Coach Zorn Does Not View Sunday As A Preseason Game

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

One more note from Coach Zorn’s press conference today. This one’s going to disappoint a few of the regular readers of the blog, so I think it’s best if we just tear it off like a band-aid: the rookies aren’t going to be seeing extra playing time just because the team is eliminated.

Here’s Zorn’s reasoning on the subject:

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Zorn Motivates With The Fetal Position

zorngettycox

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.
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Wednesday, December 17: Talking About Practice

cpatpractice1

Wednesday, as always, marks the restarting of the football portion of the week. The players are back in the building and the team is getting ready for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. This means things like meetings, film study, and, of course, practice. At some point after this afternoon’s practice, I’ll post my thoughts on what I’ve seen and — if today is like most other days — someone will ask why, if the team looks so good in practice, they’ve looked so very drab in the games. I haven’t yet been able to answer this question to my own satisfaction, let alone yours, but at least I can take comfort in knowing it’s not just me.

Clinton Portis‘s radio appearance yesterday on ESPN980 wasn’t nearly as provocative as last week’s, but there was one answer that I found particularly interesting. Toward the end of the segment, Brian Mitchell asked Portis exactly why a quality practice might not translate to the game. Here’s his answer.
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Zorn Evaluates Zorn

zornpressconf01There was a noticeably different tone to Coach Zorn’s press conference today, a change that actually addresses some of the most common concerns about his approach during this second half of the season. There was little (if any) discussion of execution, of specific mistakes made by players, of plays that had gone wrong.

What we saw instead was a coach who seems to have fully accepted that something in his approach might need to change as well, and it was interesting to see Zorn’s blunt frankness trained on himself.

(And, I was excited to hear, one who is even willing to consider deferring the decision if he wins the coin toss.)

Here’s a fairly long transcription of the bulk of the press conference — the questions, as always, come from the assembled media members, and they’re not transcribed precisely because the microphone on my recorder doesn’t pick them up, but I’ve tried to give a sense of what the question was as best as I can remember it.

Is this situation challenging to your naturally optimistic personality?

“I’m not sure I could ask any more of the players. I just keep asking them to give more and more, and they’ve really given so much. I think at the beginning of the season we asked a lot of them, and they responded well, and I think these last six games, I think that we’ve asked a lot of them, and they’ve responded well.

“I really feel like — even before this juncture, but certainly now, I’ve got to look at myself.
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The Portis/Zorn Radio Apocalypse!!!!!!! (Kind Of)

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

As I was driving back to Redskins Park from Antwaan Randle El‘s charity event today, I was listening to Clinton Portis‘s appearance on the John Thompson Show on ESPN980. Portis was clearly frustrated — with the team’s losing, with being benched (or “benched,” depending on who you ask), with his head coach — and he wasn’t hiding it.

I was surprised at his candor, but — as the show progressed — fairly impressed with what I perceived at the time as his restraint in not completely unleashing those frustrations. When I got back to the Park, I was immediately made aware that my interpretation of the broadcast was emphatically NOT that of the general public.

“Did you see the twenty page thread on ExtremeSkins?!?!?!” someone asked. “Portis just KILLED Zorn on the radio,” someone else said.

Dan Steinberg over at the DC Sports Bog (who has a fairly lengthy transcript posted) went with “Portis Smashes Zorn”, while Ryan O’Halloran at Redskins 360 kept it restrained with “Portis Unplugged”.

I still don’t buy it. Take the much-repeated implication that Portis said that he should go on IR: he was clearly, CLEARLY being sarcastic, and Coach Thompson calls him on it immediately. That was the tone I caught through most of what he said, and it’s a tone that Portis uses a lot.

More to the point, I would both hope and expect that Portis would be upset at not being put in the game, something Zorn addressed in HIS response later, also on ESPN980.
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Coach Zorn Shuffles The O-Line Deck

devinclarktc08

The highlight from Coach Zorn’s press conference today is the reshuffling of the offensive line, a move born more of necessity than of any particular desire on Zorn’s part. (To judge by the comments, though, there are plenty of fans who will be pleased to see some change — ANY change — along the lines, so … here you go!)

Here’s how it breaks down (no pun intended):

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Friday, December 5: Zorn’s Necklace in Brief

ra-ku-wa1At the start of this week, the DC Sports Bog ran a picture of Coach Jim Zorn wearing a “necklace of unknown provenance”. Well, after a grueling week of intense research, I can happily report that the provenance is now 100% known.

The necklace is the Rakuwa Titanium Necklace X30 Aqua Titan (or some combination of those words, depending on which label you believe), produced by Phi-Ten.

It was popular with players in Seattle when Zorn was there — one of Phi-Ten’s corporate stores is located in downtown Seattle — and Zorn became somewhat friendly with the employees at the store. When he came to D.C., Zorn got in touch with the Phi-Ten people and acquired a necklace in (more or less) Redskins colors. Now you know.