Zorn on the Hot Seat
By ZACH MORETTI
December 27, 2007. That was the last time the Detroit Lions won an NFL regular season game. The Lions were 0-19 since that late December victory over the Kansas City Chiefs and during their 19-game-losing streak Detroit was outscored 623-321. But all that was wiped away last Sunday when the Lions got off the snide and defeated the Washington Redskins 19-14.
The Redskins loss to the lowly Lions have many clamoring for Washington head coach Jim Zorn to be fired. Zorn wasn’t exactly the first choice to be the Redskins’ head coach after Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs retired following the 2007 season. Actually, Zorn was originally hired to serve as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator and was later promoted to head coach after more desired candidates turned down the position.
The loss to Detroit was bad, but it isn’t the lone reason Washington fans want Zorn out, it was simply the tipping point.
The Redskins won an ugly 9-7 game the previous week against a bad St. Louis Rams team and they failed to punch it into the end-zone despite three 1st and goal opportunities. The team also struggled mightily in the season opener against the New York Giants, with their only touchdowns coming on a fake field goal that was ran in for six and a late touchdown pass with the Giants sitting back in the prevent-defense with the game well in hand.
But the problems date back to Zorn’s first season with the team. Washington got off to a great 6-2 start and they were tied with the second best record in the NFC. However they crumbled in their final eight games, going just 2-6, averaging a measly 12.5 points a game and missed the playoffs.
Not only that, but the Redskins suffered embarrassing losses to the St. Louis Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, two teams that combined for a 6-25-1 record in 2008.
Another thing to note is that Zorn was hired because it was thought that he had a great offensive mind and would help the Redskins put up big point totals. Well Washington has played 19 games in the Zorn era, averaging just over 16 points a game and they have yet to put up 30 points in a game. In that same span of games, only four teams average fewer points per game than the Redskins (Cincinnati, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Oakland) and only one other team has failed to reach 30 points in a game (Detroit).
Yet despite the fact that things haven’t worked out as team owner Dan Snyder had planned, it will be tough for him to fire Zorn in the middle of the season. The problem is that Zorn isn’t just the Redskins’ head coach, but he is also the team’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Therefore if the team fires him, they would need to hire three new coaches to fill all of Zorn’s roles.
With the thought being that the Redskins will want to try and convince a veteran coach such as Mike Shanahan or Bill Cowher to coach the team in 2010, it seems unlikely that they will be able to fire Zorn until the end of the year because he simply has too many positions and it is difficult to have a new head coach come in and not have him pick his staff of coaches.
Therefore, despite how angry fans are and how they want action to be taken, it seems that they will have to deal with Zorn in control for at least 13 more games. And unless the team makes a drastic turnaround and puts it together, their will certainly be a new man in charge when the 2010 season kicks off.