Jim Zorn, fired by Redskins, finds work without moving as quarterbacks coach of the Ravens

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 11, 2010; 9:52 PM

WESTMINSTER, MD. - The drive to work is quite a bit lengthier, which could test the depth of his books-on-tape collection. The job to which he's driving isn't as prestigious. Jim Zorn acknowledged here this week that the latest abrupt twist in his career path isn't ideal, not after spending the last two seasons as the head coach of the Washington Redskins.

But after spending more than two hours on a steamy morning instructing a new group of football-throwing pupils that includes Joe Flacco and Marc Bulger, Zorn said he's enjoying life as the first-year quarterbacks coach of the Baltimore Ravens and is pleased to be back at work in the NFL.

"I feel very fortunate to be working and coaching," Zorn said. "I love it. I can't say that not being the head football coach is okay. But it's where I'm at today. I'm having a great time."

As landing spots go, Zorn found a good one after being fired by the Redskins following a 4-12 season. The Ravens appear to be a solid Super Bowl contender after trading for a top wide receiver, Anquan Boldin, in the offseason to aid the development of Flacco, their third-year quarterback.

"It's going well," Zorn said. "Joe is a very conscientious guy. He's working hard. He's coachable. He's got some skills."

Zorn said there is some give-and-take in the relationship because he's learning the nuances of an offensive system that Flacco already knows. The Ravens signed Bulger, the former St. Louis Rams starter, as a veteran backup. But Flacco is the clear-cut starter, and Zorn is working with Flacco on his footwork and other details, such as teaching the young quarterback to trust a gifted receiver such as Boldin. Flacco seems to be listening.

"Anquan is a guy where you can put the ball anywhere, and he'll go get it for you," Flacco said this week.

The Ravens open their preseason Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium against the Carolina Panthers, with Flacco and the other starters scheduled to play a quarter or less.

If Flacco and the Ravens find success, opportunities could abound for everyone involved. Zorn said he wants to be a head coach again, but he also said he's currently focused on helping Flacco, head coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Zorn declined to characterize his feelings about his experience with the Redskins.

"It could be about me whining, and I'm not much of a whiner," Zorn said. "I try not to be, anyway. What I'm trying to do is learn from all the things that were good, learn from maybe some of the negative things, and then push forward and try to be better as I go along."

And what did he learn?

"I just know how hard it is for the head football coach to make sure his program stays on the rails," Zorn said. "He's got to have good people around him - and I certainly did in D.C. - and he's got to have support and then go hard and trust the guys that you work for, trust the guys that you work with. Those are the things that really have to be there. Those things have to be there for any team to have a chance, I believe."

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