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  1. #1
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    Default WPC: The house that Joe Built

    http://www.warpathconfidential.com/?p=1382

    The house that Joe built

    By John Pappas
    Warpath Confidential Editor

    Jim Zorn probably cannot win. He is a second-year coach whose team is dead last in the division. He has an offense that cant score, and a defense that cant stop anyone. He has a fan base that is turning against him, and there are fears his team might follow.

    And while he is to blame, it is not all his fault.

    Zorn was brought in to be the offensive coordinator following the retirement of Joe Gibbs. An unusual move given a head coach had not been hired. When Dan Snyder could find no takers for the vacancy, the job was given to Zorn.

    But in addition to the added responsibility of ensuring success, Zorn was given few of the things new head coaches normally receive. Instead, he faced the challenge of trying to win with an organization that was built by his predecessor.

    For starters, his coaching staff was mostly in place. Most new coaches remake the staff in their own image. Zorn was not fully allowed to do this. Zorns contribution to the coaching staff consisted of bringing in Sherman Smith to replace himself in the job of offensive coordinator, and then Stump Mitchell as running backs coach. He also added Chris Meidt as offensive assistant. Defensively, the team brought in John Palermo to coach the defensive line. Everyone else was already on staff.

    Click the link to read the full article...
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    All true John. All true.

    There is plenty of blame to go around. It starts with Vinny deciding on his own we were going to be a WCO team after Joe left even though Joe had not built for that. It is tough to start building a passenger jet and then, years into the building, decide that you are going to change what you have to be a fighter jet. Just doesn't work. The hold over coaches fall on Vinny too. If you are going to bring back that much of the staff you need to promote from within. If you are going to hire a HC from outside then he needs to hire his own staff. Of course, Vinny and Dan seem to be trying to follow the Jerry Jones model...

    I also blame Joe a bit for not stocking the shelves better for the long haul in terms of the offensive line. There was just nothing there after the starters, and some of them suspect, when Joe left.

    I think part of the blame belongs to Zorn too though. A good coach is less about system and more about getting the best from his players. Zorn should have seen that he did not have the tools to run a WCO and worked on ways to maximize what he has. I am reminded of Norv and the old "What we do works" mentality. It works with the right players. With the wrong players you can forget it so you better figure out what works with what you have.
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  3. #3
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    Just another example of this organizations (and I use the term lightly) ineptnes. And I'm still not convince that the danny or vinny or both didn't win some internal war about who was getting drafted. I just simply don't believe that two men who understand what an O-Line is to football and built their fortune and fame on dominant O-lines, failed so badly at keeping them stocked
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    In order to get a real coach things need to change. Snyder is going to have stop tinkering and send Vinny packing. Without a real football man running the operation then we have to accept being bad to mediocre.
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    Great post Pappas. I still think Zorn, with proper seasoning, may be a good HC one day. However, a HC that green needs a good bit of support around him in terms of experienced coordinators (preferably with HC experience) a good personnel department and staunch support from the top. With all those things, a good candidate has the opportunity to grow and fill in the blanks while he makes the inevitable mistakes and earns his stripes.

    Unfortunately, our organization had/has few of those things to offer Zorn other than Blache's experience at DC (none at HC). At the end of the day, if you hire an inexperienced guy that you expect to grow into the position, you've got to give him the tools he needs to achieve that growth or it's probably not going to happen. But then, that's management and we all know Snyderatto knows little about that.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yusuf06 View Post
    Unfortunately, our organization had/has few of those things to offer Zorn other than Blache's experience at DC (none at HC).
    Are you forgetting Joe Bugel's head coaching experience?
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  7. #7
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    Yes, you're correct. However in fairness, Buges is the OL coach and it's not clear how much he contributes to game planning and the big picture view.
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    Zorn came in and knew the score. There was no secret to how Vinny operated and how he and Snyder were joined at the hip. There was also no denying that Zorn knew he was going to endure roster turnover due to free agent moves and a draft strategy that at times looks chaotic and unfocused.

    At the same time it appears Zorn is the one that convinced Snyder in the one-on-one interviews that he could develop Campbell and use the WCO with him as the trigger man.

    Now, who knows if Jim just said that to get the job and then went home and scratched his head to try and figure out how it could be done................

    But those were the realities.

    Today's reality is that the Redskins are not set up to be a Super Bowl contender.

    But they should not be this bad.

    And there are several younger players on the offensive side of the ball that Zorn's playcalling has just about eliminated from being able to make any kind of contribution.

    Kelly and Davis are underutilized.

    So is Yoder as a receiver down near the goal line.

    Betts gets no carries in the middle of the field between the tackles but is instead relegated to a third down role for which he really doesn't have the big play potential to carry off.

    No, the Redskins have problems. And finishing 9-7 or 10-6 with this club while possible based on the individual talent, would have required forming a much more cohesive group in the offseason and in training camp.

    The Redskins came out flat in the opener against the Giants, a division rival and recent Super Bowl winner.

    Evidently nothing motivates them except cashing checks.

    And part of that is Zorn's fault for not filling the void with leadership.

    He is an empty vessel - the players know it, the fans and media know it and now Dan Snyder knows it.

    The logic that Andy Reid and John Harbaugh were pulled from the ranks of position coaches to be HC so the Redskins could do the same with Zorn ignored the reality that PERSONALITY and LEADERSHIP were factors that needed to be evaluated as well as X's and O's.

    Snyder simpy does a poor job of evaluating personnel, whether it is Vinny in the front office or choices for HC.

    You don't assemble a veteran team with a lot of egos and then go out and get a newbie coach with an introverted manner.

    These guys over time are going to eat Zorn alive.
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    I've said it repeatedly....hire the office manager to lead your Fortune 500 company when the CEO has a heart attack, and you're not going to have a high probability of success. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that's nearly what we did with Zorn.

    The guy has never - that's never been a head coach - hell, he hasn't even called plays as a coordinator. I don't think you can emphasize that enough. And hell, when you're the head coach, that's just the start of the job. He's clearly in way over his head. Whose fault is that? Can you really blame Jim Zorn? Guy walks into an interview praying he'll get a shot at a coordinator position - hell, so desperate for the chance that he interviews not even knowing who he'll be working for. And BAM! Little Nicky tells him he's just won the lottery. You're our 1 millionth head coaching candidate and you win the grand prize! You're now the head coach!

    Come on - Zorn did win the equivalent of the lottery. I don't see how we can fault him for saying 'Sure, what the hell, what's the worst that could happen? I fail and make a couple cool million....'

    If Snyder had said - ever - 'Look - I don't expect Jim Zorn to win right away. I believe in him, I feel in my heart he's got what it takes. In 5 years if we haven't won our division and turned this team into a consistent winner, we'll shake hands, wish each other luck, and go on our seperate ways. But until then, Jim Zorn is the coach of the Washington Redskins' - I could respect that.

    But he isn't saying that. Which only proves he and his front office are the most clueless bunch in the NFL. Because if you DON'T believe Jim Zorn is that special, if you don't believe that despite a lack of a significant track record as a coach, and no hard evidence he can handle the job at this level, he will succeed, than WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU HIRED HIM????!!!!!!

    I just find it mind-boggling.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boone View Post
    I've said it repeatedly....hire the office manager to lead your Fortune 500 company when the CEO has a heart attack, and you're not going to have a high probability of success. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that's nearly what we did with Zorn.

    The guy has never - that's never been a head coach - hell, he hasn't even called plays as a coordinator. I don't think you can emphasize that enough. And hell, when you're the head coach, that's just the start of the job. He's clearly in way over his head. Whose fault is that? Can you really blame Jim Zorn? Guy walks into an interview praying he'll get a shot at a coordinator position - hell, so desperate for the chance that he interviews not even knowing who he'll be working for. And BAM! Little Nicky tells him he's just won the lottery. You're our 1 millionth head coaching candidate and you win the grand prize! You're now the head coach!

    Come on - Zorn did win the equivalent of the lottery. I don't see how we can fault him for saying 'Sure, what the hell, what's the worst that could happen? I fail and make a couple cool million....'

    If Snyder had said - ever - 'Look - I don't expect Jim Zorn to win right away. I believe in him, I feel in my heart he's got what it takes. In 5 years if we haven't won our division and turned this team into a consistent winner, we'll shake hands, wish each other luck, and go on our seperate ways. But until then, Jim Zorn is the coach of the Washington Redskins' - I could respect that.

    But he isn't saying that. Which only proves he and his front office are the most clueless bunch in the NFL. Because if you DON'T believe Jim Zorn is that special, if you don't believe that despite a lack of a significant track record as a coach, and no hard evidence he can handle the job at this level, he will succeed, than WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU HIRED HIM????!!!!!!

    I just find it mind-boggling.
    Boone, I found this article in the archives of Redskins News about the hiring of Zorn-who was only supposed to be interviewing for the OC job-which compares Snyder's hiring of Zorn to a desperate poker player taking a wild shot to overcome a streak of bad luck. Snyder was having a tough time finding a HC at the time:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/9...iring-jim-zorn
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog's Twin View Post
    Zorn came in and knew the score. There was no secret to how Vinny operated and how he and Snyder were joined at the hip. There was also no denying that Zorn knew he was going to endure roster turnover due to free agent moves and a draft strategy that at times looks chaotic and unfocused.

    At the same time it appears Zorn is the one that convinced Snyder in the one-on-one interviews that he could develop Campbell and use the WCO with him as the trigger man.

    Now, who knows if Jim just said that to get the job and then went home and scratched his head to try and figure out how it could be done................

    But those were the realities.
    I've thought about this a good bit since our slide last season. I finally came to pretty much the same conclusion you did. After all, it's not the candidate's place to turn down an employment offer. Besides, who would be dumb enough to turn down Snyder's $$$ ? Nowadays, it's a low risk venture because even if you stink it up, you're likely to get another shot since this particular failure would probably be ascribed to the dysfunctional nature of the franchise rather than to you personally.

    Of course I've also thought about the fact that in many cases, candidates do overstate their qualifications, confidence of success, proof of concepts etc. and end up doing quite well. The good manager is the one that can tell the difference between the two candidates, i.e. a Jim Zorn vs. an Andy Reid. I think Snyder has proven in spades that he's not capable of making the distinction between the two.

    The thing that truly worries me is that his inability to evaluate/judge personnel will still be a problem if he ever does finally decide to hire a GM and turn over the reigns. If he selects someone that does a poor job, Snyder will probably see that as "proof" that turning things over doesn't work any better than his meddling and revert to the prior pattern.
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