The League

Leonard Shapiro
Columnist

Leonard Shapiro

Washington Post sports reporter, editor and columnist who has served on the NFL HOF Selection Committee.

Keep Zorn for Now

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The Washington Redskins 2009 season is over, with or without Jim Zorn. Team Turmoil, as usual, is in total disarray, and if you think firing Zorn in the middle of the year is going to reverse the Redskins misfortunes, think again.

The ghost of Vince Lombardi couldn't turn this team around in the short term, and Zorn at least ought to have the opportunity to see if he can pull a Joe Gibbs or a Marty Schottenheimer and salvage something, even if it's only his pride. You remember Gibbs going 0-5 in his first year, then finishing that season 8-8 on the way to four Super Bowls and three tiles. Schottenheimer also began 0-5 before 8-8, but he never had a chance to build on that record because he wasn't palsy-walsy with the owner, and wanted no part of Vinny Cerrato.

Smart guy Schottenheimer, a very good coach who probably would have built a perennial playoff team here if Snyder had kept him around. And if you think Bill Cowher will be next in line, think again; Schottenheimer was his coaching mentor in Cleveland, and they remain best friends. Cowher is not a candidate, end of story.

In any case, I can't recall any team ever replacing a head coach this early in the season and reversing its fortunes well enough to go deep in the playoffs. No Super Bowl championship team has ever had a midseason switch, nor, to my knowledge, has any team in the modern era (at least since 1970) ever played in a conference championship game with a head coach on the sidelines who wasn't there all year.

Everyone knows right now that Zorn is a Dead Man Walking. The best thing Dan Snyder could possibly do would be to let the 2009 season play out with Zorn still the head coach, still calling plays and possibly even giving more playing time to younger guys on the roster, the better to build for the next guy who shows up in January.

Of course, the very best thing Snyder could do would be to move his office out of Redskins Park, hire himself a new general manager with total authority to bring in the next head coach and then leave them both alone. Better to fix Six Flags, and blow up the roller coaster Redskins for which he has only himself to blame.

By Leonard Shapiro  |  October 21, 2009; 12:20 PM ET  | Category:  Coaching , Tennessee Titans , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Off With His Head! | Next: Trade Zorn for Phillips?

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To do what, Leonard? Make coffee for game-plan study? Do his best to coach-up some benchwarmers? Give out fake good vibrations at press conferences?

No.

What the Redskins need, besides Vinny Cerrato to be fired and The Daniel Snyder to look in the mirror, is a coach who can gather up his team and get them to play out the season on as high a note as possible. Maybe score some touchdowns. It's come down to that.

Certainly, the ghost of Vince Lombardi is not going to turn around this trainwreck. But certainly, a coach with a whisp of Lombardi's ability to formulate game plans, study film intently, and underscore a basic team discipline is greatly needed. Lombardi's ghost -- and Maybe George Allen's ghost's ability to drive players to win on mere guts -- would be perfect medicine right now.

Hell, a simple forward pass to a y receiver on a 30-yard post pattern would be enough to drive hope.

The Redskins under Zorn can't even get that.

Fire him. (And especially get rid of Cerrato.)

Posted by: Meepo | October 21, 2009 1:15 PM

Let him stay until the season is over.
I still believe that he could become a good head coach in this league. He has NOTHING TO WORK WITH. The talent on offense is crap. A mediocre QB, washed up running back, no offensive line at ALL. A coaching change is not the answer unfortunately.

Posted by: VaBroker | October 21, 2009 4:04 PM

Think of all the good Coaches the Redskins have had in the last 10 years. Think of all the top draft choices they've had. The problems didn't change or get better. Snyder is the problem.

Posted by: wasaUFO | October 21, 2009 5:01 PM

The Redskins lack passion from the owner on down. Because of this, I (a fan of 50 years) have become apathetic. Bring on the reruns of George Allen and Joe Gibbs celebrating big wins. Can anyone remember a big win in the last decade?

Posted by: Chum1 | October 21, 2009 8:42 PM

dan snyder is the problem players do not respect him and all problems start at the top thus no passion for football only collecting a paycheck. I have never seen washington play this bad no direction or scheme for team to follow

Posted by: BJ921 | October 22, 2009 1:43 PM

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