Rooting around in the dark
Well 32 days later and there's your big news, the studio that brought you true grit Marty Schottenheimer, weird science Steve Spurrier and return of the king Joe Gibbs brings you the next Redskins head coach: former NFL quarterback, Seahawks and Lions quarterbacks coach and Redskins offensive coordinator Jim Zorn, Dan Snyder's plan nine from Redskins Park.
Jim Zorn number of Redskins offensive plays coordinated: zero
Jim Zorn number of seasons as head coach or top coordinator: zero
Jim Zorn Redskins position for which first interviewed 23 January: not head coach
Jim may yet work out for the Redskins, I have thoughts on that for another post, my intent here is merely to wonder aloud why a team whose unexpected coaching vacancy left a team top heavy with coaching experience, two former head coaches in the top spots and in a year with only three other league vacancies should have had their pick of coaches needed 32 days to hire a guy two steps below head coach and out of favor on his previous team.
If this was the first round in the Vinny Cerrato era then we just took a beating.
By not taking immediate action on Gregg Williams, Al Saunders and sincere commitment to continuity the team sacrificed goodwill in the coaching community. Jim Mora and Steve Spagnulo recognized the team has no football sense and used Dan Snyder to get better deals, Jim Mora to be the future head coach of the Seahawks and Steve Spagnuolo a raise with the Giants, you have to look at Steve Spagnuolo as the prohibitive favorite next coach of the Giants. Everybody else, the search process just kept looking over the next hill to see if a pot of gold was there and time just ran out.
Good enough is never enough even when you want it, not when you are used to whatever you want.
I think the team wanted Gregg Williams but he was likely not overly fawning and I believe Gregg presented himself and Al Saunders as a unit maybe even with Greg Blache, Al would remain assistant head coach and get to run the offense his way, Greg would run the defense and slam there's your continuity. Dan and Vinny did not want Al Saunders and it went south for them both from there. Whiff.
Jim Schwartz, who interviewed before Gregg was a coordinator interview despite official designation to the contrary, he potentially could have been a defensive coordinator for Gregg Williams if Greg Blache had retired as planned and the Redskins would have had to offer a bigger deal and compensation. Once Gregg went out of favor Jim Schwartz went with him. Whiff.
Ron Meeks I don't think was ever a real contender, he was genuinely qualified and he met the rule, the team never wanted him, obviously he could not even rate safety candidate. Whiff.
Jim Mora was making a play for Seattle not Washington. All last season we read about Mike Holmgren oh losses hurt more now intense football malaise blah blah blah but by fishing with the Redskins Jim is telling Mike and Seahawks ownership they need to shit or get off the pot if you want me let's make a plan and Mike says ok one more season then it's yours. Dan got used, whiff.
Jim Fassel is like your out of town fuck buddy, you see each other every few years, have a few and hook up and then ignore his calls, he stops after a few weeks. Whiff.
Jim Zorn, well he wanted to stay in Seattle, he did not take the offensive coordinator position when first offered but shit rolls downhill and when Jim Mora's talking to the Redskins led him to get named Seahawks coach of the future we learned Jim Mora favors Gregg Knapp as his offensive coordinator so at best it's no growth in Seattle for Jim Zorn so he moved on to Washington as a first time coordinator and playcaller. There apparently was no competition for Jim Zorn's services. Glancing blow.
Steve Mariucci got sussed out and it looked like Jim Fassel or Steve, both had expressed approval of the coaches in place. Jim Fassel was disliked by Redskinsland so intensely that we are led to believe Jim's unpopularity gave Dan Snyder pause. Steve Mariucci feels like a carpetbagger. Whiff.
In the leadup to the Super Bowl, almost a month later Steve Spagnuolo and Josh McDaniels were suddenly in the discussion but this was really just a delaying tactic, buying time for what I do not know. Josh took himself out wisely, not only is he not ready Bill Belichick destroys his proteges, he is the black widow coach. Whiff.
After Steve's unit's performance in the Super Bowl he was suddenly flavor of the month. He interviewed for two days with Dan Snyder, probably barely concealing his laughter the whole time and then went back to New York and got a lot more money. Whiff.
All the while the Redskins were trolling for the big name. They were looking for a beeg juan, I really think despite pretending to keep expectations down Dan and Vinny were trying to land a name candidate, first it was Pete Carroll and Bill Cowher then I don't know who, did it move down to Jim Fassel and Steve Mariucci, then up to the next big thing with Spags?
What does it tell you about Redskins management that the big idea to look at Jim Zorn for the head coaching job as the eighth and final candidate on the 30th day of the search came during an interview with the seventh candidate who in support of his own qualifications reminded Dan and Vinny that other guys in the past have had limited top coordinator experience before getting head coaching jobs.
After all that they were back to Jim Fassel and by this time the fan displeasure meme had taken root and they just said, hey that gives me an idea and there you have it, Jim Zorn promoted from Seahawks quarterbacks coach to Redskins offensive coordinator to Redskins head coach in a span of 15 days.
So in all this why did Russ Grimm's phone never ring: simple. Dan Snyder knows Russ Grimm is eventually a loser for him. Russ is a sympathetic character for Redskins fans. No matter what happens, Dan will get the blame for failing and Russ will get credit for winning. Then one day when Dan has to fire Russ, then my friend Dan finds true bottom in the hearts of Redskins fans.
Russ will never coach for this team while Dan owns it, neither will any of Joe Gibbs' proteges, anyone that represents true Redskins football.
Somewhere Jim Fassel is hunched over straight bourbon griping bout I used to be somebody.
All right Jim Zorn, get in there, get to it, let's see what you got.
Composite image by me; clockwise from top: Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato: Doug Mills / AP from here; Vinny Cerrato: John McDonnell / Washington Post from here; Dan Snyder: uncredited image from here; Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder: uncredited image from here.