Possibly the biggest revelation of today’s press conference with Coach Zorn is that he’s started texting, in this case with Clinton Portis. “I’m learning to text now,” he said, making the universal Blackberry gesture with his thumbs. “My daughter says it’s the modern day phone call.”
Other, less crucial news from the press conference….
- Zornspeak to watch for in the second half of the season: suddenly. “We have to play more ‘suddenly,'” he said, “know our assignments, know our techniques, and it has to be sudden.” Like “stay medium” and “violent,” these things seem to start with a simple mention before rolling out into borderline catchphrases, so keep an ear out for “suddenly” and its many variants.
- I was relieved to hear that Zorn shares my worries about Santana Moss’s durability as the punt returner. “Antwaan Randle El is our punt returner,” he said. “At some point every once in awhile, we’d like to see Santana come in and return punts,” but he called the system “a tough balancing act.” It reminds me of how Joe Gibbs used to use Darrell Green in the old days, only bringing him out to return punts in the most crucial of situations — and even then, it led to a very famous rib injury.
- Asked if he was amazed by Santana Moss , Zorn started to say yes before more specifically parsing the question. “He’s doin’ what he does. I love to watch him,” Zorn said. “But is he doing the extraordinary? No — he’s playing to his abilities.”
- He had a similar reaction to a question about if Jason Campbell had exceeded expectations. “I have high expectations, and I think he does too.” The thing he highlighted about Campbell’s development is that “he is aggressive in his prep. The think I’ve been most surprised about, if anything, is that he’s played really steady.”
- Asked about the Clinton Portis disagreement, Zorn minimized the whole experience. “I didn’t want a player just to go on or off when he felt like it,” he said. Pressed to elaborate on if this sent a message to the team, the coach seemed slightly surprised by the question. “We’re all held accountable. I wasn’t trying to big-time him, and he wasn’t trying to big-time me.” He added later, “I don’t think it was anything [the team was] surprised at. ‘Oh, no, he’s talking harsh to Clinton! What are we going to do?'”
- He also teased Ryan O’Halloran a bit about their postgame incident (O’Halloran nodding in return) before moving on into a more detailed explanation of his temperament after games. “I’m trying to come down from the intensity of the game,” he said, later adding, “In my mind, I’m playing the game.” Prodded by Dan Steinberg, he acknowledged that this seemed to conflict with his most-repeated philosophy: “You know, I need to speak to myself about acting medium in those situations.” Not the sweep-the-leg-Johnny Zorn/O’Halloran karate match we were all expecting, but probably all the better for it.
- Zorn acknowledged that the team seemed a little down, a little low energy, even after the win in Detroit. He demonstrated how he had been entusiastically screaming “VICTORY MONDAY!” and “WE’RE SIX AND TWO!!!” and how the team had responded with tired golf-claps. It was something I’d noticed as well — starting the earliest, having the extra preseason game, and having the latest bye all combine to take noticeable toll.
- It was interesting (if unsurprising) to hear Zorn’s answer to a question about icing the kicker. “I’ve tried to look at the statistics,” he said, explaining why he doesn’t do it. I’ve never read the statistics, but even just glancing at this Esquire article makes a convincing argument.
- Injury updates!
- Jason Taylor had the procedure as expected. There was apparently some skin infection, but not the staph that’s been causing problems leaguewide, just a strep, which Zorn disgustingly described as “no oozing, kind of like what’s happening to my finger.” Taylor is unlikely to play on Monday Night, and will do nothing for the next three days.
- Chris Horton is improving, and should play.
- Santana Moss has a slight hamstring strain, and we’ll see how it heals up.
- Chris Samuels has a bit of cartilage irritating his knee, and they’re going to try to get him ready to play without any surgery.
- Clinton Portis is sore, but Zorn didn’t imply that there was any chance he’d miss time.
- Cornelius Griffin has been helped by the rest, and Coach Zorn thinks he’s going to play.
- Shawn Springs will be held out for the Monday night game, and hopefully the extra rest will have him well for the stretch run.
- Told that Greg Blache had described the defense’s performance as “like the south end of a north-bound skunk,” Zorn was both confused — “On video, what does that mean? What did that look like?” — and enthused: “That’s a great phrase. It’s a great hunting phrase.”