Q & A: Coach Zorn
AP Photo - Michael Conroy
AP Photo - Michael Conroy
Warpath Insiders
Posted Feb 19, 2009


Coach Zorn answered questions while at the combine. This is a transcript of the Q & A session.

On whether saw any surprises when reviewing the 2008 season:

“There were a couple of things to look at. Number one, where we got stopped in our offensive thrust to try and get the ball in the end zone was really from the plus-50 to the plus-20. That is where we ended a lot of drives. We have been taking a detailed look at that. There are some answers there and that is what we are trying to address as we come into our minicamps, training camps – as we start experimenting with some new ideas. Our overall schemes are going to stay the same, but it is how we get the ball into the red zone and then be able to score from the red zone - those are concerns of mine because we didn’t score enough points this football season.”

On the Redskins approach in free agency:

“I think every team will try to be active and we certainly will be as well, but I don’t know. We will have some guys in and I think free agency has to do with both parties trying to get together, all sides of the issue trying to get together and coming to some kind of a need help and then being able to agree on how to get it done. I think we will have some activity, but I wouldn’t know how much or how little that is going to end up being.”

On whether the Redskins have enough space under the salary cap to be active in free agency:

“Yes. I wouldn’t know how much and that plays a part in how active we can be. Some teams can be more active than others. I am not going to go into talking about what the space is.”

On how much he will change his personality next season:

“I think what I am doing now is that I have a much better handle on the process that it is going to take to get towards our upcoming season. I don’t have to be concerned  with putting in a whole new scheme, with trying to get everybody up to speed on vocabulary and kind of the way we are going to run things. Things are running smooth so from the nuts and bolts of it, those things are already laid out. I don’t think I’ll make a total transformation, being one way one year and a completely different way another. I think just the experience that I have gotten from the first year has helped me out. I hope to be just as enthusiastic, constant and consistent as I have been in the past.”

On whether a coach can change from year to year:

“The changes that have to be made are small, significant, directional changes in everybody’s need to try to get better. You can’t stay the same. I have said this to our team – if you stay the way that you are, if you do what you have always done then you will be what you have always been. That is kind of the picture there. We have to make some changes, but I wouldn’t say that I need to go 180 degrees. That would mean that everything that we’ve done didn’t matter. We are building a program, so the things that we are doing matter and that is where we are heading.”

On linebacker/defensive end Jason Taylor:

“I think it is really frustrating for Jason [Taylor] to have had all the adversity, especially starting out with us, changing a whole environment, then getting injured and then getting injured again. It was really an uphill battle for him. Fortunately for us, he battled his way through. I tip my hat to him because he played injured. Every week I would always say to our media – “I don’t know, that’s going to be a game timesituation” – and yet he came through and played as hard as he could. I think it was a disappointment to him to not be as disruptive on the other side of the line of scrimmage as he wanted to be. I think we hope to have him back and that will be something that we work through as free agency begins and as we decide how our defense is going to line-up. Some of it has to do with him too. I think we have a very good relationship. I think he really like playing Redskin football and I think he would only like to play Redskins football at 100 percent.”

On the possibility of a contract extension for quarterback Jason Campbell:

“I don’t know how that is going to get done quite yet. I haven’t really thought about his contract and how it has to do with me because those things are worked out as the player goes along, with his own agent and our administration. I know that I am getting ready to coach him hard just like I did last year. As far as the years or an extension, I don’t know how that is going to play out yet.”

On whether quarterback Jason Campbell will be able to keep contract talks from affecting his play:

“I hope so. I think it will always be in the back of his mind when he is on that subject, but I think he can do that. I think he is a pretty quality guy. I don’t think he will stay away because he wants to negotiate a contract. I think he will be there working hard trying to be a better quarterback.”

On if he thinks changes need to be made on the offensive line:

“I wouldn’t word it like that because that means that we are going in a 180 degree direction. We have got to get the younger guys, the [Chad] Rineharts, the [Devin] Clarks, the guys who are battling to earn playing time, we have got to get them up to speed. I think this offseason program that starts in the middle of March will help them and help us. The guys that we have that are the older, veteran guys have been around for a long time. I fully suspect they will be back to prepare themselves physically. Healing wounds – we have got Chris Samuels in the office everyday. I see him there working, rehabbing and trying to get ready so he can start on day one. The other issue is Randy Thomas who just had neck surgery, working on part of his spine, which calls for him to rest it completely. He has been itching to get back to lifting, running and doing those things, but there is a progression to it. The long answer is that all those guys are preparing themselves to be in our offseason program to get themselves ready for another year. As far as changes, some of it will depend on how the rehabs go and how the younger guys improve.”

On if he is familiar with all the players available in the draft and free agency:

“The only thing I’m getting up to speed with is really the college guys because we’ve had to evaluate our own, we’ve had to evaluate the free agents, and now, I’m going a hundred miles an hour on these college guys. Right now, today, it was kickers, punters, it was long snappers, it was tight ends and o-line. I’ve done some surface stuff before I got here, but it was all surface. It was just trying to get an overview. This is great time for me because it allows me to dig deep and get further in to these players that are here.”

On what questions he asks the players at the combine:

“A lot of the initial, the normal questions, are being answered. I like to ask what goals they have in mind for their career. Do they have a vision of where they want to be in five years as a ballplayer? I want to find out about their leadership so I’m asking questions trying to dig deeper as to what kind of teammate they were in their program. I also want to know what’s going on off the field, if I can get any idea. If there was something there that was kind of a chink in the armor, off the field, I want to find out about that from the player personally. So I’m looking more at the character issues. You can kind of see on video what they can do pretty good. There’s an immeasurable there as to how that guy is going to come to your program and fit into your team, into your locker room, and you have to try to make sure of those issues before you pull the trigger.”

On his thoughts on Jason Taylor after coaching him for a year:

“Outstanding guy. What I was impressed with is he just didn’t try to play on Sunday, he tried to come and play hard in practice. So I was very impressed with what he did in practice. I thought what he brought, the maturity level he brought to the football team – you know, there’s a lot of things that followed him this year because he’s changed teams and also, he danced real well. So there was an extra level of interest there for him, but he handled it very well, was an excellent teammate, joined right in and we’re hoping that can happen again even to a higher level because he’ll be in better condition and better help.”

On if he felt comfortable managing the game in his first year:

“I felt very comfortable in the situations, having played quarterback for awhile and understanding where the time needs to be saved. I think I got into trouble early in the season, where I think I could have gone back and saved a minute of time, especially in one game. I lost some seconds there not thinking fast enough. Other than that I felt like we were pretty good as far as the time management. Where I had to really focus, and I didn’t realize it, is as the play caller, I’m getting ready for the next football series and if our defense is on the field in the last two minutes of the game and we need to take defensive timeouts or decide on penalties, decide on how the situations are going to play out, I had to be much more focused in that. That’s wasn’t necessarily comfortable in the beginning of the year, but it became more comfortable as the year went on. That was something that I had to deal with.”

On Clinton Portis's participation in offseason workouts:

“Well, I want everybody to participate.  As far as it being a concern, I think he's going to come in in very good shape.  I'm hoping that he'll participate in everything, and … I haven't had that conversation with him, or I could answer that question for you today, but I fully expect him to participate at a strong level.”



Related Stories
Draft Chatter
 -by DCProFootball.com  Feb 20, 2009
Redskins' Problem-Free Agency Isn't Free
 -by DCProFootball.com  Feb 23, 2009
Redskins Notes
 -by DCProFootball.com  Feb 24, 2009


PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION INCLUDES
> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from DCProFootball.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
QB Jason Campbell (profile)
RB Clinton Portis (profile)
OT Chris Samuels (profile)
DE Jason Taylor (profile)
OG Randy Thomas (profile)
[View My HotList]