Merrill wrote a fascinating article on Jim Zorn today that included plenty of quotes and anecdotes from his time with the Redskins and earlier in his career. Two things caught my attention.

First, Zorn might not be on Gilbert Arenas's level when it comes to quirkiness, but he's close. Here are three quotes from the article that demonstrate just how different Zorn is from other coaches (and people for that matter):

  • Zorn: "There's a method to what I'm doing. I'm not just kind of bouncing down the stream here like a pebble. I do have a plan. We've got things in place in an organizational standpoint where we're going hard and fast."

  • London Fletcher: "I think initially, you may be a bit taken aback, so to speak. You're kind of like, 'Oh my goodness, who is this guy?' Then you realize that's his personality, and you kind of just appreciate it. He's not trying to be somebody else. He's very comfortable within his own skin. It's refreshing."

  • Zorn: "I always look at the patience of the NFL game. We have sort of the patience of instant coffee, you know? You pour hot water over instant coffee, and poof, we've got coffee here. But the best coffee is the coffee that's brewed."
I'm sure you get the idea.

Second, Zorn commented on the Jason Campbell offseason situation:

A few months into the offseason, after the Redskins' offense sputtered in an 8-8 year, Zorn sat Campbell down in his office. He told Campbell that the front office was looking into the possibility of obtaining Jay Cutler, who was disgruntled in Denver.

The conversation lasted about 10 minutes. Near the end of it, Zorn encouraged Campbell to stay focused and everything would work out. Zorn knows he could've lost his quarterback there, or in the following weeks when the Redskins mulled over Mark Sanchez, who was eventually drafted by the New York Jets.

"I tried to be as upfront with him as I could," Zorn says. "I just think with myself...it's easier for me if I'm dealt with up front than sort of this circumventing, and then on the back end of this thing you finally find out what the truth really was."

I'm glad that Zorn talked to Campbell and was open and honest with him. I don't think the Redskins treated Campbell very well this offseason, but he's still the starting quarterback and will need to improve.

I'll be honest too: After Joe Gibbs retired, I didn't want the Redskins to hire Zorn to coach the team; I wanted them to hire Gregg Williams. I thought Zorn would take the team in the wrong direction and, basically, would be a bad hire. But I have to admit that I like what he brings to the table. He's different and it's refreshing. He obviously works hard, and he devotes everything he has to the team. But he isn't sacrificing who he is to accomplish the goal of winning.

Unfortunately, this season, which will be Zorn's second with the Redskins, may be his last if he doesn't guide Washington to the playoffs. John Clayton agrees. So, while I'm glad Zorn is an interesting guy and is extremely quotable, he needs to win right now -- or else he's gone. Is that fair? Not really, but that's Dan Snyder's way.

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