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The Zorn identity is emerging

The Zorn identity is emerging


When I was at the Washington Redskins training camp a couple of weeks ago, I noted that when the practice was over, Jim Zorn brought together the entire team in a massive, 80-man huddle. This has happened at the end of almost every practice I've seen. The huddle usually lasted 30 seconds, a minute tops. The coach—Gibbs, Turner, Schottenheimer, Spurrier—all pretty much did the same thing. It went something like "Good work men, lunch until one, position meetings at two," and the huddle broke up.

In contrast, on that day, Zorn kept the team huddled up for a good five or ten minutes. I was too far away to hear what he was saying, but he was using the time to talk to his team. It may have been a reaction to something specific that happened or he may have had a few things on his mind that he wanted to tell his players on one of the rare occasions during camp that the entire team is assembled in one place.

Today, Zorn did it again, but this time his tone was more strident as he had a point to make. From Matt Mosley's NFC East blog on ESPN.com:

But at the end of Tuesday morning's practice, he sensed a teaching moment for his team. We couldn't hear it from our end zone section almost 50 yards away, but apparently a defensive player took exception to something defensive coordinator Greg Blache said and squared off with him in a verbal exchange.

Zorn didn't say anything at the time, but after practice, he called the team over and talked to them at length about what it means to show proper respect. He knew his speech was resonating because several veterans were heard saying, "That's right" as he talked.

So, the word is that when practice is over, the ice bath and showers may have to wait a while as Zorn makes his point.

(By the way, in the paragraph immediately following the ones quoted above Mosley shows some poor form. He overheard a comment that Zorn made to Blache that was not for public consumption and he quoted it in the blog. It's one thing if something is yelled on the field; it's another matter completely if two coaches are having a private conversation. Mosley won't find himself welcome on the practice field at Redskins Park or anywhere else for that matter if he keeps telling tales out of school.)

Zorn also is showing that he will communicate with players in other settings as well, like through the media. In particular, rookie receivers Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas took some verbal shots from the coach during his post-practice news conference.

Of Kelly, Zorn said that "he wasn't in condition to go through a training camp like this."

"He really wasn't," the coach emphasized.

Come on, Z-man, let us know how you really feel.

Both Kelly and Thomas failed the team's conditioning test.

"If you can't pass that physical test that we give, then something's not right," Zorn said.

"It's sort of a pride issue."

A portrait is emerging of a coach who is chatty and laid back, the prototypical nice guy. He's in the cool tactician mold of football coaches.

That is, until someone crosses a line. At that moment the nice guy disappears and stern disciplinarian appears. He doesn't rant, at least not publicly, and, like his predecessor, he doesn't curse ever. But he will choose the appropriate venue and get his point across in no uncertain terms.

Join me for a live blog of Saturday's preseason game. Go here for details.

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When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon just filled out his ballot for the annual NFL Top 100 Players list.

Let's just say it's pretty one-dimensional. 

Straight like that

A photo posted by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

As you can see, the form asks guys to rank who they consider the top 20 players in the league. But instead of naming 20 different players, Garcon voted for the same player 20 times. Talk about stuffing the ballot box. 

No surprise, but he's hyping his quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

Cousins is having a career year with the Redskins. His stock has soared over the last three weeks especially. Take a look at his numbers in that span: 84 completions on 116 attempts for 1,086 yards (72 percent), eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

Those efforts earned the Michigan State product NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors. And more importantly, Cousins has the Redskins in favorable position to make the playoffs for the second year in a row.

So far this season, Garcon has caught 52 passes from Cousins for 636 yards and two scores. 

MORE REDSKINS: Reed out, 7 other Redskins questionable

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus.