Players Ask Management To Publicly Endorse Zorn

Redskins Eager to Unite, Focus on the Chiefs

"I wish someone upstairs would just say he's going to be our coach for the season," one Redskins player said of embattled Coach Jim Zorn, above. (By Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
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Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 15, 2009

Preparing for yet another winless opponent, Washington Redskins players concluded practice Wednesday in a light drizzle, and the storm clouds surrounding Redskins Park showed no signs of dissipating. Inside the locker room, two prominent players on offense and a veteran defensive player said they want team management to publicly address Coach Jim Zorn's job security.

If the team doesn't intend to fire Zorn, the players said, the coach should be given a public vote of confidence so that players won't have to bear the responsibility each week of responding to speculation about their embattled coach.

The players, who spoke on condition that their names not be used, said they had hoped management would soon release a statement endorsing Zorn to silence any doubts about his immediate future to eliminate what they said has become a daily distraction.

"I wish someone upstairs would just say he's going to be our coach for the season," said one of the players. "That way, we don't have to answer any more questions about it and everybody knows we're in this boat together."

A team official said the Redskins would not comment on Zorn's status Wednesday. Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins' executive vice president of football operations, was given the opportunity last week on a conference call with reporters to offer such an endorsement and chose not to.

Two of the players added that any statement short of a vote of confidence -- including not commenting -- leads to organizational divide at a time everyone associated with the Redskins needs to unite in order to turn the season around.

What everyone at Redskins Park does agree on: With a season that's in disrepair after just five weeks, there's a lot riding on Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"It's not just another game," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "It's a big game for us -- for a lot of ways and a lot of reasons. We're in a tough division. You can't afford to fall too behind in your division. And for the morale of our team, to get confidence going back in the right direction, you got to do everything you can to get the win."

With a 2-3 record against a soft schedule, Zorn's job security has become a popular topic nationally -- with names of potential successors already bandied about on ESPN, network pregame shows, local radio, blogs and Twitter. But inside the locker room, players continue to publicly support the second-year coach.

"Guys have been kind of on eggshells walking around here for the last couple of weeks," kick returner Rock Cartwright said. "But we don't make any decisions. Mr. Snyder and Vinny, those guys make the decisions. We leave it up to them guys, but we're still behind Coach Zorn. We're still going to fight for him."

As the team has struggled, Zorn has continually stressed that his players need to address small details and better execute. And while the coach went to great lengths in his Monday media availability to accept responsibility for the team's woes, players say a coaching change won't solve the Redskins' problems.

"If you want to blame someone, look at the film. Look at the guys who are out there trying to play," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "We haven't been doing a great job. Bottom line, we haven't been doing a great job. I think the blame lies with us.

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