I didn't think I'd ever say these words.
Norv Turner, I'm sorry for every rude or negative thing I've ever said about you. It's safe to say, I never fully appreciated what I had in you.
Maybe it's Al Michaels' calling the trap Jim Zorn called on 3rd and 1 in Thursday night's opener that got stuffed "vanilla." Maybe it's that through 18 minutes the Redskins still didn't have an offensive first down. Maybe it's that since your firing in 2000, we've had three offensive geniuses in our midst, yet the best we've finished was 11th in yards.
Norv, I can't spell it out any better: We can't move the g****** ball anymore. And if there's one thing that makes this game unbearable, it's teams that can't move the ball. Steve Spurrier couldn't put together an offense no matter how many wideouts and Florida alum you spotted him. Joe Gibbs couldn't crack the top 10 in points or yards despite having a bevy of overpriced weapons at his disposal. And now this Jim Zorn character, dios mios. We made a quarterbacks coach a head coach, just like that. It's like electing a state congressman to be president. He never oversaw an offense, let alone an entire coaching operation. Yet, here we are with this Zorn guy and the offense doesn't look like vanilla ice cream, it looks like sugar-free vanilla TCBY soft serve.
It took 28 minutes and 50 seconds to record a first down in the opener. Yes, the team ended up putting 7 points on the board, but Zorn left all three timeouts unused in the first half and failed to properly manage the 4-minute drill in the final frame. The team couldn't run all night, it couldn't pass, it couldn't function on the same level as the Giants.
Norv, I'm sorry. There was a time when your teams didn't know much about defense, but they sure could move the ball down the field. You re-juvenated the careers of Terry Allen and Henry Ellard. You turned Stephen Davis and Brad Johnson into stars. You milked Michael Westbrook and Albert Connell for 1,000-yard seasons and eeked out two decent seasons from Irving Fryar. You made Stephen Alexander and Gus Frerrote relevant. Most importantly, when it was third and long, there was a certain confidence it would be converted.
You did all that, but we wanted more. Dan Snyder wanted more. He saw what you did and figured like most of us, "if Norv can do THAT, imagine what Marty Schottenheimer could do?"
Then it became, "remember what Norv did? Imagine what Steve Spurrier could do?"
Then it became, "remember what Norv did? Imagine what Joe Gibbs could do? Yes, Joe Gibbs!"
Then it became, "well, Joe did some nice things, Marty did some OK things and Steve did nothing right outside of the preseason, remember what Norv did? I bet Jim Zorn could be the next Norv, both have backgrounds in developing quarterbacks."
So we're now stuck with Jim Zorn, who is essentially Norv Turner circa 1995. Except that year, Norv's teams dropped 7 points or less three times. Zorn already has one 7-less game in the can.
Granted, it was against a first-class defense in the defending Super Bowl champs. And often times a good defense can make a decent offense look silly. But there's no excuse for the lack of game management -- including running the ball unsuccessfully, yet repeatedly on second down -- and the inability to work Chris Cooley into the gameplan. And there's never an excuse for failing to put your team in a position to win. Zorn did just that by refusing to play for the field goal first in that bastardized last possession. He acted like a quarterbacks coach, always believing one more play can seize the day. He needs to act like a coach, creating the best odds for his team to win.
The Redskins players didn't lose last night, upper management lost. Dan Snyder continues to bring in the wrong personnel to run a franchise. They've done that since they axed Norv Turner seven seasons ago, and I imagine they'll continue to do that, as evident by failing to hire Gregg Williams in the offseason and the flirtation with Jim Fassell.
From myself, and I'd imagine a few other one-time Redskins faithful, sorry, Norv. We didn't know how good we had it back in the late 1990s.
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