Tag:Jim Zorn
Posted on: December 15, 2008 11:37 am
Edited on: December 15, 2008 11:39 am

Two words to fix the Redskins: Steve Spagnuolo

A team hovering around .500 can be a lot of things. It can be a team going in the right direction (Chicago). It can be a team that caught some bad breaks (Philadelphia). It can be a team stuck in mediocrity because of unfortunate circumstances (Houston). It can also be a team that's a lot worse than its record. A team like the Redskins.

Don't let the four-game win streak in the early part of the season that got everybody talking. This team was never built to seriously compete. From its lack of pass rush to its lack of pass protection to its incompetent management structure, the Redskins were, to quote Vice President Ted Matthews in My Fellow Americans, "all just a big facade" (mispronounced fah-kade).

I have a plan to fix the Redskins and it goes so contrary to typical Kay Logic that I'm actually excited about this. My plan starts with two words: Steve Spagnuolo.

Yes, I want to see Diva Dan fire Jim Zorn and replace him with Spagnuolo. Let me explain.

First off, it guts the Giants of a key coach. That's always good. In the same vein, Spagnuolo knows the NFC East. He knows how to stop Tony Romo. He knows how to stop the Eagles. And you sure as hell know he'll know how to stop the Giants.

He's a defensive guy. In a perfect world where I own a team, I don't even bother interviewing offensive coaches for the head job. It just doesn't make sense. An offensive coordinator's job is move the football down the field in the most efficient way possible. OK, a noble task. But a defensive coordinator's job is to stop an offense dead in its tracks. So to be an offensive coordinator you just have to think you have a good system. But to be a defensive coordinator you have to know the offensive system you're playing each week and tailor your defense to it. So a defensive coordinator, by trade, is forced to know the ins and outs of an offense for a defense is dependent on how the offense lines up. An offense exists in a vacuum world of its own. Hiring a defensive coach means you get somebody with expertise on both sides of the ball. Plus, they're usually more badass.

What I really like about Spagnuolo is this: he finds ways to make the talent he has work, which is the complete opposite of what the Redskins currently do on offense. Jim Zorn, the offensive genius he is, is unable to use the pieces in front of him in an effective manner. But Spagnuolo, down Usi Umenyiora found ways to still get to the quarterback. He understands his personnel, which is something the Redskins coaches fail at time and again.

But is it worth disrupting stability AGAIN in Ashburn. Yes, but only in this situation. Only if it's with Double-S. Only if you provide him the proper assistant coaches (say, a savvy vet o-coordinator on offense like Norv Turner. And only if somebody like Norv Turner is done trying to be an unsuccessful head coach) and only if you say to yourself, "Diva Dan this is the last hire I make for three years barring something completely crazy. I repeat, this is the last head job hire barring something completely crazy. And that includes Bill Cowher saying he wants to coach again. That includes Urban Meyer saying he wants a new challenge. And that includes Bill Parcells saying D.C. has nice homes."

The Redskins need a coach from the defensive side of the ball. They haven't had one since Marty Schottenheimer was unjustly fired and it's evident year in and out. Offensive coaches are egomaniacs who can't keep a team composed. It makes sense, too. Offensive coaches are driven by the need to be creative and different. But this sport is all about being on the same page from the top to the bottom. And that's how you make a good defense, by everybody being on the same page.

On top of this drastic move, it's important to continue a. building through the draft, and b. always reinforcing your trenches through the draft. The Redskins must get younger, quicker and stronger on both sides of the trench if they ever want to succeed. No more skill players. No new quarterback. I'm sorry Jason Campbell, but you'll have to suffer through a new coordinator once again (but I promise it will be one who understands how to use your mobility). That is, unless a Stafford or Bradford drops to the middle of the first round.

On top of all this, Diva Dan must empower a proper VP of player personnel. Vinny Cerrato has proven that his one strength, late round draft picks, is not enough to make up for his free agent and trade oversights. Look at what happens when you have a VP of player personnel with a vision, as is the case in Miami or Atlanta.

Washington is still a destination for coaches and players, but it won't be for long. There will come a point where the tradition of mediocrity will begin to outweigh the tradition of excellence forged by Jack Kent Cooke. Go for gold one more time, Diva Dan, but do it knowing that this move is it, and it must be backed with time-honored ways of running a football team. Not say, by conducting a coaching search only to end up with the guy you brought in to run the offense as head coach.

P.S. Ditch the West Coast offense and fine anybody at Redskins Park that uses the words "west," "coast" and "offense" in a sentence.

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around 

From the Windy City (aka 'Go), What K Thinks presents a wish list for '09, including a college football playoff and a Bears team featuring a certain Cardinals wide receiver.

A new blog enters the fray, "HART" OF THE PACK, and the blogger puts the Packers' disappointing '09 campaign in perspective and offers a few remedies for Green Bay.

The Bengals outplayed the Redskins Sunday, which is something Keepin' Score -- Bengals, Reds, Wings hasn't seen much of, including a pleasant goalline stand. However, the win has a downer -- a potentially happy Mike Brown.

The suits (well, not really since nobody here wears suits) at CBSSports.com think the "run a proper website," but What the [expletive] has a few pointers, including fixing the rating and warning systems and ushering in posting functionality that's say circa 2007 instead of 1997.

Klick of the Day

Greatest urinal cake protest EVER

Posted on: September 29, 2008 2:56 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2008 12:05 pm

Redskins' win over Dallas is biggest of decade

Sunday's win at Dallas is the biggest win for the Redskins this decade.

Bigger than anything accomplished last season with Todd Collins, and after Sean Taylor.

Bigger than anything accomplished in 2005, with that playoff trip. Clinton Portis

Bigger than Steve Spurrier's opening win? C'maaaaaaaan.

This is it. This is the win that re-defines the Redskins in the first decade of the third millennium.

Overreacting, Eric, are we again?

I say good day to you, calming-influence split personality.

This win cannot be understated. For the first time in the Dan Snyder era there is hope.

But Eric, Joe Gibbs brought hope, right?

Wrong. Joe Gibbs is the football equivalent of the Mustang. The car is a success for Ford, but the company's only car-platform success was tied to a throwback design. Going back in an attempt to move forward doesn't equate a healthy bottom line. That's all Joe Gibbs was, a Ford Mustang. Or a soon-to-be-re-issued Chevy Camaro.

This win Sunday, however, isn't a step in the right direction, it's a leap.

Winning at Dallas is one thing. Winning at Dallas without relying on a late heave to Santana Moss, but rather, a balanced offensive attack and stingy defense is something special. The Redskins dictated this game. Dictated a game on the road, at Dallas, vs. a team pundits were debating could rival last year's New England Patriots (at least offensively).

This is the biggest win in franchise history because for a moment, and maybe it's fleeting, there's a feeling this organization gets it.

Eric, you realize what you're saying? You remember who's atop the org chart?

I thought I told you to go away!

Yes, I do. And this is what happens when you win the right way. People who have screwed your fandom for years start to get a pass. You start to look at Dan Snyder as a man with passion, instead of a boy with toys. You start to see Vinny Cerrato as a shrewd late-round drafter, instead of a disastrous early round evaluator of talent. You start to see Jim Zorn as the right guy for the job, instead of a never-been coordinator overmatched for the league.

Winning does that. But to win, you have to have the right people, the right plan and the right discipline. All three were at work in Dallas as the Redskins won there for just the second time in 13 tries.

That's why this is the biggest victory since Snyder took over the franchise and employed his touch of death. It's amazing what a win in Dallas does. It can't be overstated enough, beating Dallas on the road is on par, if not bigger than beating Michigan at Ann Arbor for Buckeyes fans.

Antwaan Randle-ElI don't care to draw in this analogy either, but I deal with and witness that program's inferiority complex more than I'd care for, and it applies here.

Dallas is Big D. The Redskins are a lot of things -- the Hogs, the Posse, George Allen, Hurricanes North -- but they're not something as vain as "American's Team." They're not a national brand, like Dallas.

So winning at Dallas, with Jason Campbell, a mutt of a quarterback spawned from the mishandling of seven offensive coordinators in eight years, again, cannot be overstated. Winning at Dallas, without prized acquisition Jason Taylor vs. one of the league's best passing attacks, cannot be overstated.  Winning at Dallas, with a downtrodden and disgraced right tackle in Jon Jansen vs. one of the league's best pass rushes, cannot be understated. That's why winning at Dallas with a first-time head coach, a sniveling owner, and a pompous group of Miami alums is so important. We're not supposed to win at Dallas. That's how I began my Sunday.

My Sunday ended thinking there's no place we can't win. I became a fan, once again, of my hometown team, and that's why this was the biggest game of the decade, at least for me.

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around 

MVKrum's Eagles Blog examines the loss to the Bears. Omar Gaither impressed me more than it did this fine blogger.

J.T. O'Sullivan played 'awful,' Vernon Davis was once again 'invisible,'  and most of the offensive line is 'average at best,' vs. the Saints. That's not stopping Abaddon's Blog from picking his Niners to stop the Patriots this week.

Another Mets breakdown has Throwing Breaking Balls questioning the braintrust of the orginazation.

The Bengals get flushed by the Browns in the Ohio Toilet Bowl, which has Who-Dey United singing a little Bob Dylan.

L.T. vs. Michael Turner 

Name | 100-yard games | rushing yards | touchdowns

Michael Turner | 2 | 422 yards | 5
LaDainian Tomlinson | 1 | 296 | 4

When Turner's on the road, he's invisible. L.T. is starting to heat up, which doesn't bode well for my bottle of scotch. However, I'm still winning all three categories.

Klick of the Day 

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Posted on: September 5, 2008 11:05 am
Edited on: September 5, 2008 11:55 am

An apology to Norv Turner

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 Norv Turnerthrough 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?"

Jim ZornThen 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.

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around!

All THE THRASHARD ZONE saw was "Jason Campbell doing the Curly Shuffle" last night. That's just part of the bloggger's "Memo to Jim Zorn..."

I'm not the only one feeling letdown, Twins Hotspot isn't too hot after watching his Twins get manhandled by the Blue Jays and "Jesse-freaking-Litsch." I feel ya, bud.

Semi-random thoughts when I feel like it has a message to Seattle SuperSonic fans: Stop talking trash about Oklahomans, no matter how silly OUR team's new nickname is.

In Love with the Game, Mom's View breaks down the divisions, but we'll focus on the NFC East, where she correctly pegs the Redskins as a fourth-place squad.

Klick of the Day 

The Redskins suck at Fantasy football, too

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com