Jim Zorn on the Hot Seat: The Captain Always Goes Down with the Ship

Dan YokeCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2009

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 18:  Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn watches from the sideline as his team loses to the Kansas Chiefs October 18, 2009 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The Chiefs won the game 14-6.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

In the nautical community the captain always goes down with the ship, even if the designers didn't build the ship correctly or the first mate is sleeping on duty as the ship careens into an iceberg.

NFL teams are very similar in this regard.  No matter what the actual problem is the Coach and QB take all the blame.

Due to these tried and true customs Jim Zorn will now manfully remain on the ship while everyone else is scrambling for a lifeboat.

Zorn has made some puzzling coaching decisions.  But Zorn is a likable and talented coach who may still have a bright future if he can wipe away the stink that the Redskins have smeared on him.

I truly believe that this is a talent issue much more than it is a coaching issue (although why a coach wouldn't attempt a 53-yard field goal on the last play of the first half is beyond me). 

It has everything to do with this offensive line.

Last year with a healthy line the Redskins started 6-2, Portis was league MVP, Zorn was rookie coach of the year, and Jason Campbell had not thrown a pick.  Same coaching staff.

Then the best linemen got banged up.  All of a sudden Portis couldn't run, Campbell was hurried into mistakes, and the points dried up.

Washington went into the off season knowing that the line needed an overhaul.  They not only refused to draft anyone, but they refused to resign Pete Kendall, cut John Jansen, and let Jason Fabini go in free agency.

They let go of three very solid players and replaced them with no draft picks and a guy who was out of football for two years in Mike Williams who had to be put through the NFL's version of Biggest Loser just to get fit into an extra large lineman uniform.

Four games into the season guess what happens?  The two best linemen the Redskins had are lost (possibly forever) with injuries.  Now five out of Washington's best players on the line from last year are gone. 

They are replaced by a second year former fourth round draft pick with no experience (Rhinehart), a Buffalo Bills castoff who the Redskins did not resign three years ago because he was the worst starting linemen they had (Dockery), a journeyman who has started four career games before this season (Montgomery), and a former first round pick who hasn't payed since 2005 (Williams).

Only center Casey Rabach could start on any other NFC East team.  Only Buffalo has a line as bad as the Redskins' line this year.  They have a lot of talent at wideout and running back as well.  They are also 2-4.

Vince Lombardi could not win with this line.

But of course it's all Jim Zorn, Jason Campbell, and Clinton Portis' fault.

The only coaching change that could help Washington this year would be if the Redskins lured away the entire Minnesota Vikings starting line and made them Player/Coaches.

But that's OK.  Blame whomever you want to.  There is plenty to spread around.  Just realize that any coaching change made this season is similar to putting a band-aide over a severed femoral artery (Sean Taylor RIP).