Zorn won't make major changes after outburst

Updated: December 17, 2008, 8:23 PM ET
Associated Press

ASHBURN, Va. -- Tell the world that you feel like "the worst coach in America" and people will pay attention.

So much so that Jim Zorn spent the next day or so assuring people -- players, fans, close friends -- that he really hadn't gone off the deep end.

"Lots of people saying, 'Keep your head up, coach,'" the Washington Redskins coach said. "Well, my head wasn't down. ... I had to assure everybody, 'Hey, I'm OK.'"

Two days after his proclamation, uttered out of sheer frustration over the team's 1-5 slide, Zorn and the Redskins returned to the practice field Wednesday. The coach was back to his usual chipper self, a far cry from the worn-out, aging-before-your-eyes look he had Monday in the wake of the embarrassing 20-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

"I've got a lot of energy left," Zorn said. "I didn't just gear up to coach two final games. I'm gearing up hopefully every year to coach in the playoffs as well."

Not this year, though. The Redskins (7-7) are barely alive mathematically headed into this week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, a pickle that prompted Zorn to give the players an extra day off to do some self-examination of his performance as a coach.

Anyone expecting radical changes from the inquest will be disappointed. Zorn said his extra time with the assistants was spent reviewing plays with a more critical eye, but there apparently will no be no significant changes in the practice schedule, the lineup, the coach's West Coast offense scheme or anything else.

"What I tried to do is slow things down, and we just took time to talk about where we were at as coaches and what we could do better," Zorn said. "Some of the things we came up with were very simple because we don't have time to revamp anything. Nor should we, because we really are going in the right direction."

Zorn organized himself during his introspection by making a list, something a bit out of character for a coach who always seems to have all the answers easily accessible off the top of his head.

"I'm not necessarily a list guy," Zorn said. "My bride of 29 years has helped me to make lists. I don't want to brood on what I might be forgetting, so as you make lists you can talk those things through. You can kind of work on these things and see them on paper."

Zorn didn't make his list sound particularly exciting. He said it contained items such as injuries, things to discuss with coaches, ways to help quarterback Jason Campbell.

Zorn also briefly addressed his "worst coach in America" comment at the weekly team meeting Wednesday morning. The players appreciated the first-year coach's willingness to take the blame for the second-half skid, but they also realized there's more behind the team's woes that the man holding the play sheet.

"We all know that Z's not the worst coach in America," guard Pete Kendall said. "Coaching's part of it, but playing's part of it as well, and we need to correct the playing part of it."

Said Campbell: "Coach Zorn, his first year as head coach, offensive coordinator, that's a lot of responsibilities for anybody, especially your first year, so there's going to be bumps in the road. Maybe one day we'll be able to look back at this and say it made us a stronger team because of the struggles we went through together."

Notes
Expensive shoeshine: WR Santana Moss was fined $10,000 for the touchdown celebration Sunday in which he shined his shoes with a towel. Moss, who was flagged for 15 yards on the play, said he will appeal. ... Only three players missed practice: LB London Fletcher (foot), RT Jon Jansen (knee) and Kendall (knee).


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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