Jim Zorn is no longer head coach of the Washington Redskins. According to the team’s website “the Redskins have relieved Zorn of his duties as head coach”. The news ends months of speculation about the team’s leadership and follows last night’s disappointing loss to the San Diego Chargers. The Redskins end the season with a record of 4 wins and 12 losses.
Zorn was elevated to head coach in 2008 after joining the team in 2007 under then head coach Joe Gibbs. At the time Zorn’s promotion came as a surprise due to his lack of experience. Zorn had previously never called a play in an NFL game. Still, Zorn’s initial season as head coach started with an encouraging 6-2 start prior to ending the season at 8-8. In 2009 the Redskins developed a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Early signs of trouble came as the Redskins lost games to both the Lions and Rams, the worst teams in the NFL. Games with the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers were all lost by three points after the Redskins lead for most of the game. The Redskins came close to defeating the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints but crumbled in the fourth quarter.
Many sports analysts and fans attributed the inability to win games to Zorn’s lack of play calling experience. Redskins management attempted to correct the problem in November by hiring offensive consultant Sherm Lewis to take over play calling responsibilities. While the team’s playing performance did improve under Lewis’s guidance its overall ability to compete did not. The combination of player injuries, lack of leadership and soap opera drama both on and off the field proved to be too much to overcome.
Zorn finishes his tenure with the Redskins with a 12-20 record. Zorn was the Redskin’s 6th head coach since the team was purchased by Daniel Snyder in 1999.