Zorn's Trickery Proved Rather Revealing

Coach Jim Zorn has a word with quarterback Jason Campbell during the Redskins' Week 1 loss to the Giants at the Meadowlands.
Coach Jim Zorn has a word with quarterback Jason Campbell during the Redskins' Week 1 loss to the Giants at the Meadowlands. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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By Mike Wise
Monday, September 14, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.

If I'm scoring at home, I wouldn't be worried about a season-opening loss to the Giants at the Meadowlands. Outside of Washington, that was expected.

What I would worry about was the trick play called before halftime, the fake field goal that, lucky for Jim Zorn, wound up with his punter scoring a touchdown.

That play did not have Sept. 13 written all over it. It looked like a gadget to be used Oct. 26, home against the Eagles -- or, heck, Nov. 22, in Dallas.

But an aura of desperation surrounded that call in the first game, such an absolute do-or-die mentality after two failed trick plays. It smacked of Zorn having to pull out something this season. Or else everyone in the world -- including the Redskins owner -- was going to tear into him something fierce.

It smacked of a coach on the hot seat.

If I'm Jim Zorn, I'm also worried about what I'm going to say when someone asks me Monday at my post-mortem news conference, "Who makes that audible call at third and eight late in the third quarter?" The inexplicable play that resulted in Ladell Betts losing two yards off right guard. Because if it's Jason Campbell I really want to know why and how he came up with that.

If it was Zorn's call, I need a better answer.

I like Jim Zorn, the person. I consider him a refreshing change, a cutting protest to the gruff coaching stereotype. Between his choice in music (electronica played on kids' toys) and the abstract rumination ("You know what's awesome?" he once began, "repetition."), we know Jim Zorn is out there.

Fine. Beautiful. Beats the Bill Belichick-Jon Gruden-I'm-A-Miserable-Coach Club.

But is it asking too much for the coach of the Washington Redskins to be here on game days?


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