Watching Coach Zorn dribble the football in practice — something he makes look confusingly, perplexingly easy — is less interesting than hearing his press conference. But not by much — it’s surprisingly hypnotic. (Photo by Ned Dishman.)
- London Fletcher apparently tried to explain to Coach Zorn that the Seattle/Oakland rivalry isn’t comparable to Redskins/Cowboys, but Zorn is continuing to downplay the significance. “I felt much like I’ve felt in the past about rivalries. It’s just a big game. I didn’t have a sense of hate. I didn’t have a secret T-shirt on saying ‘Beat Dallas’ or whatever.” This begged a follow-up question, which was asked: did you have have secret Raiders T-shirts? “Yeah, Raiderbusters! AbsoLUTEly!”
- I didn’t hear him use the word “medium,” but Zorn did manage to work in one of his other favorite words, calling Marion Barber a “violent” running back. I should be tallying this.
- On Carlos Rogers stepping up, Zorn called it “an awesome job,” and called special attention to the fourth quarter series where Rogers made three straight plays defending Terrell Owens: “He put his stamp on that series. It was totally him.”
- Every time Coach Zorn talks about calling plays, I think of chess players (even though I hate the football:chess comparison for a variety of other reasons). This comment from today, for example: “I’ve always felt comfortable calling plays. I always have the next play in my mind or on the tip of my tongue.” Further on that subject, he claimed to have no feelings of “I told you so” about the long wait to become a head coach. This is the one thing he’s said that I’m not sure I completely believe, even though he says it perfectly convincingly.
- One of the few calls Coach Zorn has made that has felt like a bad choice to me was the fade to Santana Moss in the corner of the endzone toward the end of the second quarter. That’s a throw for a tall receiver, or it was before the new force-out rules — and Zorn agrees. “I was mad at myself,” he said, acknowledging that it was a questionable call in that situation.
- Someone asked if it was a busted coverage that had gotten Santana Moss so very open on the 53 yard completion from Campbell, and Zorn actually bristled a little bit. “That was the play,” he said. “It wasn’t a broken play, thank you very much.” While his faux-anger was amusing, the most entertaining thing about his analysis of the play was that he actually seemed to be managing slight disappointment that Campbell hadn’t — throwing on the run, remember — managed to lead Moss to the endzone. “I couldn’t fault Jason on the throw,” he said, “even though it was short.”
- For all his focus on playcalling and gameplanning, Zorn is candid about what is most important. “I brought the gameplan into the offensive meeting and, ‘Okay guys, here it is … and it means NOTHING without execution.’ Scheme is good, but execution of the scheme makes all the difference.”
- Zorn attributed his fondness for the “hip hip hooray” cheer to Chuck Knox, who used it in Seattle, acknowledging that it seemed old school even then, but “kinda fired me up.” Told that George Allen had done the same thing here in D.C., Zorn almost beamed. “I couldn’t believe that” when I heard, he said. “That’s providence.”
- Injury updates: Stephon Heyer tweaked his shoulder. Randy Thomas has a little turf toe. Shawn Springs is managing his calf injury. Jason Taylor is reportedly walking around. And for all of these guys, we’ll have more details on actual status and availability on Wednesday. One thing the players have to be aware of, Zorn noted, “is the difference between being injured and being sore.” Because everyone is going to be sore after a game like that.