Like evolution this process took some unexpected turns
Joe Gibbs has left the building and Jim Zorn has been announced as the new head coach of the Washington Redskins. Here is a timeline of events leading up to this announcement, dates are of events where possible and when reported as noted. Readers help me find errors or where clarification is needed, drop a comment or send me a note and I'll update this thread:
Thursday 3 January 2008 - five days until Joe Gibbs resigns
Redskins offensive coordinator Al Saunders assures injured quarterback Jason Campbell he is still the team's number one quarterback after a four game hot streak by elevated backup Todd Collins pushed the team into the postseason.
Saturday 5 January - minus three days
The Redskins lose to the Seahawks 35-14 in the wild card playoff round. Following the game Redskins tailback Clinton Portis, often of a contentious relationship with the team and fans, indicates he is open to restructuring his contract to be more cap friendly and help keep the team together for the 2008 season.
Sunday 6 January - minus two days
Joe Gibbs conducts final team meetings and interviews for the season. Gregg Williams and Antwaan Randle El are quoted saying they have seen no indication Joe will not be back for 2008. Re-signing quarterback Todd Collins and a contract extension for Joe Gibbs are team priorities. The Redskins head into the offseason 20 million dollars over the cap and with many decisions to make. There is a report that Gregg Williams is a candidate for the Miami Dolphins head coaching position.
Monday 7 January - minus one day
Joe Gibbs conducts final press conference for Redskins 2007 season, is noncommittal about future (WaPost / WaTimes / excerpts). Despite Joe's attitude, players and coaches indicated it would be a surprise if Joe was not back and Joe leaves open the notion of a quarterback competition between Jason Campbell and Todd Collins. Michael Wilbon writes that the 2008 season starts now for the Redskins, priorities one and two are coaching and quarterbacking. In retrospect it reads as an admonition to Joe Gibbs, if he is going to get out he needs to do it quickly so the team can move on to plan B, which they surely have for a smooth transition.
Tuesday 8 January - zero day
Tom Boswell writes that not only does Joe want to stay, he wants a two year extension to keep it going. Redskins Notebook lists players entering free agency. Curly R breaks down the 12 minute breakdown that sent the Redskins home with a playoff loss. By 9:30 that morning it was all over the wire: Joe Gibbs was resigning from the team as head coach. By 11:30 that morning, Tom Boswell was back with an online column assessing what it means for Joe Gibbs to leave now. Mark Maske writes that the team could not name Gregg Williams head coach immediately even if they wanted to due to the Rooney Rule, but I thought a rule exception was promoting from within. Marty Schottenheimer enters the conversation for the first time. Dan Snyder addresses the assistant coaches and then not again for 16 days. Jason La Canfora at Redskins Insider does some math: add no endorsement by Dan Snyder of an in house candidate to one Dan Snyder denial that the team needs a GM and what does it look like you get: a bloodletting. Curly R on Joe Gibbs retirement.
Wednesday 9 January - one day
The news sinks in, Joe Gibbs is no longer the coach of the Redskins. The outpouring from fans and the local media is incredible. From the Washington Times: Joe Gibbs resigns, Joe's leaving is all about priorities, top candidates to replace Joe. It was noted that Joe Gibbs had endorsed no one and no names had surfaced from the team.
From the Washington Post: front page coverage of Joe's departure, Joe's decision was informed by family needs, Tom Boswell on Joe being in touch with his priorities, Len Shapiro on Joe leaving with his head held high and his legacy intact, a timeline of Joe Gibbs' career, an interactive look at major events on and off the field in Joe's second go round, Joe even got a Washington Post editorial. The Post's top candidates to replace Joe and Dan Snyder foreshadows a long coaching search. As might be expected when such a decision happens without warning coaches and players, who learned about Joe's departure after they had been dismissed for the final time, are all freaked out. Meanwhile, Joe spends the afternoon talking candidates (op. cit.) with the owner. Unnamed associates of Bill Cowher indicate he is not inclined to return to coaching for the 2008 season.
Sally Jenkins is the first to ask the question: has four years of Joe Gibbs matured the way Dan Snyder will run this franchise, or will the Redskins return to the whipsaw ways of an under .500 team?
Thursday 10 January - two days
Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator and Gregg Williams protege Jim Schwartz interviews for the head coaching position. Marty Schottenheimer's name appears in the coaching search for the second and final time. Michael Wilbon channels what every Redskins fan has known since Bobby Beathard resigned: Dan Snyder needs to find, enable and keep a professional to make all the football decisions. Victory Lap, Curly R's three part series on Joe Gibbs' retirement debuts.
Friday 11 January - three days
The Redskins interview an unnamed mystery candidate for the head coaching position. Ten days later, that candidate is revealed to be Jim Fassel. A source close to Al Saunders says Al thinks if he were a candidate for the head coaching position that he would have heard from the team, along with the rest of the coaches, Al has heard nothing from the team since a meeting with Dan Snyder three days earlier. Curly R's Joe Gibbs' Victory Lap part two.
Saturday 12 January - four days
While Joe Gibbs is back in North Carolina having family dinner, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has his first of four interviews for the head coaching job (also op. cit.) at Dan Snyder's home. Al Saunders is presumed already to be out and Jim Schwartz doesn't think after his interview that the Redskins intend to hire or appoint anyone approaching a general manager (ibid.). Curly R's final entry in Joe Gibbs' Victory Lap.
Sunday 13 January - five days
After Dan Snyder's Redskins One plane is spotted in Arizona on Friday 11 January, early speculation surrounds Dennis Green and Jim Fassel who despite denying any contact from the team did in fact interview that day. The Washington Times incorrectly reports that the mystery candidate from two days earlier was Russ Grimm. George Solomon writes that Joe Gibbs left on top with fans wanting more, even after a season of mistakes and a lot of mediocrity. Mike Wise endorses Gregg Williams as 'the candidate of substance.'
Monday 14 January - six days
The Redskins express interest in Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Ron Meeks and the Colts grant the Redskins permission to interview. An interview with either would satisfy the Rooney Rule. Gregg Williams has his second of four interviews with Dan Snyder.
Tuesday 15 January - one week
Gregg Williams, the only current Redskins coach that has had any interaction with ownership regarding the head coaching position (op. cit.), has his fourth interview for the head coaching position. He is still considered the front runner. Jim Mora's name appears for the first time as a candidate (ibid.). Jim Caldwell does not withdraw formally but appears no longer to be a candidate. Curly R on what a new coach means for the Redskins, Curly R it should not be Al Saunders.
Wednesday 16 January
Seattle Seahawks assistant head coach - defensive backs Jim Mora interviews for the head coaching spot, becoming the fourth candidate to interview for the job. Ron Meeks agrees to an interview. It is noted that the Redskins had originally planned to interview a total of five candidates (op. cit.). Ron Meeks would be the fifth. More than one previous coaching candidate has confided that they believe many of Joe Gibbs' assistants will be retained for the next coach (ibid.). Curly R it should not be Gregg Williams.
Thursday 17 January
Jim Mora has a second day of interviews and Ron Meeks has a formal interview. More than one coach anticipates a mass departure of defensive coaches should Gregg Williams not get the job (ibid.). Curly R on the rest of the coaching candidates to this point.
Friday 18 January
Jim Mora withdraws from contention in the Redskins head coaching search. It is of note that Jim Mora and Al Saunders who to this point still has had no contact with the team, may have the same agent. Bill Cowher, Dick Vermeil, Pete Carroll, Jimmy Johnson and Brian Billick surface in speculation.
Sunday 20 January
Bill Cowher reiterates that he is not interested in coaching any team in 2008. Rehab on Jason Campbell's left kneecap is almost complete and he is looking forward to a new coach. On 7 January, four days after Al Saunders had assured Jason the Redskins starting job was his Joe Gibbs had left the position open to competition one day prior to resigning. George Solomon questions why Gregg Williams, a man who has worked for owner Dan Snyder for four years would need to interview for the head coaching job four times. Curly R on the case for Russ Grimm.
Monday 21 January
Jim Fassel and Russ Grimm come back up in speculation and Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's name appears for the first time (ibid.). Jim Fassel has his second interview with the Redskins, in secret. This news and the revelation that Jim Fassel was the mystery candidate ten days earlier on 11 January will not become public for two more days.
Tuesday 22 January - two weeks
Dan Snyder promotes (also op. cit.) Vinny Cerrato from vice president of football operations to executive vice president / football operations. Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren announces the 2008 season will be his last. Jim Mora is the heir apparent though is not named coach of the future. Throughout the morning conventional wisdom continues to coalesce around Jim Fassel as the mystery candidate then at midday, Redskins Insider breaks the news that Jim Fassel is the mystery coaching candidate. Hundreds of comments in that thread alone heap scorn on this revelation. Curly R's reaction to the Jim Fassel revelation.
Wednesday 23 January
Revelations continue (op. cit.): that Jim Fassel is the mystery candidate from 11 January, that Jim Fassel had a second interview two days earlier on 21 January and that Jim Fassel is now a leading candidate for the Redskins head coaching position. Meanwhile, Jim Zorn interviews for the Redskins offensive coordinator position, not the head coaching position. Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is first mentioned as a possible defensive coordinator for Jim Fassel were he to become Redskins coach (ibid.). Michael Wilbon writes that the Redskins always seem to keep the drama high in the offseason and asks a rhetorical question: what would you think if your boss of four years needed four interviews to decide on a promotion? The Redskins coaching vacancy and carousel starts to become a league wide issue as NFL players and coaches at the Senior Bowl in Mobile Alabama refer to the Redskins as a laughingstock.
This is the day Jim Fassel very nearly became the head coach of the Redskins. Late in the day rumors begin to coalesce around impending coaching announcements: Jim Fassel as head coach, Jim Zorn as offensive coordinator and Rex Ryan as defensive coordinator, all pending final details. However, this would be a lateral move for Rex Ryan and he is still under contract to the Baltimore Ravens who may block the move. Late in the evening the Seahawks open talks with Jim Zorn about staying in Seattle. Ultimately Vinny Cerrato calls Jim Fassel and tells him the team will extend the coaching search through the Super Bowl.
Thursday 24 January
Redskins fans' visceral and negative reaction to the news that Jim Fassel is the leading candidate is so severe that it is documented (op. cit.) in the Sports page of the Washington Post print edition. Rex Ryan announces plans to stay in Baltimore and the planned coaching announcement trifecta looks to be off (op. cit.). The Chargers prevent an interview with quarterbacks coach John Ramsdell for the Redskins offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach position. The Chargers are coached by former Redskins coach Norval Turner, who was fired by Dan Snyder in 2000. Steve Spagnuolo reappears in speculation and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' name appears for the first time (op. cit.). The remaining assistant coaches are notified (op. cit.) by Joe Gibbs that the process could go on for weeks (also op. cit.). It is the first update the coaches have had from the team in 16 days. Joe's update does not clarify Gregg Williams' standing which is now in doubt (ibid.). Chris Cooley, Chris Samuels and Ethan Albright all will wear jersey number 21 at the Pro Bowl in honor of fallen teammate Sean Taylor (also ibid.). Curly R on the Redskins' lack of adult supervision.
Friday 25 January
Jim Fassel's candidacy is reported as quote collapsed unquote two days after it becomes public and he feels quote unquote manipulated (op. cit.). The inability of the Redskins to land Jim Zorn, Rex Ryan and possibly John Ramsdell as key assistant coaches is cited (ibid.) as a reason for the collapse. Gregg Williams is first linked to the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator position (ibid.). Tom Boswell asks if change makes sense for the Redskins given what Joe Gibbs has put into place. Mark Maske writes that waiting for Super Bowl assistants to become available is a risky strategy, it may alienate current candidates if they are still available. Curly R on the Redskins burning every bridge they can find.
Late in the day the news breaks: the Redskins have hired Jim Zorn to be offensive coordinator despite having no head coach in place, and Al Saunders now expects not to be back with the team. Sources close to the situation report that Jim Zorn took the position in anticipation of either Jim Fassel or Steve Spagnuolo taking the head coaching job. Circumstances have soured between Gregg Williams and the team and he is now considering dropping out of contention as soon as the following day. Reports that Gregg Williams somehow disparaged Joe Gibbs during the interview process surface for the first time (op. cit.). Rex Ryan opts to stay in Baltimore and will not be a candidate for the Redskins defensive coordinator position (ibid.).
Saturday 26 January
Gregg Williams and Dan Snyder meet in the morning and he and Al Saunders are quote unquote released, their time with the Redskins is at an end. Defensive assistant Greg Blache is promoted to defensive coordinator. Al Saunders was never a candidate for the head coaching position. When asked about who will be the team's next head coach, Jim Zorn is as excited to find out as the next guy. Sally Jenkins writes that if Dan Snyder has a plan no one can tell. Bonus points to Sally for references to Star Blazers and Land of the Lost.
Sunday 27 January
It is reinforced that Al Saunders and quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor have fallen in Dan Snyder's eyes, they were never in the team's 2008 plans regardless of the head coach. Al is again linked to the vacant offensive coordinator position in St. Louis (op. cit.). The team is confirmed as having scheduled a second interview with Ron Meeks for the following Tuesday. The Washington Post publishes a timeline to date of the Redskins coaching search. Curly R laughs. George Solomon expresses serious incredulity with Dan Snyder's direction in this search: derailing continuity after Sean Taylor's death and in the wake of a playoff run, passing over a no brainer candidate in Gregg Williams, wasting fan goodwill and mentions once again the possibility that Gregg angered Dan Snyder over the noncredible notion that Joe Gibbs did not know about the missing man formation. Mike Wise writes that Dan Snyder blew it, there is no sense to the team's rationale and it begins to become clear that Dan Snyder is mounting a smear campaign designed to tarnish fan, player and media favorite Gregg Williams, a campaign designed to minimize the negative impact of his firing. Steve Mariucci's name appears in conjunction with the Redskins head coaching position for the first time.
Monday 28 January
Virginia native Larry Brooks surfaces as a candidate for the Redskins vacant defensive line coaching position and interviews with the team. Larry has coaching ties both to Greg Blache and Steve Mariucci. Late in the day Larry's hiring looks imminent. Curly R begins a three part series on Dan Snyder's hatchet job on Gregg Williams.
Tuesday 29 January - three weeks
The Vinny Cerrato era has formally begun. Ron Meeks interviews with the team in Indianapolis, the interview lasts five hours, half the length of Ron's first interview on 17 January. The Redskins head coaching position is now down to four credible candidates: Ron Meeks, Steve Mariucci, Jim Fassel and Steve Spagnuolo. The Washington Post reports (op. cit.) that the Redskins spoke with USC head coach and former NFL head coach Pete Carroll quote earlier in the month unquote of January but no formal interview was conducted and the candidacy ended. ESPN reports that a deal is in place for the Redskins to hire Larry Brooks as defensive line coach. The report turns out to be incorrect, Larry is not hired. The St. Louis Rams hire Al Saunders as offensive coordinator (op. cit.). Curly R on how if the Redskins really were serious about Steve Spagnuolo and Josh McDaniels the team would have requested permission to interview them two weeks ago. Since they did not the Redskins are now prohibited from interviewing them during the Super Bowl bye week. Curly R's part two of Dan Snyder's hatchet job on Gregg Williams.
Wednesday 30 January
Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels are continued subjects of speculation for the Redskins vacant head coaching position, along with Jim Fassel, Steve Mariucci and Ron Meeks. Redskins quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor has had no update on his status with the team. With new offensive coordinator Jim Zorn expected to work closely with the quarterbacks, Bill may be gone. Bill's tenure with the Redskins dates back to Joe Gibb's return in 2004. The Washington Post reports (op. cit.) that Larry Brooks will be offered the defensive line coaching position, like the ESPN report from the previous day this report is incorrect. Curly R's final entry on the hatchet job of Gregg Williams, then begins a two part series on Dan Snyder's history with head coaches and how his newest coach whomever it is inevitably will disappoint Redskins fans.
Thursday 31 January
The Redskins announce they will seek a formal interview with Steve Mariucci. Steve's contract with NFL Network includes an out clause for Steve to go back into coaching. In an interview with Mark Maske, Joe Gibbs defends Dan Snyder's search process and the steps Dan has taken to replace Joe. Disgruntled Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson is first linked in trade rumors with the Redskins. Chad is a Drew Rosenhaus client, along with fellow Redskins Santana Moss, Clinton Portis and the departed Sean Taylor. Curly R's part two on the hard bigotry of high expectations of a Redskins coach.
Friday 1 February 2008
The rest of the story of Jim Zorn's hiring and Greg Blache's promotion is told: Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato were inclined to part with Al Saunders and Bill Lazor. This factored into Gregg Williams falling out of favor as Gregg wanted to keep Al and streamline the 700 page playbook. Outside head coaching candidates Jim Fassel and Ron Meeks favored or at least found acceptable Jim Zorn as offensive coordinator. Jim Zorn wanted to stay in Seattle but with Mike Holmgren retiring after the 2008 season, Jim Mora the heir apparent and Jim Mora's prospective choice for offensive coordinator being Greg Knapp, there was little room for career growth in Seattle for Jim Zorn so he accepted the Redskins offensive coordinator position despite the absence of a head coach. Jim Zorn was told in his interviews the Redskins would hire as head coach one of the three Jim Fassel, Ron Meeks or Gregg Williams. Greg Blache was set to retire but when the Redskins could not reach a deal with the Baltimore Ravens for defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, the Redskins decided to go in house. With Gregg Williams all but disqualified the team made a contract offer that Greg Blache could not refuse and he became the Redskins defensive coordinator despite the absence of a head coach.
Former Redskins and current Super Bowl bound Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce is profiled in the Washinton Post, it includes unflattering characterizations of Redskins owner Dan Snyder in general and regarding the Redskins coaching search. Curly R on why Antonio is right and the owner is fumbling the ball. Curly R on puking if Steve Mariucci is the next coach of the Redskins.
Saturday 2 February
Former Redskins cornerback Darrell Green is elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Former Redskins receiver Art Monk is elected in his eighth year of eligibility. Finalist Russ Grimm is not elected in his fourth year of eligibility. Darrell and Art join former Redskins QB Sammy Baugh, RB Bill Dudley, WR Bobby Mitchell, WR Charley Taylor, LB Samm Huff, QB Sonny Jurgenson, SS Ken Houston and RB John Riggins among others.
Sunday 3 February
The Redskins announce they will interview Steve Spagnuolo in the wake of the New York Giants' excellent defensive performance in a 17-14 Super Bowl win over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots.
Monday 4 February
With the Super Bowl over and all candidates now available the endgame looms and there is still little sense of where the Redskins will go with the decision to hire a new head coach. Steve Spagnuolo has a phone conversation with Dan Snyder and is scheduled to fly to Washington to interview with the team the following day. The conventional wisdom is now that Steve Spagnuolo and Jim Fassel are the leading candidates for the job.
Tuesday 5 February - four weeks
Steve Spagnuolo interviews with the Redskins, he is considered to be very interested (op. cit.) in the job and spends the night in Dan Snyder's guest house. Steve Mariucci is no longer considered a serious candidate for the Redskins head coaching position (ibid.). Gregg Williams is reported to be in final negotiations to take the defensive coordinator position with the Jacksonville Jaguars then later in the day accepts the position (ibid.). The Washington Post reports that running backs coach Earnest Byner, whose Redskins coaching contract had expired after the 2007 season, interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but after discussions with coach Jon Gruden has decided to return to Washington and will rejoin the Redskins in 2008. These reports turn out to be false and Earnest Byner will leave the team in eight days. Redskins quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor interviews in Seattle for the quarterbacks coach position vacated by Jim Zorn when he agreed to become the Redskins offensive coordinator. The Redskins hold a reception in Ashburn honoring 2008 Hall of Fame inductees Art Monk and Darrell Green.
Wednesday 6 February - 29 days
Steve Spanuolo has a second day of interviews with the Redskins. Jim Fassel believes he and Steve Spagnuolo are the final candidates for the head coaching position, a notion with which Ron Meeks and Steve Mariucci concur (op. cit.), as does the Washington Post. All candidates believe the process will end tonight though only Jim Fassel receives a call from the team telling him to stand by. Explaining his withdrawal from consideration as Redskins coach on 18 January, Jim Mora receives a new five year contract in Seattle and is announced as the Seahawks future head coach following Mike Holmgren's retirement following the 2008 season.
Thursday 7 February - 30 days
Steve Spagnuolo leaves Washington in the morning without a contract. The AP reports that Steve and the Redskins agreed Steve was a year or two from being ready to be a head coach, a charge vigorously debunked by league sources. By noon the news breaks that Steve will stay with the New York Giants and will receive a new three year contract. Jim Fassel appears now to be the leading candidate. All remaining candidates are confused (op. cit.) about what is happening. There is no outgoing contact from the team to any of the coaching candidates (op. cit.). Redskins quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor becomes the quarterbacks coach in Seattle, replacing Jim Zorn. Jack Burns, Redskins receivers coach during Joe Gibbs first coaching run, quarterbacks coach in 2004 and offensive assistant in 2005, 2006 and 2007, departs the team (op. cit.). A plane owned by Dan Snyder is tracked to Phoenix Arizona (ibid.), placing it in the proximity of Jim Fassel and Russ Grimm, who has never been contacted by the team (ibid.). Sally Jenkins calls Dan Snyder a coach killer and writes, before the news broke that Steve was withdrawing, that Steve Spagnuolo would be crazy to take this job. Curly R on dwindling options.
This is the day Jim Zorn began interviewing for the head coaching position of the Washington Redskins.
Friday 8 February - 31 days
The endless ownership huddles continue and the media begins to get punchy. Jim Fassel is still considered the front runner for the head coaching position and both Jim Fassel and still in the running candidate Ron Meeks voiced approval of the Redskins proavtively hiring Jim Zorn as offensive coordinator (op. cit.). John Palermo is hired as Redskins defensive line coach. John has 29 years' coaching experience, none in the NFL and has ties (op. cit.) to Vinny Cerrato going back to Notre Dame and Lou Holtz in the 80s.
Unbeknownst to fans and the media, Jim Zorn interviews all day (op. cit.) with Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato.
Saturday 9 February - 32nd and final day
After another otherwise uneventful day, the news breaks in the evening of the 32nd day since Joe Gibbs announced his departure: Jim Zorn, the great explainer, already reminding (op. cit.) his supporters of Joe Gibbs himself, will not be the Redskins new offensive coordinator, he will be the next Redskins head coach (op. cit.) and will get a five year deal. Dan Snyder had secretly dispatched his Redskins One private jet to Seattle earlier in the day to gather Jim Zorn's family and return them to Washington (ibid.). The team no longer needs to run stall tactics to keep Jim Fassel at bay and the other candidates are not notified immediately (op. cit.). Cornerback Shawn Springs and receiver Antwaan Randle El support the team's decision to promote Jim Zorn. Speculation begins to swirl immediately around former running back and former Jim Zorn Seahawks teammate Sherman Smith as the leading candidate for the now vacant offensive coordinator position. At least one NFL coach anonymously wonders if Redskins management has any idea of what it is doing (op. cit.).
Sunday 10 February - one day since the hiring of Jim Zorn
The Redskins hold a press conference to introduce Jim Zorn as the new head coach. There are no players in attendance at this event. Owner Dan Snyder iterates and reiterates that the Redskins followed the process exactly as they had planned and that the first thing they looked for in the next coach was character and not, say, football experience. Surprise choice for head coach Jim Zorn praises Dan Snyder for maintaining team continuity in this transition despite the absence of Joe Gibbs, Al Saunders and Gregg Williams (ibid.) from the coaching staff. New coach Jim Zorn reveals the depth of his knowledge of the Washington Redskins by referring to them as the maroon and black and praises (ibid.) Gregg Williams and Joe Gibbs for coming up with the thoughtful and original Missing Man Formation (op. cit.) tribute to Sean Taylor in game 12 against the Buffalo Bills in December. If rumors are to be believed, Gregg Williams' failure to inform Joe Gibbs of the Missing Man Formation tribute was a main reason for owner Dan Snyder's dissatisfaction with Gregg Williams and a contributing factor in Dan's passing over and eventual firing of Gregg, a theory thoroughly debunked by Curly R.
Jim Zorn will coordinate the offense, call plays and work with the quarterbacks in addition to his general duties as head coach. Jim Fassel was left at the altar for a second time and despite it all, still quote likes Dan Snyder unquote.
George Solomon writes that the team has been wracked by inept public relations for the past 32 days. Mike Wise writes that the Redskins coaching search was handled poorly but that Jim Zorn may be as crafty a hire and with the same upside as Joe Gibbs' hiring in 1981. Michael Wilbon writes that Jim Zorn is a nobody in the NFL but that the Redskins' recent record with non nobodies proves maybe this is a good thing. Washington Post special photo gallery of Jim Zorn's hiring. Curly R's welcome to Jim Zorn.
In honor of Darrell Green's and Art Monk's elections to the Hall of Fame, the NFL announces the Redskins will play in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton Ohio on 8 August 2008. Their opponent will be the Indianapolis Colts.
Monday 11 February - plus two days
Jason La Canfora reconstructs the Jim Zorn hiring (op. cit.), then lists some of the mundane activities waiting on Jim: contact players, provide coaches a schedule, hire an offensive coordinator, develop Jason Campbell into an elite quarterback. Five priorities for Jim Zorn to get started with. Speculation continues to swirl around Tennessee Titans assistant head coach-offense and Seattle Seahawks running backs coach Stump Mitchell as Jim Zorn's top choices to round out the coaching staff. Mike Wise writes (op. cit.) that Jim Zorn's opening day should have been about Jim Zorn and not about not Joe Gibbs. Sally Jenkins writes satirically that Redskins fans should not be upset about a botched searched and an unproven coach and look at the bright side: hope is easier to come by than Redskins tickets. Mark Maske writes that the 2008 class of NFL head coaches, Jim Zorn, John Harbaugh, Tony
Soprano Sparano and Mike Smith has little star power. Of the four, only one had a coordinator level position in 2007. Dan Steinberg writes that Jim Zorn is a true Renaissance man. Jason La Canfora's video take on the Jim Zorn hire. Curly R on mixed imagery in the Washington Post.
Tuesday 12 February - plus three days
Tennessee Titans assistant head coach-offense Sherman Smith flies to Washington, tours Redskins Park with Jim Zorn and interviews with the Redskins for the vacant offensive coordinator position. Sherman is a former Seahawks teammate of Jim Zorn's, from 1976 to 1982. The Redskins return to football and begin assessing the team's offseason priorities: renegotiating salaries to reduce cap numbers, an elite receiver, possibly Chad Johnson, a linebacker, possibly Lance Briggs, again, defensive line, another new system for quarterback Jason Campbell and whether to re sign backups Todd Collins and Mark Brunell, the need for youth on the offensive line and a quality cornerback. Hall of Fame receiver, Jim Zorn's former Seahawks teammate, former Congressman and current far right wing Christian conservative zealot Steve Largent approves (ibid.) of Jim Zorn's hiring. Steve and Jim now live in the same city since their playing days together in Seattle from 1976 (ibid.) to 1984.
Dan Steinberg quotes Jim Fassel blaming football bloggers in part for his failure to get the Redskins head coaching job, specifically caling out a Curly R piece from 24 January (op. cit.). The Redskins announce (op. cit.) the hiring of offensive assistant Chris Meidt and defensive line coach John Palermo. Curly R on the Redskins management team; Curly R plays how bout to TexSkins' what if.
Wednesday 13 February - plus four days
Without an in person interview, the Redskins hire Stump Mitchell as running backs coach and give him a two year deal, replacing former Redskins player Earnest Byner. Stump, a former St. Louis - Phoenix Cardinals running back, and Jim Zorn coached together on Mike Holmgren's Seahawks staff from 2001 to 2007. Earnest had interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their vacant running backs coach but had withdrawn to stay on Joe Gibbs staff in Washington (ibid.). When Joe Gibbs stepped down unexpectedly on 8 January, Earnest Byner was not under contract to the Redskins. Sherman Smith is quote leaning toward unquote leaving the Titans and coming to the Redskins as offensive coordinator. In an interview in Daytona Florida, Joe Gibbs praises Dan Snyder's selection of Jim Zorn as head coach, specifically noting the continuity in the process with the team keeping by Joe's estimates quote 85 percent unquote of Joe's coaching staff. Curly R responds to Dan Steinberg and Jim Fassel; Curly R on Jim Fassel coming clean in the media on not getting the Redskins job.
Thursday 14 February - plus five days
Sherman Smith is scheduled (op. cit.) to meet with Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher to inform Jeff that Sherman will be leaving the Titans to accept the Redskins offensive coordinator position. However, Jeff is unavailable to meet with Sherman and the meeting is postponed until the following day while Sherman continues to contemplate the Redskins offer. Sherman refers to Redskins coach Jim Zorn as quote Z-man unquote (ibid.). Curly R on the Redskins rumored pursuit of troubled Cincinnati receiver Chad Johnson.
Friday 15 February - plus six days
Curly R thanks Earnest Byner. The Washington Post reports (op. cit.) that Sherman Smith will accept the Redskins offensive coordinator position today. In fact, he initially rejects the Redskins' offer in favor of staying on Jeff Fisher's staff in Tennessee. Jim Zorn encourages Sherman to quote think about it for a few hours unquote. Later in the day however, Sherman is persuaded by Jim Zorn's argument and accepts the Redskins offer, becoming the final addition to Jim Zorn's Redskins coaching staff.
Curly R's offseason coverage of the Washington Redskins continues.
Earth's timeline from here.