Mike Holmgren Advises Redskins to Be Patient With Jim Zorn's Development of Jason Campbell

Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, at FedEx Field on Thursday for a charity event, said Redskins Coach Jim Zorn "is a great communicator."
Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, at FedEx Field on Thursday for a charity event, said Redskins Coach Jim Zorn "is a great communicator." (By Dilip Vishwanat -- Getty Images)
By Les Carpenter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 9, 2009

As he sat in the owner's lounge at FedEx Field on Thursday night, former Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren looked across the room at Jim Zorn and said he hoped the Washington Redskins would give their coach the time to develop quarterback Jason Campbell.

"Here you have . . . a really good young quarterback and coach, it seems like a marriage made in heaven," said Holmgren, who watched Zorn develop his star quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, years ago in Seattle. "The thing is you have to have some patience. He's a young guy. And he may come in soon and shock everybody. Look at the young quarterback in Baltimore, [Joe] Flacco. He's not being asked to do the same things as Campbell. He's not throwing the ball as much as Jason. If you're in the West Coast offense, you're going to be asked to do a lot more."

Holmgren, a devotee of the West Coast system championed by Bill Walsh in San Francisco, has played a significant role in the progress of Hasselbeck, Brett Favre, Steve Young and Joe Montana. He was in Washington to see his wife, Kathy, and daughter Calla off on a trip to Uganda, where they will work in relief centers for the next few weeks, helping refugees from Congo. Thursday's event, sponsored by Zorn and his wife, Joy, was in support of Medical Teams International, the organization for which Kathy and Calla Holmgren will be working.

Holmgren, who retired after last season, said he has watched from his home near Seattle as the Redskins attempted to trade for Denver quarterback Jay Cutler, then explored moving up in the draft to select Southern California's Mark Sanchez.

"Jim is a great communicator," Holmgren said. "I know Jason trusts him. This is important. Your starting quarterback has to trust you as a coach. Trust means a lot of things. Not just trusting that he will call the right plays. It means you are connected to him in these types of situations."

Zorn, who has been working with Campbell through the offseason, said he has kept the quarterback up to date on any trade rumors and added that he believes Campbell has "handled it extremely well."

"This is the thing I appreciate about him: He doesn't mope around," Zorn said.

When asked if he felt Campbell's trust in him had been damaged, Zorn replied: "You will have to ask him."

"But I say not in the least," Zorn added. "He has a realistic view. This is happening, keep your mind off of this stuff. The way you put it to him is, 'This is a reality of life. Things don't always go the way you expect it.' Who would have expected Jay Cutler would be available in a trade? Then you say, 'What if?' "

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