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CNN/SI: Checking in with NFC BEast Coaches


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• Could you blame Zorn if he thought somebody in the league office didn't want him to succeed as a rookie head coach? His Redskins drew both the first preseason game of the year -- against the Colts in the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 3 -- and the first regular-season game of the year, at the Giants in the Thursday night opener Sept. 4. Oh, and did we mention that Washington's opponents in those games are the past two Super Bowl champions?

"It wasn't that I thought someone was out to get me, but I was going, 'Oh, my gosh,' " Zorn said of when he first heard his team's scheduling fate. "But then in the next breath I had to say, 'OK. That's the way it is.' You sort of set yourself and go.''

• One longtime NFL head coach who happens to have a background in the West Coast Offense expressed some doubts recently about Washington quarterback Jason Campbell's transition to the version of that offense that Zorn brings to the Redskins. In the longtime coach's words, things could "be ugly'' with Campbell trying to play that style of offense. Zorn, however, does not share in that trepidation. I asked him about Campbell's suitability to that offense, which prioritizes short- and intermediate-range passes, precision timing between a quarterback and his receivers, and getting rid of the ball quickly in three- and five-step drops.

"Let's say a guy can't move very well,'' Zorn said. "You can manage [in the West Coast], but it's not very dynamic. You'd rather have a guy who can actually move. He's got to be able to move in the pocket. He's got to have feet that can get him out of trouble.

"Jason's got excellent feet. I'm getting him to play -- what is he, like 6-5? -- from just a little bit lower position. So he's in a better position to make a sudden move, and not standing so straight up. It's such a process, but I'm absolutely very confident he can play it.''

• Zorn is 55 and still looks like he could play in this league. He's got a little bit of gee-whiz quality to him, but it's endearing and somewhat refreshing. I asked him about his rather unorthodox route to the Redskins job -- from never having been a coordinator in the NFL, to being named Washington's offensive coordinator, and unexpectedly getting promoted to head coach a few weeks later.

"I didn't look at it like it was [fellow candidate Jim Fassel's] job,'' Zorn said. "I didn't really know whose job it was. I didn't have time to think, 'Boy, I'd sure like that job.' I was off and running being the coordinator. I was having at it. It was news to me that all this was going to happen the way it did.''

Someone then noted that Zorn must have been a great offensive coordinator to get promoted before he had even coached a game. "I was great on my first few days,'' he said, laughing. "I was awesome.''

Good read. Rest of the article talks about other NFC east coaches. IMO NFC east is def the best division.

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