Redskins Coach Jim Zorn Won't Be Fired During The Season, According To Team V.P.

On Sunday, the Redskins hit rock bottom, losing at home to the winless Chiefs and scoring just six points against one of the worst defenses in football. After the game, coach Jim Zorn was stripped of his play-calling duties, which were handed to Sherm Lewis, an offensive consultant who has been with the team for two weeks.

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Zorn: 'I Don't Have A Reaction'

If you were expecting Jim Zorn to do somersaults upon hearing the news that Vinny Cerrato won’t fire him mid-season, prepare to be disappointed:

“I don’t necessarily have a reaction to that because I am the head coach,” Zorn said after practice at Redskins Park. […]

“Here’s how I think about it: I don’t want to really address that question from Vinny’s standpoint. My deal is, I’m the head football coach. I want to be here for the next 10 years. That’s my story. But I have a contract. It says what it says, but I’m committed to these guys. It’s kind of a finality if it’s just end of the year stuff. I wouldn’t even begin to try to answer that question.”

WR Santana Moss, on the other hand, did have a little bit of a reaction:

“Now he can coach freely and focus on football.”

… Just so long as he doesn’t try to call any plays.


Does Endorsement Of Zorn Change Anything For Redskins?

There was a report from anonymous Redskins in The Washington Post earlier this week in which the players said they just wanted management to voice public support of Jim Zorn so the speculation could end. Today, they got that from Vinny Cerrato. But does it really change anything?

The Post’s Skins beat writer Jason Reid doesn’t seem to think so:

Some in the organization hoped Snyder would have just fired Zorn, so everyone could begin to move on. The feeling among some in the organization is that there’s nothing Zorn could do to persuade Snyder to give him a third year as coach, league sources said, so the Redskins will play out the string with a coach who has been stripped of much of his authority.

The discomfort for Zorn, his assistants and the players, however, won’t end. The speculation about the future among media and fans won’t diminish because the behind-the-scenes work to hire a successor for Zorn — and possibly for Cerrato — likely will continue.

Meantime, Zorn must try to maintain appearances because he can’t risk saying or doing anything that could be considered cause for firing. So long as he’s not fired for any reason other than performance, Zorn is guaranteed to be paid his salary for the rest of this season and next season.

Essentially, all Cerrato’s endorsement does is solidify Jim Zorn as the coach for maybe the next few weeks. The questions will stop temporarily. But if the team loses a couple more games in a row, it’s hard to believe Cerrato and Snyder won’t once again start to contemplate firing Zorn mid-season. Regardless, he’s gone after this season, so — as Reid wrote — it will continue to be an uncomfortable situation for Zorn.


Vinny Cerrato: Jim Zorn Won't Be Fired This Season

On his weekly radio show in D.C., Redskins V.P. Vinny Cerrato said this morning that head coach Jim Zorn will not be fired mid-season, contrary to what much of the speculation has been.

From’s Matt Terl:

Cerrato on radio: Jim Zorn is head coach "for the rest of this season, and hopefully into the future."

Of course, Cerrato saying Zorn won't be fired mid-season doesn't necessarily mean Zorn won't be fired mid-season. Cerrato already cut Zorn's legs off by taking away play-calling after last Sunday's game and handing it to newly-hired Sherm Lewis -- the least he could do at this point is show public support for the head coach he helped bring in. Even for someone as inept as Cerrato, it's hard to imagine him coming out and saying, "Eh, not sure if we'll keep Zorn all season. We'll see."

Speaking of Hiring Zorn, here's more on that from Cerrato along with how much him and Dan Snyder just LOVE the fans. Which is odd, seeing as the two of them continually screw the fanbase over:

"I hired Jim along with Dan Snyder. Obviously, we're all disappointed with this season's performance thus far. Dan constantly talks about how disappointing he is for the fans. We feel the frustration of the fans. We want the fans big-time on Monday night. We want to make them proud. There are a lot of media people that say Dan needs to say this, do that. Dan has never spoken to the media during the season for over a decade. Dan's thing is, during the season, the stage belongs to the head of football operations, the head coach, the players. That's why he doesn't talk."


Campbell Still The Redskins Starter

Jim Zorn might not be able to call plays anymore but he still has say over personnel. He’s using what little power he has left to ensure folks in D.C. that the best course of action is to stick with Jason Campbell as his starter.

Quarterback Jason Campbell will remain the starter for the Redskins, and will open the Week 7 game against the Eagles, a league source told NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora.

For better or worse, you get the feeling that if Zorn’s ship is sinking, he’s gonna take Campbell down with him.


Theismann: Sherm Lewis Calling Plays 'Absolutely Worst' Decision

Former Skins QB and NFL MVP Joe Theismann is the latest player from the team’s ever distant glory years to publicly rebuke the team’s direction, or lack thereof (although he did not do so from atop a pile of wood). Last week Theismann made headlines when he picked the Chiefs to beat his former team. This week? Theismann is ripping the decision to install former bingo caller Sherm Lewis as the team’s offensive play caller. Dan Steinberg’s DC Sports Bog transcribed Theismann’s appearance on ESPN 980:

I guess they’re talking about Sherm Lewis being the playcaller. That is absolutely the worst thing that this organization can do. You cannot have someone who has not spent time in training camp, doesn’t know the players, doesn’t know the system, turn around and call plays. That would be the complete worst thing that this football team could do.

As Steinberg pointed out earlier, last week Clinton Portis and Chris Cooley – the team’s two biggest offensive threats – said that they had not interacted or met with Sherm Lewis at all yet.

Theismann went on to point out what Dan Daly of the Washington Times noted earlier in the day: the playcalling and quarterback play are not the biggest issues for the Skins on the offensive side of the ball. Again, from Theismann’s ESPN 980 appearance:

We talked last week on this show, hey, a change at quarterback, maybe it makes a difference. I’m telling you folks, unless Jason Campbell is behind [a different] offensive line, no quarterback has a chance to move around and make plays….It’s not Todd’s fault, it’s the fact that offensive line is patchwork at best at this point….The offense is horrible.

While Theismann proved himself to be a blowhard during his announcing days, it's difficult to disagree with any of his analysis here. And being without Pro Bowl LT Chris Samuels again on Monday night certainly won’t help matters. Should be quite a game, with the Eagles looking to take out their frustration after last week’s loss to the lowly Raiders. Are you ready for…a blowout?


What Every Skins Fan Knows: Cerrato Is The Problem

SB Nation’s Hogs Haven analyzes Sunday’s embarrassing game for the Redskins before making the point that even the most casual Redskins observer knows: Nothing will be fixed until Vinny Cerrato is replaced:

So Cerrato and Snyder took away Zorn’s play-calling status. Big deal. That is not admitting you have a problem. Firing Zorn would not be admitting you have a problem (though if I was Zorn, I would not take much more of this before resigning). Terminating Vinny Cerrato and deciding that the franchise is now going to go in another direction with a proven, credentialed football mind would be both admitting you have a problem and honestly working to correct it.

Only then will we know we have reached rock bottom. And only then can we all be confident that we will indeed go up from there.

Until that day comes, the Skins should expect to hit new lows, especially with their upcoming schedule: Eagles, Falcons, Broncos, Cowboys, Eagles, Saints. That should go well for them.


Who Would Replace Zorn As Interim Coach?

Via Dan Steinberg’s DC Sports Bog comes Adam Schefter’s confirmation that secondary coach Jerry Gray appears to be the frontrunner to serve as interim coach if/when Jim Zorn is fired, as previously reported. Offensive line coach Joe Bugel would reportedly be the team’s second choice.

Michael Wilbon for one thinks the team should turn to defensive coordinator Greg Blache first, with Jerry Gray as the backup plan.

Regardless of who the Skins eventually tap to replace Zorn (yes, let’s stop pretending; this is a given), the fact remains that Snyder and Cerrato should have taken care of this after yesterday’s loss rather than dragging it out, as both Player Hater’s Ball and Thom Loverro of the Washington Times remind us. From Player Hater’s Ball:

Snyder and Cerrato tried to do something about the situation tonight but, as usual, swung, missed and hit themselves in the crotch with the effort. […] It’s not like Zorn’s playcalling has been so good that it ever made him indispensable. The whole point is that he’s terrible at calling plays. It’s the main reason he should be fired. How is his main flaw being used as a defense of keeping his job? […] Stripping Zorn of his playcalling duties makes him COMPLETELY superfluous. There’s LESS reason to keep him around now. What’s he going to work on all day now, timeout management? What changes now? Why does this make the team better? Firing Zorn makes the team better because it will light a fire under apathetic players and disinterested fans. Keeping Zorn around as a sort of lameduck coach accomplishes what, exactly?

Thom Loverro meanwhile points out that by keeping Zorn for at least another week, the Skins just keep themselves in the headlines, as people speculate on Zorn’s future:

The uproar won’t be diverted by this playcalling shift. The focus will remain on whether Zorn can survive yet another game as the Redskins’ coach – particularly when the man who is most rumored to be his replacement next season, former Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, will be in town and in the booth Monday night for the game. […] This is why owner Dan Snyder should have instead just made the inevitable move. You fire Zorn and go into Monday night with an interim coach, then the Washington Redskins are nothing more than a bad football team.

At least Snyder is better than Al Davis, right? Right?


Shocking: The Redskins Lied About Role of New Play-Caller Sherm Lewis

If there is a Redskins misstep to be brought to light, we can always rely on D.C. Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg to do so. He’s been actively piling on the team all season — almost all of it deservedly so — and he’s sure to have a field day with the latest developments involving Zorn being stripped of play-calling duties.

This morning, Steinberg takes a look back at what V.P. of football operations Vinny Cerrato had to say about Sherm Lewis when the team hired him just two weeks ago:

Cerrato said: “I give Jim a lot of credit for bringing a guy, you know, wanting another set of eyes, because we have struggled some, and for him to say, ‘You know that’s a great thing, let’s do it if it’s the right guy who’s had work in the system,’ I give credit to Jim for wanting to add somebody.”

Truth: At this point, Daniel Snyder could require Jim Zorn to sprint naked down Loudoun County Parkway wearing a Hogette snout while singing Hail to the Redskins, and Cerrato would claim it was Zorn’s idea.

Cerrato said: “He doesn’t want anybody’s job or anything like that. You know, he’s a 67-year old guy that’s been retired, just loves football.”

Truth: Lewis took Zorn’s primary job.

Cerrato said: “How he’s gonna be used, I don’t know that. That’ll be up to Jim.”

Truth: Nope. That’ll be up to Cerrato.

Of course, it should be pointed out that no one believed Cerrato when he said Lewis would simply be “another set of eyes,” or an offensive consultant. The only question was what would Lewis’ role be as the front office publicly castrates its head coach. Now we know.

Also worth noting, as Steinberg points out: Clinton Portis nor Chris Cooley, arguably the two biggest offensive weapons at Lewis’ disposal, had not met Lewis in person as of one week ago.

This season is making the Spurrier Era look like the Golden Age.


Bingo Caller Moving on to Calling Plays

Two weeks after hiring former Packers offensive coordinator Sherm Lewis to serve as “another set of eyes” as an offensive consultant, the Redskins are reportedly set to hand over playcalling duties to the ex-bingo caller, according to Jason Reid of the Washington Post.

In other Redskins coaching news, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King reported on NBC’s Football Night in America that if/when Zorn is fired, secondary coach Jerry Gray could be the top choice to serve as interim head coach. While speculation has centered on current Skins defensive coordinator Greg Blache as a potential fill-in for Zorn, Gray’s youth and energy reportedly could give him the edge. Gray previously worked as defensive coordinator in Buffalo.


If Zorn Goes, Cerrato May Go With Him

That’s what Pro Football Talk says they’re hearing:

We’re hearing that there’s a strong belief within the Redskins organization that the fates of coach Jim Zorn and V.P. of football operations Vinny Cerrato are tied together.

So if/when Zorn goes, Cerrato could be dumped, too. (There’s a chance Zorn would go after the Eagles game next Monday, and that Cerrato wouldn’t be fired until after the season ends.)


Not Fired Yet: Jim Zorn Gives Up Offensive Play-Calling Duties

Redskins Insider has the scoop: Jim Zorn has agreed to relinquish his offensive play-calling responsibilities. Hey, at least he's not getting fired! Right, Redskins fans?

The Redskins' public relations team announced late Sunday night that Vinny Cerrato, the executive vice president of football operations, had met with Coach Jim Zorn after the game Sunday and told him he thought Zorn had too much on his plate. Cerrato said that someone else should call the plays and Zorn did not disagree, according to Zack Bolno, the Redskins' executive director of communications.

Cerrato and Zorn, who declined to comment when reached at his home Sunday night, will meet Monday to decide who will call the plays.

Most expected Zorn to be flat-out fired, but Fox Sports' Jay Glazer is reporting that Zorn saved his job by being willing to give up the coordinator's role. That's a tricky proposition: Is this really going to improve Zorn's head-coaching ability all that much? And just who will call the plays now, anyway? Whatever the solution, Zorn can count his lucky stars he wasn't fired this week, even if the inevitable lies just a few weeks down the road.

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