To say that Jim Zorn is the frontman for the underachievingest team in the NFL is like saying that the Great Wall of China is kinda big, or that women on reality shows kinda like attention. But after the Redskins dropped a game to the Detroit Lions–the first team in nearly two calendar years to do so–the calls for Zorn’s head have only grown louder. But I’d argue that Zorn isn’t going anywhere before the end of the season. Here’s why.
Moving his workload would be a pain in the ass. Noted NFL writer and self-appointed travel expert Peter King pointed out on Sunday Night Football that Zorn is performing three roles with that team: head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach. Replacing Zorn, King said, would involve two or three different people, people that would have to come from within the organization at this point.
Nobody wants to be Dan Snyder’s bitch. There’s a reason that Jim Zorn was “promoted” from offensive coordinator to head coach last winter–nobody else wanted the job. The league’s coaches have seen the way he handled Norv Turner and heard about how he treated Mike Nolan. It took a truckload of money to pull Joe Gibbs out of retirement, but that truck has sailed…if you will. Snyder won’t get any tangible jump on finding his next underling by pulling the rug out from under Zorn before the end of the year.
A regime change would almost certainly end the Jason Campbell Era in the District. The 2009 season will be Campbell’s fifth as a pro–with his third offensive coordinator. Scrapping Zorn’s system now would be counterproductive at the very least for Campbell, whose development has suffered from the revolving door in front of the Redskins’ coaching offices. A new coach would be better served, sadly, to bring in his own guy (a la Chiefs coach Todd Haley with Matt Cassel, or even Vikings coach Brad Childress bringing in Brett Favre). Such a move–for better or for worse–almost certainly sends Campbell to the junk heap. Probably for good.
Redskins fans don’t really care if their team sucks. The team has already sold out every game. Hell, they have so many fans that they’re suing the ones that aren’t fanatic enough. Fan response has nothing to do with how the team’s performing on the field, leaving Zorn free to mismanage his team through the next 14 weeks of the season, which will be, granted almost certainly his last in DC. also.