Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Dumb And Dumber
The hiring of Jim Zorn
Dan and Vinny were like a “monkey f’ing a football” during the entire process of hiring a head coach after Gibbs left. What should have been a swift and efficient process turned into a month long soap opera that ended in a…WTF? Here’s a look back at the decisions that brought Jim Zorn to the Redskins.
After Gibbs decided to retire after the season, it was said that he (as well as many players) endorsed Gregg Williams for the head coaching position in a meeting with Dan. Of course Dan let that endorsement from the most influential figure in Redskins history go in 1 ear and out the other. But why would Dan listen to the old man? Well, one good reason would be that Dan was still paying Gibbs his 6 million a year as a “consultant.” Another great reason was the fact that Gibbs just led the Skins to the playoffs 2 out of the last 3 seasons…and knew the team better than anyone. Or maybe because Gibbs won 3 Super Bowls and has forgotten more about football than Dan will ever know. Of course Dan strung Williams along for 10 days or so before not only not hiring him, but giving him his walking papers as the D coordinator as well (although Williams would have never stayed, Dan still has to maintain the power.) Dan was wrong not to hire Gregg Williams as the head coach. Not because he was the right man for the job (I’m not sure that he was and not sure he would have been successful either,) but by not listening to a great football mind like Gibbs…something Dan refuses to do. FAIL #1
The next step to finding a head coach was to take a moment and…promote Vinny to Executive VP/Football Operations. The Redskin’s official press release announced that Vinny “will assume responsibility for all aspects of the team's football organization - including personnel, the team roster, scouting and salary cap management.” This is a great way to lure the “cream of the crop” of head coaches…let them know they’ve got to report to Vinny and defer to him on all personnel decisions. Now that’s got to sound attractive to a Cowher-type doesn’t it. FAIL#2
Meet your staff Coach
Next came the revealing of the “mystery candidate,” Jim Fassell. This would end up being the 2nd time that Dan left Fassell at the altar. Dan and Vinny strung him along while they were supposedly trying to assemble his coaching staff, which would feature Rex Ryan as D coordinator and Jim Zorn as the O coordinator. Ryan never had an interest in joining the Redskins in this capacity, but Zorn was hired as the O coordinator, based upon the fact that Dan and Vinny were “blown away” by his interview. Dan and Vinny then inked up Greg Blache as the D coordinator and now basically have an entire staff for their still unknown head coach. Just a quick recap, the incoming head coach now basically has his entire coaching staff already decided, and must defer all football decisions to Vinny. FAIL#3
Suit it up, Jim
Zorn was not a “hot commodity” for O coordinator positions around the NFL; he had never advanced past QB coach at any level in the NFL. He wasn’t the “young, sexy pick” to be a head coach in the NFL…that would have been Josh McDaniels, whom I believe the Skins never interviewed. Zorn was 54 years old and basically was only know for his “quirky” training methods. He had never called plays; he had never devised a game plan. He was never in charge of more than 3 players. But Dan and Vinny were blown away. And as the candidates began to dwindle…the job was now the equivalent of going out on a first date with a girl who’s 6 months pregnant…Dan and Vinny invited Zorn to interview for the head job. “Suit it up, Jim.” FAIL#4
The rest is now history. Zorn was named HC, OC and QB coach. Severely over his head…and he hasn’t been able to get his head back above water. I’m afraid that he’s close to no longer being able to tread water…and that’s where the Skins are at this point.
Next post will focus on personnel decisions.
Cheers and Hail