Now that we've sifted through the debris of Washington's head-coaching hire, maybe, just maybe, we should give the Redskins a chance. In promoting Jim Zorn they broke from their recent history -- and considering that history it might not be such a bad thing.
|Jim Zorn (left) shakes the hand of his new boss, Daniel Snyder, at a news conference Sunday. (AP)|
This isn't even Jim Fassel or Steve Mariucci or Gregg Williams. This is a guy who never was a head coach or a coordinator and who is known best as the quarterback who put Steve Largent in the Hall of Fame.
So what are his qualifications as a head coach? I wish I knew. All I could tell you is he threw a tight spiral.
But those close to the Redskins said Zorn was the most prepared of the candidates who spent the past month interviewing and that he made an immediate impression once he joined the staff in late January as offensive coordinator.
He must have made an impression with Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, the team's vice president of football operations, because they asked him to interview for the head-coaching position immediately after Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo bowed out last week.
Spagnuolo was supposed to be the hot candidate, but the Redskins weren't convinced enough to offer him a job. So they returned to the finalists they had, weren't satisfied with the auditions and asked Zorn to get in line.
Two days later he had the job.
That's the CliffsNotes version of what happened, but it tells you something about his interview: He was so persuasive in his meetings with Snyder and Cerrato that they moved off frontrunner Jim Fassel -- a coach who took the New York Giants to the Super Bowl -- and turned to a relative unknown.
"It was all about the comfort level," said an insider close to the talks. "It just seemed like a good fit. Dan liked him, and Vinny liked him. They must have talked to him for eight to 12 hours -- going to 2 in the morning on Thursday night -- and they were impressed with how prepared he was. Both thought this was someone who had been waiting for this moment for years."
Zorn had been waiting all right, but as a quarterbacks coach in Seattle, where he spent the past seven years. That's important to note because another quarterbacks coach for Mike Holmgren was chosen as a head coach nine years ago, with critics concerned he wasn't the right fit for an organization they thought deserved more.
Tell that to the Philadelphia Eagles now. Andy Reid put the Eagles in the conference championship game four straight seasons, made it to Super Bowl XXXIX and won his division five of the past seven years.
Reid was a reach then, just as Zorn is a reach now. But it's refreshing to find the Washington Redskins taking the chance. Their history is to spend gazillions on marquee names, only to be disappointed when the season is over.