With Bruce Allen in Charge of the Redskins, Zorn Deserves One More Year

Craig Garrison SrSenior Analyst IDecember 19, 2009

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 26:  Head coach Jim Zorn of the Washington Redskins jokes around with quarterback Jason Campbell #17 during warm ups before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field October 26, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Now that Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has made the move no one thought he ever would, it's time to do something else no one thinks he will.

Keep Jim Zorn as head coach.

Bruce Allen doesn't have the greatest track record as an NFL general manager but he does have some nice "talking points,” a Super Bowl appearance with the Oakland Raiders, a Super Bowl win with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and plenty of division championships. So all is well right?

Maybe, maybe not. Former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is widely considered the next head coach of the Redskins. My question is: why?

Zorn has shown excellent leadership skills in keeping the Redskins competitive through some very difficult circumstances in Washington. Has it been obvious that he had a lot to learn as a head coach? Absolutely.

Play calling may not be his strong suit, but there are many head coaches around the league who don't call the plays for the offense or the defense. Zorn was never the offensive coordinator, just the play caller.

Sherman Smith was, and still is the offensive coordinator. Sherman Lewis has only been calling the plays, not directing game plans. So the improvement in offensive output can't be credited to Lewis alone.

Zorn has been able to keep his players and staff focused and performing at an ever-higher level as the season has progressed despite having very little say in personnel decisions. That has become clearer as time has gone on. Little comments from Zorn over the past month or so as the injuries have piled up suggest he hadn't been particularly involved in personnel decisions.

There are also reports that tensions had been rising between Zorn and Cerrato, and not just concerning the losing record. Reportedly, Zorn has been "scolded" or "admonished" by Cerrato in front of the team and staff in recent weeks.

Coupled with the humility of being stripped of play-calling duties, it would seem that Zorn really has been treated pretty badly over the course of the season.

He seems like a good guy and doesn't deserve that.

As far as Bruce Allen is concerned, we know that he is VERY close to Jon Gruden, current ESPN analyst, and former Super Bowl-winning head coach. Gruden is said to be dead-set against coaching in 2010, so why not wait out Zorn's contract and see what happens.

Allen has control now, so he can do whatever he wants with the roster. If Zorn and Allen can get along (which I suspect they can), give Zorn the chance to finish his contract next year, and find out what he can do with good leadership above him.

Give Jason Campbell the high tender, if he accepts it, he and Zorn can keep growing together, if someone comes after him, the Skins get first and third round draft picks, what better way to start a rebuilding process? The same goes for Carlos Rogers, except make it a low tender, he's not worth the next step up, but that could bring in a pick to two as well.

Other personnel changes need to be made, but these are the bigger question marks for him to address immediately. Keep Zorn, try to keep Campbell, and set up Rogers to leave and get something out of it.

If things don't work out next season, then Allen will have a better shot at Gruden after Gruden's had the time to get his TV infatuation out of his system.

Zorn has done some good things, and he deserves the chance to complete the job.