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Zorn Gives Redskins a Much Different Leader

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The Washington Post's Jason Reid reports on the excitement surrounding new head coach Jim Zorn's first minicamp. Video by Atkinson & Co.

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It isn't. But Zorn admits to having read parts of it, less for the book's how-to elements than for the nuggets of wisdom Walsh spread in boxes on every few pages.

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"I have to be myself and [Holmgren] has to be himself," Zorn said yesterday as he walked back into the Redskins' facility. "But there are a lot of times when I've been thinking, 'How did we do it in Seattle?' Which is really saying, 'What did Mike do in this situation?' He's a tremendous football coach. He really is. It's amazing. We really see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. I really believe in how he prepares a football team to play."

Zorn will create his own identity. He has made that clear from the moment he was named head coach. He says he's had mentors other than just Holmgren. They include Chuck Knox and Bobby Ross. The Holmgren-Walsh way is but one of his influences. He will take pieces of all of them and put them into his own style.

And so on Sunday came the first real test of his Redskins time. Fred Davis, the tight end the team drafted in the second round, missed the last day of minicamp, apparently after oversleeping. It was the kind of unthinkable infraction that would make most coaches so furious they might not be able to speak. Zorn, however, did not look furious. He said he wanted to talk to Davis to find out what happened.

"This'll be the first time I get to deal with this situation, too," he said. "It's going to come at some point one of these days in my life, it might as well come now."

He almost sounded bemused, as if he were curious how he will deal with Davis. But whatever the punishment, it is clear the verdict won't come from a book or another coach's lecture. The man still defining himself as a head coach is not likely to base his decision on somebody else's precedent. And chances are it is going to surprise because it will deviate from all accepted norms.

Then again, this is Jim Zorn.

He won't be cut from someone else's cloth.


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