Redskins interview assistant Gray

Updated: December 28, 2009, 6:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins have interviewed one of the team's assistants for the head coaching position, the head of the group that monitors the Rooney Rule said Monday.

Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten said secondary coach Jerry Gray interviewed with owner Dan Snyder several weeks ago for the job that is currently held by Jim Zorn.

Wooten said the interview satisfies the Rooney Rule that requires teams to talk to a minority candidate when filling a head coaching position. Wooten said it didn't matter that the job is not yet vacant.

"Dan Snyder handled it the way it should have been handled," Wooten said. "He made a call in and he did it the right way."

The news reaffirms the expectation Snyder will fire Zorn next week and replace him quickly. Former Denver coach Mike Shanahan is considered the favorite to get the job.

Zorn is nearing the end of his second season with the team. The Redskins are 4-11 with one game to play.

Last week, Gray gave confusing answers when asked whether he had interviewed for the job. He initially appeared to deny he had interviewed, then later amended the answer to "no comment."

Wooten said Gray interviewed before Dec. 17, when Vinny Cerrato resigned as head of the front office and Bruce Allen was hired as general manager. Because Allen is at least nominally in charge of hiring the new coach, Wooten said he would like to see Gray interview with Allen, but that it was not a requirement to satisfy the Rooney Rule.

Zorn says he knew his status as head coach of the Redskins was tenuous back when his team was 1-1 -- and coming off a victory, no less.

Ever since then, as the losses have mounted, he's grown accustomed to the whispers and the stares and the general sense from all sorts of people that his job was in jeopardy.

"It's kind of all around. I get hit with 'the look,'" Zorn said Monday. "And I get all that. I just have to press on. I have to push forward. So I had made a decision, when the first inkling of all this, all the speculation -- I think it was after beating the Rams 9-7, you know, earlier in the season -- I just made a decision then: I'm going to stay focused and see this through."

Still, with one game left in what he described as a "morbid" season, Zorn insisted his players' effort shouldn't be questioned and said he really would like to finish with a victory at the San Diego Chargers next weekend.

"I just don't want to moan and groan about it all. I don't want to create a situation where people look at me and feel sorry for me. Because some of this, I'm responsible for," he said. "I'm the head football coach, and we've got four games under our belt. That's not good, regardless of what the situation is."

With all of the distractions, all of the disorder, surrounding his team, perhaps Zorn can be forgiven for losing track of the losses.

After his club fell to 0-6 against the NFC East and 4-11 overall with yet another blowout defeat on national TV -- a 17-0 loss at home to the Dallas Cowboys -- Zorn talked Sunday night about being "4-13."

Pssst, Jim: This season might seem interminable, but NFL clubs still play only 16 games.

He poked fun at himself for that Monday, saying he was "delirious."

Asked if it feels as though his team is 4-13, Zorn smiled and said, "Oh, gosh, yeah."

It's the first time the Redskins went winless in division games since 1994, Norv Turner's first year as the head coach. That was also the last time Washington finished a season with fewer than four victories (3-13).

After Sunday's loss, cornerback Carlos Rogers also mentioned that game in Week 2 against St. Louis as the beginning of Washington's problems.

"Since the Rams game, barely beating them, it started downhill from there," Rogers said.

He also referenced all of the off-field distractions -- from the hiring of the retired Sherman Lewis to call plays, to reports that Gray interviewed for Zorn's job, to the resignation of Cerrato, to defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth's complaints -- and lamented: "There's been so much stuff with players, with coaches."

Or as Zorn put it Monday: "Each week, it's been something different, hasn't it?"

"I truly am having a great experience. It's not fun, but it is a great experience," Zorn said. "And there are better days ahead. And I think we're trying to deal with all the adversity that comes each day."

Notes

RG Mike Williams won't play Sunday at San Diego because of a torn muscle in his foot. ... S Reed Doughty has a high ankle sprain and probably will be listed as doubtful against the Chargers.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.