The Washington Redskins have a talented, experienced coaching staff coming into the 2009 season. While Jim Zorn, their head coach, is not as experienced in his role, the coordinators have past experience that the players will lean on.
Here is a profile of the 2009 Washington Redskins staff.
Jim Zorn, Head Coach
Originally selected by the Redskins as the offensive coordinator, Daniel Snyder decided that Zorn was best as the head coach—just two weeks after he signed on. In his first year as head coach in 2008, Zorn experienced a moderately successful year, leading the team to an 8-8 record.
Jim Zorn's presence had a significant impact on Jason Campbell, the Washington Redskins' starting signal caller. Campbell ended up being a solid quarterback presence in Zorn's version of the West Coast Offense. Zorn is an intriguing offensive mind who should continue to coach the Redskins toward an excellent offensive juggernaut.
Before becoming the Washington Redskins head coach in 2008, Zorn served as quarterbacks coach for the Seattle Seahawks from 2001-2007. Zorn worked closely with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, and helped him develop into a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback. Zorn was the quarterbacks coach for the Detroit Lions previous to that, from 1998-2000.
Zorn began his coaching career as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks/wide receivers coach at Boise State University from 1989-1991. From 1992-1994, Zorn was the offensive coordinator for Utah State. His final collegiate stop was at the University of Minnesota as a quarterbacks coach, from 1995-1996. He joined the Seattle Seahawks in 1997 as an offensive assistant.
Two notable coaches that Zorn worked under include Mike Holmgren and Dennis Erickson.
Stump Mitchell, Assistant Head Coach and Running Backs Coach
Stump Mitchell was brought over from Seattle when Jim Zorn departed, and became the Assistant head and running backs coach for the Redskins.
The rushing attack is a key component of Zorn's version of the West Coast Offense, and Mitchell has been instrumental in allowing Clinton Portis to develop into the system and find success.
Mitchell began his coaching career with the San Antonio Riders, of the NFL Europe league. The league is now defunct, ending operations in June 2007. He was the head football coach for Morgan State University from 1996-1998, and joined on with the Seattle Seahawks from 1999-2007 as the running backs coach.
Mitchell has had the chance to work with two successful Seahawks running backs in Ricky Watters and Shaun Alexander. His experience working with running backs of that caliber should ensure Portis' and the Redskins' running game success in 2009.
Sherman Smith, Offensive Coordinator
Sherman Smith is yet another close friend of Jim Zorn, whom he recruited to the Redskins when he became head coach last season.
As expected, Smith is a big-time proponent of the West Coast offense, which he runs under Jim Zorn's guidance. He puts together the offensive game plan for each week, and has had success with this in the past.
Before spending time with the Washington Redskins in his current role, he began his coaching career as a running back coach at the Miami University of Ohio in 1990.
He served as the tight end and running back coach at the University of Illinois from 1992-1994.
Smith spent 1995-2006 with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans of the National Football League as a running backs coach. He was given the title of assistant head coach in his final two seasons with the Tennessee Titans.
Smith is often credited with developing Eddie George into a Pro Bowl rusher. Smith's specialty is running backs, and along with Stump Mitchell, he should have a profound impact on the running game in 2009.
Greg Blache, Defensive Coordinator
Blache has spent six years with the Washington Redskins—by far the longest tenured coach out of the four that I've covered. He spent four years as the Redskins' defensive line coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator last season.
The Redskins had an extremely successful year on defense last season, and much of it can be attributed to Blache. The Redskins limited opponents to just 193 yards per game and were very difficult to move the ball on.
While the Redskins had some injuries on defense last year, Blache helped lead the defense to maintain a high level of play. One of the most significant moves Blache made last season was inserting DeAngelo Hall into the starting lineup, over former first-round pick Carlos Rogers.
Blache is an experienced coach who has spent time with a number of teams and collegiate programs. He spent 2001-2003 as the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears, and served as defensive line coach for the Indianapolis Colts (1994-1998) and the Green Bay Packers (1988-1993) previous to that.
Despite losing Shawn Springs and Jason Taylor in the offseason, 'Skins fans should expect Blache to have another successful year at the helm with the team. Look for the defense to maintain a high level of play and limit opponents' yardage.