Coach Zorn’s Day-After-Seattle Press Conference

Coach Zorn’s press conference today seemed, at least to me, to me more about content and less about charming, quirky phrases. (Although there were plenty of those — plenty of “violent”s and “heroic”s and so on.) It’s been instructive, watching Zorn learn to control his natural candor sometimes, learn to realize when something he’s saying might be misconstrued, learn to criticize players without throwing them under the bus. And all of those new traits were on display today.

On the relatively low scores the team’s been putting up:
“We’re trying to score 40, but it seems like … even on that third-and-one, when we tried to get Mike Sellers the ball. And bless his heart, he tried to handle the ball, but we always talk about, as quarterbacks, to running backs and tight ends, you’ve got to keep the ball in the core. And what I mean by that is, don’t put the ball so above his head, like he has to actually extend his arms, because it’s tough. They don’t get to catch a lot of balls like that. We’re always trying to put the ball here, at his face or at his shoulders.”

“But we missed that, and we had to kick the field goal. So we’re missing out on four points, we missed out on maybe eight points in that game in my mind.”

[There’s a back and forth as to how many points were left on the field, and it is pointed out that the team is 27th in points in the NFL.]

“I would like that to change, but I don’t want to go into our meetings and say ‘Guys, we’ve gotta rise up, we’re 27th! Come on, men!’ It can’t be like that. It’s just got to be that we’ve got to press on, and at some point, I’m hoping that we develop a higher level of point production because we’re better. Maybe we are only that good right now. I don’t feel [that way], but something’s not happening.”

On Shaun Suisham:
“I think that his kickoffs are a matter of him controlling the location of the ball. I think when you see a ball really spinning, I think that kicker has actually mis-struck the ball, getting a little bit too much – or maybe too less – of the ball. I think that’s all he’s doing.

“I didn’t even talk to him after the kick, because … you don’t necessarily have to rip a guy for that. He knows.”

On Mike Sellers:
“I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that our running back position was going to be more of a community position, and we put him in some third down situations, and then in other situations to spell Clinton, that helped us. And it was more for protection than for getting him the ball. There were a couple of times when Ladell should’ve been in there or Clinton should’ve been in there – like the screen.

“We were gonna use him on third down, but nobody knew I was calling the screen. So I called the screen and Mike’s in there, and everybody’s going, ‘Oh no! Mike’s in there!'”

“But it was really vintage what we used to do with Mack Strong. Mack Strong was our third down back, and you’d think, ‘Oh no, you’re throwing the ball to Mack Strong?’

“Absolutely. He’d put on 22 yard gains, and he loved it, and I thought it was wonderful that Mike had so much success yesterday doing different things.” [And let me interject here that Coach Zorn doesn’t get enough credit for “absolutely” as one his pet words. He has this way of delivering the word — “ab-so-LOOT-ley” that makes you really agree with whatever he’s assuring you of.]

On the pass protection:
“We have to be able to run, and we have to make sure we have enough protection to throw. We need to mix. I’m not revealing anything with that.”

On Clinton Portis’s health:
[The questioner explains how beaten up Clinton said he was, up to and including blood running down his arm after the game. Zorn mimes crying, then stops.]

“Clinton, he is banged up, truly. I’m not even trying to make light of it…” [he pauses and considers] “I guess I was. No, he really is interesting because … I told him yesterday, ‘The only thing I feel bad is, you did so well but you don’t like to practice.’

“He said, ‘Coach, I love to practice.’

“He really knows and is listening to what his body’s saying. And the trainers, they’ve got him in high gear with his treatments. He’s getting them all and he’s doing the right thing. So he is trying to get back, he did make an effort to practice last week. I think as little as he did practice, I think every one of those reps that he gets helps.

“I didn’t know about the blood trickling down. I think that’s … I don’t know. Was is squirting out, or…?”

Dan Steinberg explained that Mike Sellers had blamed the FieldTurf in Seattle for the contusions, and Zorn sort of shrugged, offering a terse summary of the situation.

“It is plastic grass, so there’s going to be some burning.”

On Clinton Portis in general:

“I think he’s effective on all three downs. You can get him the ball on first down, and he slashes or runs these cutbacks. If you give him the ball on third down, third and short, he knows how to get the first down. Usually you like the big running back, but he can get the first down.

“In the passing game, he can pass protect. He’s a violent pass protector. I think that’s unique to a running back of his size and his ability. Here’s the other thing about Clinton that people don’t really see. If he goes that way and a pass is thrown [to the other side of the field], if you’re a defender, he’s gonna get somebody, so you’d better keep your head on a swivel.

“Because if he’s over here and the pass was thrown over there, at some point somebody’s gonna get knocked down, because he’s gonna bring the hurt. The play’s not finished for him.”

On Malcolm Kelly:
“He did great. I thought he did what we asked him to do, he didn’t make any mental errors. I put him in a bind on one play where I called that pass that was in the end zone – I really called it into the boundary, and he got stuck running out of real estate.

“I wish I had that call back. And the call before that. There was two calls down there that I thought … it wasn’t a bad call, it was the timing. It was third and 10 down there inside the red zone and I … you know, I saw it twice today and I’m irritated even thinking about it right now.

“And then I put him in a bind there. But here’s what he did: when the ball was thrown to him, he caught it. And he was not intimidated out there. In fact, he did a nice job intimidating himself….

“So you know, maybe we can continue to get him more involved as we go along.”

And the quick injury rundown:
We’re waiting on MRIs on London Fletcher and Andre Carter, and will know more later. Kedric Golston has a bone spur in his foot, but Zorn is hopeful he’ll be available Sunday. Anthony Montgomery should be back, and Zorn suspects that Cornelius Griffin will also be able to play.

27 Responses

  1. Matt, thanks for the summary. I have heard/watched a few of Zorn’s press conferences and he definitely has a unique vocab and speaking manner.

    If you get a chance, can you hit Zorn up or other players up about how they feel about their own struggles thus far? Two games in a row, the long ball was thrown and looked to be catchable but the rcvr just couldn’t adjust enough. They should put Kelly or Thomas on the long ball as they can maybe adjust a little better?

    Also, how is Campbell doing? He’s got to be sore from all the hits he has been taking lately.

  2. So im pretty sure Portis will play this week, He won’t practice but he will play. It is the Gaints were talking about.

    And we had three 3rd and 15 and we called three screens, one to Portis one to Sellers and one big one to Moss. The screens killed the hawks’!



  4. Personally I would love to see Malcom Kelly become the No. 2 and Randle El move to No.3. I think this offense could do some serious damage. Sellers should also get about 4-5 touches a game. I think he is a valuable red zone weapon as well.

  5. I thought it was interesting that Malcolm Kelly was at flanker for most of the game, when, in training camp, Zorn said that he would be at split end and Devin Thomas would be the flanker.

    Kinda makes me wonder about Thomas’s maturity. I mean, he’s been in more practice/game situations than Kelly, yet Kelly is the one getting more PT, even after all the time that he’s missed.

  6. Matt, any chance on getting to Jason Taylor and asking his thoughts on Warren Sapp stating on Sunday that Jason told Warren he had been benched?

  7. I am also wondering about Thomas. In addition to greater practice time than Kelly, he is also a big receiver, faster, and has more YAC potential.

  8. Kelly at number 2 would be a great move. You heard Zorn today talk about what a good run blocker he is, in addition to having height, hands and speed.

    I hope these rookies come along in the next few games. The more formations the skins can have, the better the offense will be. Even though they struggled it was good to see trips, and 4 receiver sets. Hopefully thomas/kelly keep progressing so we can see 4 and 5 wide. It would be nice to see a double te set with Fred Davis assuming he can work his way into the lineup.

  9. did anyone else notice that if you highlight the smily face at the bottom it moves to a lopsided smily? just wondering

  10. I just now noticed the smiley for the first time. Now the fact that he becomes lopsided is going to drive me crazy.

  11. Just so everyone knows, the smiley is an artifact in the WordPress template that I’m using, and has no particular secret meaning. People seem very fond of it, though.

  12. Does anyone else notice that before we play a division game, Zorn seems to close the playbook up, or at least shorten it? I felt that before we played Dallas, in the Pittsburgh game, Zorn ran a lot of the same basic vanilla plays…and it hurt us. So did no TD’s in the red zone.

    This week vs. Seattle, I noticed one of the first plays was that Moss Bubble Screen, without any blockers. I also noticed a lot of short passes, where we were tackled immediately. Is it b/c we are playing Giants next week? We don’t want to show too much?

    I did like the fact that Zorn let Campbell go deep a few times today. Moss had a great opportunity along the left sideline, then he also was able to draw a pass interference call later in the game. I feel that the first play early in the game, helped bait the pass interference call later.

  13. Why didn’t Shawn Alexander get to play at all? I noticed Mike Sellers, a Washington native, was featured a lot yesterday, but no Alexander. Why?

    I love the fact that Sellers is getting some carries. He will be needed to next week to pound the Giants defensive front and wear them down. The combination of Portis/Betts/Sellers can be lethal.


  14. The big thing that worries me with the Giants is that Dallas exposed that we have soft corners on defense. Earth, Wind and Fire are going to have a field day with us. We need to get penitration with those front four….or maybe do something a little different.

    Either way, we have to improve the Red Zone Offense to win or it doesn’t even matter. In the preseason we were running screen passes and all kinds of position-favoring plays in the red zone, now we are running CP twice and then throwing a fade.

    What do you guys think we can do to slow this running game?

  15. Sorda Kinda pissed…Watching this Monday Night Game (Packers vs Saints)… This is the way The Redskins Offense should be…If it was (with The Redskins Defense) they would be the Best Team in the League…Once Brennan gets a few Live Reps…Forget it…Confidence Up…Like A Surgeon…Opposing Defense Down…Game Over…Skins WIN…

  16. The reason why is because It’s about Accuracy…With Precise Accuracy Comes YAC (Yards After Catch)…The abilty To Catch the ball on the Run without Hestitation because the ball is placed (thrown) where it needs to be…

  17. One thing to point out which should be obvious…You have to give Brennan a “Few Games” to get Comfortable And Take Charge…Portis is carrying the Offense right now…With Portis running and Brennan passing, Moss, and Randle El would have a Field Day… Maybe next year…

  18. What is wrong with this guy playtowin why are you always talkin about brennan we would be terrible if we had him in let him sit on the side ad learn a bit first

  19. True,

    I’d love to see Randle El in the slot, full time. He’d be an unstoppable threat. I’d like to see Evans play more on running downs, maybe giving Jason Taylor and Andre a breather.

    I’m glad they used the shotgun some yesterday, glad they went deep a few times, and I hope they keep doing some more of that against the Giants.

    All I can say vs the Giants is I hope all three of our DTs are ready for the game, I hope our pass rush begins delivering, I hope we keep the Giants offense off the field, and I hope Colt Brennan stays on the bench (for the rest of the season). I don’t know if Campbell is the answer, but I know putting a rookie in when we’re 2 games out of 1st in the East, and we’re in the drivers seat for a Wild Card spot is one of the dumbest ideas this side of Jim Fassel for coach.

  20. I’m afraid to say too many good things about Colt cause I just might curse him.
    I think you can’t bench Campbell cause he is winning. Jflow78 is right, Skins are just 2 games out of 1st in the east. So long as the wins keep coming, JC is in.

  21. Just pointing out…The Giants are 10-1, and The Redskins are 7-4…That’s 3 games out of 1st…Hopefully after Sunday, it will be just 2 games out of 1st…There is no such thing as a Curse…It’s all in the Mind…

  22. I wish there was a way to throw Colt in against the Giants pass rush and prove he’d throw 4 picks his first 4 snaps with out losing the game but can’t. The only defense he’d have success against is maybe Denvers, and that’s because its the worst I’ve ever seen. Before he ever steps in I hope Zorn fixes his throwing motion because I can’t stand watching his delivery.

    I don’t think it’s all Jasons fault though. Moss is a great WR but can’t be productive against a double team because of his size. ARE is not a number two and was never meant to be one in this system. We need an Andre Johnson type WR. I guess you could say everyone does but that is the glaring problem. People aren’t getting open so Jason is holding the ball and the protection is breaking down. One of these rookies has to step up and I think its going to be Kelly. I’m starting to realize why everyone passed on Devon Thomas. He was a one year wonder in college and got by with athletic ability. People were scared of Kelly too because I’m faster than him and I sell cars, but i do think he can be a productive WR in the pro’s with good route running. I can see him developing into a Marques Colston type receiver. Until that happens I think this offense will struggle.

  23. Speaking of the third and 6 inches screen to sellers that didn’t work, I was screaming at the tv. Why on earth is campbell throwing to sellers there when you need half a foot????? We have Clinton Portis!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or even Sellers up the middle!
    There is no way that was smart playcalling. Do what you do best, not try to trick them. Same as when he threw to Lorenzo Alexander- ok in the first quarter, or on 2nd down, but stupid in the situation he had……..
    We have too much talent to be scoring as poorly as we are.

  24. if you’re a team that runs well, RUN AND KEEP RUNNING
    If they can’t stop the run, KEEP RUNNING
    After that, RUN SOME MORE

  25. All I can say is we only have 20 TD’s, that’s only better than the last place Lions, Rams, Raiders, Bengals and Browns.

    The Skins need to find a way to score TD’s…specially now that our Kicker has a gimpy leg or we can’t count on him to hit anything over 35 yards!

    Help please! Looking for TD scorer to lead us to the Promise Land…and Colt Brennan is not the answer.

    Hail to the Redskins!!!!!

  26. Great Game! Flew down from Alaska and we got a win! Finally. Mike Sellers and Phillip Daniels autographed my sons jersey, was very nice of them and they have no idea how much that and they are appreciated! I can say this was our best experience at a game we have ever had! Thanks Redskins and keep driving forward!!!!

  27. Shotgun!

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