If I had to pick one phrase I don’t particularly want to hear my coach saying with any sincerity, it’s probably “I’m the worst coach in America.” Well, we cleared that hurdle last week, and I actually thought Coach Zorn delivered the line well, and recovered from the fallout well also.
If there’s a second phrase I don’t want to hear, it’s probably “I was in the fetal position, plopped over sideways.” Not really your traditional chest-out leadership posture, although Zorn isn’t really your traditional chest-out leadership kind of guy. Which is, ultimately, what led to the fetal position story in the first place: someone asked if he had ever engaged in any sort of unusual motivational techniques a la Mike Singletary’s now-legendary pants-dropping.
Zorn’s answer — along with his comments on the defense in Sunday’s game — after the jump.
- “I’ve been thinking about taking off my shirt in front of my players, and kinda … no. Hm.
“I did one thing unusual, if it was out of the ordinary. After a practice this year, I started talking about how … I forgot which team it was, but as I started talking I started talking about all the things that could happen to us. And I started to act like I was getting stiff and not being loose, you know, every negative thing I talked about. Whereas in the end of it, I fell over.
“And I was in the fetal position, plopped over sideways, I was explaining how this. is. how. it. could. be. this. Sunday. if we play. all tight. But if we choose. Not to do those things … I think while I was on the ground in the fetal position, our players were thinking, okay, he’s lost it.”
So even this turned out not to be so bad. When you have a coach who can say both those thing in a one week span and still seem confident while he does it … that’s a fairly impressive trait.
Less unusual, but still interesting, was Zorn’s story of when he faced off against Singletary when the two were both players:
- “Unfortunately, it was my first start with the Green Bay packers in 1985, and that’s the year [the Bears] went to the Super Bowl. So I have him staring at me with those, y’know, those eyes that sort of are these big orbs through his facemask. Now, I will say we were competitive. In fact, he never sacked me, but a couple of the other guys hit me pretty good. We played ’em twice in that year, cause they were in our division. Just a tremendous football player. An intensity level that just would be pressing against the ceiling here. Really intense player. He played the game the way most coaches would want it played, and I think it’s the way he wants it played as well, as a coach now.”
And, speaking of intensity, here are Zorn’s thoughts on the defensive performance that carried the team on Sunday:
- “One of the things that has impressed me most of all is our ability to stop the run. We’ve faced some very good run teams…. [Defensive coordinator] Greg [Blache] has them taking responsibility for their own gap and not getting pushed back, maintaining the point of attack and then rallying to the ball. We’ve forced teams to try to throw the ball to win football games.
“I really feel like that’s been the key to our success. Yesterday our secondary came alive. We played against a pretty good quarterback in Donovan McNabb and he threw a couple great throws and we were able to disrupt things and bat the ball down. And then the heroic play at the end where Fred Smoot stopped [Reggie Brown] and really set him up for the shot that LaRon [Landry] had. Fred Smoot right there on the goal line making that tackle and spinning him around was a superior play. Overall those are the kinds of things that we’ve seen from our defense all year long and that’s pretty impressive.”