Monday, January 4, 2010

Rebooting a Franchise

At 7:41 am ET this morning, the Redskins officially fired head coach Jim Zorn.  We all knew it was coming as soon as the season ended, even Zorn.  Then the season ended and the axe fell.

In the period of time after a coach is fired, there are two different types of reactions for fans and media to express.  In one of those reactions, the former coach is seen as the sympathetic figure and is wished well for the future.  In the other one, the firing of the coach was seen as a long time coming; good riddance.  These reactions do not usually go hand in hand -- it's difficult to see a fired coach as a sympathetic figure while still being thankful for his firing.

Except with Jim Zorn.  Everyone likes Zorn.  He's honest and classy and earthy and quirky, a very unique brand of football personality.  (Name another NFL coach who would play the viola with the Seattle Symphony!  Thanks to the brilliant Dan Steinberg.)  Everyone didn't mind Jim Zorn as Redskins coach in 2008, when he started 6-2 and finished 2-6.

This year?  He had to go.

The Redskins went 4-12, including losses to dismal Kansas City and hapless Detroit.  They went 0-6 in their division, scored six total points in two games against archrival Dallas, attempted a ludicrous fake field goal in the midst of getting blown out by the Giants, and wrapped up the whole sorry campaign with a 23-20 loss to the second-stringers of the San Diego Chargers yesterday.  Along the way, the team used 10 different offensive linemen, five different tailbacks, and four different punters.

It was an embarrassing season to be a Skins fan, and all of us supporters of the burgundy and gold knew it right from Week 3.

I look forward all summer to Washington kicking off the new NFL season.  This year, I couldn't wait for it to be over.

Getting rid of Zorn, well, that's a baby step.  Guess Mike Shanahan's flying in now.  I'll be optimistic until the new season starts.  (I've already started trying to decide who the Redskins should draft in the first round in April.)  (Answer:  Russell Okung.)

Here's who the Redskins need at least as much as a new coaching staff:

Quarterback (Campbell's a free agent)
Running Back
Full Back
Offensive Line
Wide Receiver
Linebacker
Safety
Cornerback

That's quite a shopping list, another mark of a really bad team.

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