Sunday, September 27, 2009

The End and the Beginning

This has all happened before

As I prepare Curly R's preview for today's game it seems appropriate to remind Redskins fans of a bit of history as pointed out in a column by the Washington Post's Mike Wise on Thursday, this is not the first time an untested Redskins head coach has been on the hot seat early in a season:

...[T]his is nothing new, the notion that a local media guy asked the embattled coach to address his job security. And the coach headed off the question quickly. It happened in this town, with this team -- 28 years ago.

Then, Frank Herzog, the iconic former play-by-play announcer for the Washington Redskins, asked then-rookie coach Joe Gibbs, "Two, three more games like this, Joe, and does Mr. Cooke say that's it, goodbye?"

As Post columnist Dave Kindred chronicled, Gibbs replied with a smile, "That's up to Mr. Cooke. You'd have to ask Mr. Cooke that."

Joe Gibbs was 0-4 and on his way to a 0-5 start in his rookie season as a head coach.

See, they took their football serious then too.

Obviously there are key differences, this was Joe Gibbs' first season, this is Jim Zorn's second. Owner Jack Kent Cooke had an independent and decisive general manager in Bobby Beathard advising him, now owner Dan Snyder has a lackey in Vinny Cerrato, the very definition of a yes man.

And perhaps most importantly, the Redskins then were just on the cusp of establishing their place as one of the NFL's better franchises, now that legacy seems so far in the rearview that crotchety old farts like me date themselves when discussing it.

This stretch of games up through the Redskins bye in week eight will mark an end to the Jim Zorn era, or its true beginning.

Joe Gibbs: Getty Images from here.