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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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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0: CORNERING THE MARKET

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.