The Washington Times
Friday, October 23, 2009


Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn will remain in place for the rest of the season, said front office chief Vinny Cerrato Friday on his weekly radio show.

During a rambling opening statement on his show, Cerrato began by saying: “Let me start by making a few things perfectly clear — Jim Zorn is the head coach of the Washington Redskins and will be for the rest of the year and hopefully for the future.”

Although the decision could change if the Redskins fall to 2-5 with a loss to Philadelphia Monday night, Cerrato’s comments are the first from management/ownership that support Zorn.

Cerrato, the team’s executive vice president of football operations, defended owner Dan Snyder’s reclusiveness, criticized the comments made by longtime Zorn friend Steve Largent (although not mentioning him by name), expressed frustration with the offense, said the Redskins “need the fans big time” Monday night and debunked a rumor that Joe Gibbs was returning to run the front office.

Zorn was stripped of the play calling after Sunday’s loss to Kansas City. Cerrato said he and Zorn decided Monday morning to give the duties to Sherm Lewis. Several sources say the opposite is true — the decision was made by Cerrato and Cerrato alone on Sunday night and that Lewis was the only choice.

As for Snyder staying silent, Cerrato said: “There are a lot of media people who say Dan needs to say this, needs to say that. Dan has never spoken to the media during the season for over a decade. Dan’s thing is, during the season, the stage belongs to the head of football operations, the head coach, the players. That’s why he doesn’t talk.”

Other highlights:

• On Largent, who called the move “a joke” and said Zorn had no control over hiring his staff: “Maybe his friend thought he was protecting Jim. His friend forgets this: We were a top-five defense and have been to the playoffs [before Zorn was hired]. In Jim’s contract, he controls everything over his staff. The thing about it is, his friend doesn’t mention, is Jim worked with all these coaches for a week prior to becoming the head coach and he said during the [job] interview, ‘I want those guys.’ ”

• “The thing about this building, the team is tight, the relationships are tight and we’re just trying to prepare to win a game Monday night and excite the fans and get the fans back excited about this football team. We just want to beat the Philadelphia Eagles Monday night — that’s what we’re trying to accomplish through all this — the off-the-wall comments here, off-the-wall comments there. Dan wants nothing more than to win for the fans. He wants to please these fans and he’s so frustrated because — the thing about it is, the fans want to be entertained at the game. Two field goals is not entertaining.”

• (On the awkwardness of this week): “It’s changed. It’s different than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 games. It’s a big difference. This is what I explained to Jim and some of the offensive coaches — it hasn’t been one or two games.”

• (On the addition of Lewis): “Look at all the things we’ve tried to help. We could have done other things drastically.”

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