Sonny Jurgensen Speaks His Mind on Redskins' Struggles

By Leonard Shapiro
Special to
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Anyone who tells you that Sonny Jurgensen has lost any zip on his verbal spirals definitely wasn't paying attention to the Hall of Fame quarterback during Sunday's pregame show on ESPN-980 leading up to the Redskins dismal 20-17 loss to Carolina.

Asked about the team's hiring last week of former NFL offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis to provide Coach Jim Zorn an "extra set of eyes," Jurgensen said, "If I was Zorn, I'd quit."

He also said if the Redskins had started backup quarterback Todd Collins this season instead of Jason Campbell, they would be 4-0 and indicated he would have benched Campbell at halftime of the Tampa Bay game in favor of Collins. There's a decent chance the straight-shooting Jurgensen told Zorn the same thing, just as he did when he told Zorn he would have ignored the halfback option call Zorn sent in during the game against the St. Louis Rams earlier in the season.

Zorn and the Redskins took a savage beating on many television pregame shows in the hours before the kickoff against Carolina, but Jurgensen's on-air comments should be considered particularly meaningful because he's always had the ear of owner Daniel Snyder.

Wouldn't it be interesting to hear Snyder's reaction to Jurgensen's pregame comments? That obviously is not going to happen so long as the owner sticks to his policy of "no comment" during the season.

Still, Larry Michael, the team's radio play-by-play voice and a full-time Redskins' employee, could have done us all a favor during his regular Sunday pregame session with Vinny Cerrato by specifically asking the team's vice president for football operations about Jurgensen's remarks. Sadly, though quite predictably, it never happened.

By the way , when (obviously not if) the Redskins do make a head coaching change, don't expect former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick to get an interview. Billick, now a game analyst for Fox, was assigned to the Carolina game and also was pointedly critical of Lewis's hiring during the game telecast, saying, "I'm not sure that's the message you want to send to your players."

Of the constant turmoil surrounding the team, Billick said, "That organization has brought it on themselves."

And you'd also have to wonder if columnist and author John Feinstein will be invited back for future guest appearances on ESPN-980's "Sports Reporters" after some of his comments directed toward the Redskins owner Tuesday afternoon.

Feinstein suggested if Redskins fans are that disgusted with all they're seeing, they should boycott Sunday's home game against Kansas City at FedEx Field. Stay home and watch on television, he suggested, and see what Snyder thinks about all those empty seats.

That clearly would get the message across, said Feinstein, who also speculated what might have happened if New England owner Robert Kraft came down to Bill Belichick's office after the Patriots' loss to Denver on Sunday and suggested bringing in former Redskins defensive coordinator Richie Petitbon as "another set of eyes."

Actually, with the Redskins' defense still unable to mount any consistent pass rush, bringing in Petitbon might actually not be a bad idea.

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