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Zorn's Trickery Proved Rather Revealing

One of many experimental iterations ...

Sarge

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/13/AR2009091303245.html


If I'm scoring at home, I wouldn't be worried about a season-opening loss to the Giants at the Meadowlands. Outside of Washington, that was expected.

What I would worry about was the trick play called before halftime, the fake field goal that, lucky for Jim Zorn, wound up with his punter scoring a touchdown.

That play did not have Sept. 13 written all over it. It looked like a gadget to be used Oct. 26, home against the Eagles -- or, heck, Nov. 22, in Dallas.

But an aura of desperation surrounded that call in the first game, such an absolute do-or-die mentality after two failed trick plays. It smacked of Zorn having to pull out something this season. Or else everyone in the world -- including the Redskins owner -- was going to tear into him something fierce.

It smacked of a coach on the hot seat.

If I'm Jim Zorn, I'm also worried about what I'm going to say when someone asks me Monday at my post-mortem news conference, "Who makes that audible call at third and eight late in the third quarter?" The inexplicable play that resulted in Ladell Betts losing two yards off right guard. Because if it's Jason Campbell I really want to know why and how he came up with that.

If it was Zorn's call, I need a better answer.

I like Jim Zorn, the person. I consider him a refreshing change, a cutting protest to the gruff coaching stereotype. Between his choice in music (electronica played on kids' toys) and the abstract rumination ("You know what's awesome?" he once began, "repetition."), we know Jim Zorn is out there.

Fine. Beautiful. Beats the Bill Belichick-Jon Gruden-I'm-A-Miserable-Coach Club.

But is it asking too much for the coach of the Washington Redskins to be here on game days?
 

riggins44

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My son and I both talked about not a good sign to see trick plays in first half of first game. To early in the year to go that deep in the playbook.

I know just one game, but my guess the coaching and Vinny replacement search may be on.
 

Elephant

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On top of the trick plays, wasn't there a play action on 3rd and 1 early n the 2nd quarter? That does not show confidence in the O line.
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I didn't mind the trick field goal, because I knew that three points did us no good at that point. Down 2 TD's at the half at the Meadowlands is a death sentence for us.

I was actually proud that Zorn recognized that the field goal would have been virtually worthless. It kept us alive. And had we scored a TD on the opening possession of the second half, we'd have been within a field goal.

Of course, the offense failed to post, so it was all for naught anyway. But I think he did the right thing at that moment.
 

Shi no Tenshi

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I think the fake field goal was the right call. However, the Randle El pass was not. That hurt us in many ways. Having that play after the 34 yard beat down by Portis killed the momentum we gained from that run.
 

Miles Monroe

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I guess I kind of the odd man out here.
I wasn't happy with the play involving El being it's the same ol play. You see the ball handed to him, and you know exactly what the play is, and who the target is 99.9 % of the time. I have no problem lookin to catch people off guard, but lets get creative is were gonna do it. It's like the screen to Moss. If he doesn't bolt down field at the snap, it's a screen to him, and everybody knows it. There the same ol plays that every team has grown to know.

I think the fake field goal was a great move, and not out of desperation. Again, nobody would expect something like that so early in the first game of the season. I see it as taking advantage of an opportunity of timing, and not just settling for three points. I see it as a coach that doesn't care what conventional thinking would dictate.
 

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I think the fake field goal was the right call. However, the Randle El pass was not. That hurt us in many ways. Having that play after the 34 yard beat down by Portis killed the momentum we gained from that run.
Spot on. I've suggested Snyder and Co. should be patient with Zorn to allow him a chance to grow into the job. However the deeper implications of this are quite troubling.

As was pointed out in the article, trick plays are usually set up through the course of a game and/or season by establishing certain tendencies. That Zorn would go to that so early in the game and the season actually raises more serious questions for me about whether he's in over his head with play calling, game planning and overall strategy. Additionally, I'm now left wondering just how "medium" he really is if he's so rattled about his job security that he's essentially pulling out all the stops on the first drive of the season.

I also wonder whether we'd be asking any of these questions if that play had worked. :square:
 
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I think you just hit the nail on the head Yusuf. Had ARE hit Moss for a big gainer or TD, Zorn would be brilliant in all the newspapers this morning. Hell, had ARE just thrown it away when Moss wasn't open this play would not be nearly the topic of conversation today. It is the fact that the result not only wasn't positive but was in fact amazingly negative after such a positive that is causing the issues and spotlighting how desperate it looked.

Of course, I have to wonder what we are doing running a play, that by it's very nature is designed to take advantage of a defenses lack of discipline, when playing one of the most disciplined teams in the league.
 
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Chris

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I hated the reverse-pass play for all the reasons already stated.

Hated it.

But El is getting off scot-free of criticism. As a veteran he should have recognized that the play wasn't there and mitigated any further damage. He didn't. He danced around like he does on punt returns and turned a 4-5 yard loss into a 10-11 yard loss.

I'd expect that from a rookie. El knows better.
 

Sarge

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Spot on. I've suggested Snyder and Co. should be patient with Zorn to allow him a chance to grow into the job. However the deeper implications of this are quite troubling.

You mean Zorn was probably disturbed when he came to Redskins PArk this morning and saw the "Cowher" sign on his office door? :laugh:
 

Hog Fever

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I don’t have a problem with the fake field goal or when Zorn called it. Of course we were desperate, is there a better time to run a fake? Still on a whole the play calling was not good. It follows a trend that started last year and seems to have continued into this season. Sometimes I feel that we try to get too cute. We have no team identity on offense. I think play calling is a huge factor in that. We had no offensive rhythm all day with the exception of our last drive.

The reverse/throw play has already been talked to death (as it should be) but the more telling is the other opportunities that we seemed to have passed up. It seems that the middle of the field was open most of the day, yet we never pressed the advantage. Whenever we tried to go deep we got burned. That type of play takes too long to develop against a team who gets after the QB like the Giants do. If I know that, and it became very apparent as the day went on, why did we keep doing it? I’m not one of those people who repeat the mantra “You have to take your shots downfield”. Well, I guess you do, if what you’re doing isn’t working. If we’re running the ball well or the short passing game is working, why deviate? I’ll take a 15 yard completion down the middle every time over a bomb thrown downfield into double or triple coverage.

On a positive not I thought the offensive line play wasn’t too bad. The defensive line was getting a decent push against a quality offensive line. Neither team ran the ball very well.

It was a game you just never felt the Skins had a chance to win. If there has ever been such a thing as a “Must Win” week two game this week’s game against the Rams is it. If we drop this one….out come the wolves.
 

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You mean you call something like say ............

A slant?

See. How hard is that?
 

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I blame Randel El on that trick play. He HAS to throw that away.

The play-calling wasn't great. Way too many Portis-runs-to-the-left on first down. Not enough play-action in my opinion.

But what really killed us yesterday were our lines. Their defensive line OWNED our OL all day. It was brutal. Our DL fared a little better but pressure on Eli was sporadic (which is frustrating because Eli will give you gifts if you get in his face.) Considering the investment we've put into the DL the pressure we got wasn't good enough.

Getting beat in the trenches on both sides of the ball will make any coach look like an idiot. Someday ....someday .... whoever's in charge of personnel will figure that out. And then maybe we'll stop looking like the fourth best team in a four team division.
 

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I didn't like the Randel El play, but can't critique the fake punt. At that point in the game, we needed something, anything to spark us. That play could've been the start of a turnaround. That we ultimately weren't up to the task doesn't make it a bad call. Seriously - do we want to see conservative play when we're clearly going down if we don't change the game dynamics? The fact is, we're not good enough yet to beat really good teams in their own house consistently. We just aren't. Until such time as we can physically overwhelm playoff-caliber teams on the road, if anything, I'd like to see us take more chances.

I have to give Zorn kudos for making that call.
 

redskns21

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My biggest issues weren't the trick plays though as posted above, you certainly know what's coming when El gets the ball on a reverse and that's just a bad time to call that.

I was more frustrated with what Henry brought up, the running on first down drove me nuts. The WR screen to Moss, the lack of slants called. Running it 3 times after we stopped them at the goal line. Things like that drove me absolutely insane and were far more alarming to me than the play of Campbell. Overall, I was okay with what the offensive line did against probably the best D-line in football.

I just feel that Zorn didn't give the team an honest chance this week. I hope that changes and not just against the teams we face in the next few weeks, but going forward. Try some bootlegs, slants, fade routes and for God's sake try throwing it into the end zone when you're inside the 15!
 

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