By Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tennessee Titans assistant head coach-offense Sherman Smith began interviewing yesterday for the Redskins' offensive coordinator position.
Smith, the top choice of new coach Jim Zorn, toured Redskins Park with Zorn yesterday afternoon. Smith is well versed in the West Coast offense, which Zorn plans to implement, and eager for a promotion as he tries to advance his career, league sources said.
Smith and Zorn are former teammates and close friends, and Smith, who was scheduled to return home today to discuss the job with his family, would help teach Zorn's scheme to the coaching staff and players. But Smith, a former running back and longtime running backs coach, has never been a coordinator.
Zorn, who served two weeks as the Redskins' offensive coordinator before being promoted last week, also has never been a play-caller in the NFL. If Smith joins the Redskins, as many NFL executives expect, Zorn would likely have significant input in devising offensive game plans and play-calling.Blache's Funky Shout-Out
New defensive coordinator Greg Blache credited his predecessor, former assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams, with much of the team's success defensively the past four seasons, which included three top 10 finishes. Of course, Williams didn't work alone, Blache said, and the Redskins retained key members of the defensive staff, including secondary coach Jerry Gray and linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti.
"I kind of liken it to [singer] James Brown," said Blache, Washington's defensive line coach the last four seasons. "Everybody loves James Brown, but there were guys in the background creating the funk. For the last few years, Jerry, K.O. [Olivadotti], myself were in the background doing our thing. One guy moves on, the others have to stand up and play."
Williams and Blache have similar coaching styles, many players said, and the Redskins "will have the exact same package that we had" last season, Blache said. "We're going to keep the same thing [because] it fits our players."Largent's Analysis
As the Seahawks' first quarterback in 1976, Zorn provided leadership for a struggling expansion club. And during those early years a bond formed between Zorn and Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent that endures today.
Largent, a former Oklahoma congressman who lives in the Washington area, said he envisions positive changes offensively for the Redskins.
"I know Jim is very excited about reworking the passing game in particular," Largent said. "The way the game is played today, you have to throw the ball. You have to have somebody to throw the ball and you have to have somebody to throw it to. I think the Redskins have the guy to throw it and I think they have the people to catch it. They just have to put a scheme in that's going to allow them to do that. Jim will do that."