Feb 11, 2008
My initial reaction when I heard the Redskins signed former Seattle QB coach Jim Zorn as their head coach was that the hire was a bit of a reach. Zorn has never even been a coordinator, so his experience is minimal. He’s been integral in Seattle, but let’s face it – they’ve got a legend in Mike Holmgren running the show, and running an offense that Holmgren has deep, deep roots in.
I also have some concerns with the team’s personnel in relation to how it fits with the west coast offense, the system Zorn will run. I like Jason Campbell’s arm and demeanor, but I’m not sure he’s exhibited the intuitive element needed to run a timing-based and quick-hitting passing attack. Campbell has shown himself at times to be a quarterback who doesn’t see the field particularly well, or who doesn’t process information particularly fast, which could be a problem in this offense. And, of course, Campbell will have to learn yet another system, something like his 6th in his last 8 seasons.
I also have concerns about their receivers. Wideout Santana Moss is an elite talent, and getting the ball in his hands more on quick-hitters can certainly be a good thing, but can his body hold up? It really hasn’t up until this point. Antwaan Randle El is a good inside receiver, but he’s better off being a #3. The Redskins definitely need to get a bigger and more physical receiver and I would not be surprised AT ALL if owner Daniel Snyder goes out and gets free agent and current Seahawk D.J. Hackett. Hackett would be a big upgrade, but he also has injury issues and he’s not exactly a “big receiver,” although he’d be a giant on this team. They are in good shape, at least, at TE, where Chris Cooley will have to adjust to a new system, but he has the skills to excel in any system, and the WCO could certainly result in a spike in his already strong fantasy production. As for their running game, they should be okay. Clinton Portis has worked in a version of the WCO in Denver. He’s not an ideal fit for the system, but he’s a decent enough receiver and I think, at the end of the day, he’ll be better off the next 1-2 years playing in a system that might not be quite as taxing on his body as Joe Gibb’s power-running scheme. Backup Ladell Betts should be a bigger factor, too. He’s probably a better receiver than Portis, so if he had to start due to an injury, he’d likely put up good numbers.
After initially being, at best, lukewarm on the hire, I kind of like it. Although he’s in his 50s, Zorn’s hiring has a Jon Gruden or Lane Kiffen feel to it. He’s new blood, and he offers the excitement of the unknown. Once they lost out on Steve Spagnuolo, I definitely like the Zorn hire more than either Jim Fassel or Steve Mariucci. Fassel is a guy who (somehow) managed success at times, but he’s a retread, and a bad one at that. Mariucci has a pretty good reputation, but I don’t think he’s a particularly sharp guy, quite frankly. I think he’s a good QB coach, a good people person, and a good motivator, but I think he was exposed at the end of his tenure in SF and in his two years in Detroit as a mediocre head man. These two are both still out of coaching work, so the rest of the league apparently agrees with me.
So while I’m not thrilled for the Redskins about their new hire, I’m totally prepared to give Zorn a chance and the benefit of the doubt for now.