Coach Zorn maintained the same frank openness at this press conference as he has through the preseason, as well as the same optimism. If the team continues to struggle offensively as they did in the first quarter yesterday, that optimism could very well start coming off as completely baseless, but for the moment it still sounds like a confident man implementing a new and complicated system. Some
- On the positive side for Jason Campbell, he “protected the ball. No interceptions, no fumbles from the quarterback position.” The major concern, according to Coach Zorn, is pretty much what everyone’s been saying: “Locking in on a receiver, not turning a receiver down.” But the Zorn Confidence remains firmly in place: “I’m not concerned about the total package,” he said, “just specific things.”
- The other concern regarding Campbell is his speed — Zorn wants him to move faster. The coach dismissed the question of Campbell being an immobile pocket passer, though, noting, “He’s got enough athleticism to to speed up his game.”
- Clinton Portis was roundly praised, despite the running game as a whole being classed as “average” — “Good to see a back strain for everything,” Zorn said. “I loved it. He played violent.” Even Clinton’s sideline presence received kudos. “He was great. He didn’t say anything negative at all. He said keep calling that inside play.”
- Stephon Heyer’s performance also received better reviews than some might have expected. “Excellent for his first go,” despite some communication problems. As far as the first play, though, Zorn completely absolved Heyer: “The sack was on Jason,” he said, with finality.
- Zorn also laid out his somewhat unusual thinking regarding clock management in the fourth quarter. After getting the ball with 6:12 left and hitting a 26 yard pass, Zorn was trying to conserve timeouts and call plays that would go out of bounds to stop the clock. Unfortunately, the plays didn’t actually make it out of bounds. The reason for conserving timeouts? “If you put their offense on the field with no timeouts [for us], the take knees. If we didn’t get an onside kick, we have timeouts to force the punt.” From a certain point of view, this worked — they did use their timeouts to force the punt and get the ball back with 1:31 left. The problem was, there was still a two-score deficit; scoring prior to giving the ball back was a fairly important part of the overall scheme. To his credit, Zorn was blunt about the issue: “Not going no-huddle was probably the issue for me,” he said, and also, “I probably wasted a minute of the game.”
- Coach Zorn also reiterated that Cooley was much more in the gameplan than it might have appeared, and that a number of plays that would’ve gone to Cooley were negated by penalty. Those of you who have in fantasy football shouldn’t give up hope just yet.
- Injury updates. Fred Smoot has a hip pointer, which Zorn described as “Okay, just a painful injury.” Zorn expects him to be ready for Sunday. Shawn Springs couldn’t put weight on his foot yesterday, and there was no update on his condition. Jason Taylor came out of the game no worse for the wear. Kareem Moore continues to nurse his hamstring, Kedrick Golston is recovering from a jammed knee, Khary Campbell a “nagging grab of the quad,” and Malcolm Kelly is still in wait-and-see mode.