New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton Has a Lesson For Jim Zorn

Anthony BrownCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 30:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints looks on during the game against the New England Patriots at the Louisiana Superdome on November 30, 2009  in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

No, it isn't a lesson on how to coach a stupid comeback in a stupid game you should have lost.  Payton can teach Zorn, and the Washington Redskins too if they care to learn it, that you are better than they say you are and that life goes on.

The Redskins are not the last stop in Jim Zorn's coaching career.

Payton was considered a bust as offensive coordinator of the 2002 New York Giants. Yet, here he is on top of the NFL world.

New York hired Payton as quarterback coach in 1999 and promoted him to the coordinator position in 2000. The Giants made a Super Bowl appearance that year. Payton was considered one of those young gun, can't-miss head coach prospects.

Two seasons later, New York considered Payton the village idiot. His situation declined so badly that (queue the Twilight Zone theme) head coach Jim Fassel relieved him of all playcalling duties.

Pay attention, Jim Zorn.

With Payton seemingly at the end of the NFL road, Bill Parcells snap him up as Dallas Cowboys quarterback coach and assistant head coach.

New Orleans came a'calling in 2006 and hired Payton as head coach. They paired him with newly acquired quarterback Drew Brees, who had his own question marks after shoulder surgery.

Payton took ain'ts out of the Saints and made them an immediate winner, as New Orleans went 10-6 in '06. Then the team fell on hard times, falling to a fourth place division finish by 2008.

It must be nice when the team owner actually helps when the team struggles.

Saints owner Tom Benson didn't just sign Brees to the team in 2006. He signed Brees' quarterback coach from the San Diego Chargers, Pete Carmichael, Jr., (a former Redskins quality control assistant) to the same role in New Orleans.

And Benson did not disrupt the team when performance slipped in 2007-08. Payton and Carmichael were retained. Carmichael was promoted offensive coordinator in 2009. Redskins coaching heir-apparent Gregg Williams was signed as defensive coordinator at the same time.  

The Saints this year have taken down everyone in a march to the Super Bowl that could take them to post-season match-ups against the Vikings and Colts.

Sean Payton is proof that coaches come back from set backs. The Giants don't make many personnel mistakes. Payton may have been one of them. New York might have been every bit as successful with Payton as with Kevin Gilbride as offensive coordinator.  

Daniel Snyder hires good coaches for the Redskins. Then he fires them, as Dan Daly documented all too well in a Nov. 13 story for The Washington Times .

Jim Zorn is about to join their ranks.

If you don't think Zorn will get another shot as head coach, consider that Norv Turner got two more bites of the apple for reasons that still mystify me. Turner is doing quite nicely in San Diego, where he awaits a visit by Snyder and the Redskins at the end of the season. 

Jim Zorn will have a NFL career after the Redskins. If he follows Payton's script, he'll sign on to Bill Parcells' staff and angle for a head coach slot from Miami.

Then, all that's left is to wait for the Redskins to show up on the Gregg Williams and Al Saunders and Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner did.