Jim Zorn's Era with the Washington Redskins Begins with a Win

Craig Garrison SrSenior Analyst IAugust 4, 2008

First-year head coach Jim Zorn should be pleased with what he saw in his team’s first action in the preseason. The Washington Redskins defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a two touchdown margin, 30-16 in Sunday Night’s NFL Hall of Fame Game.

The Hall of Fame Game opens the preseason each year, and the Redskins have had success playing in the event, with a 5-0 all-time record.

Quarterback Jason Campbell showed his coach that he has been listening and learning. Campbell was sharp and decisive, just as he has in training camp. With five completions in five attempts and a touchdown for 61 yards and no interceptions, Campbell solidified his status as the team’s starting quarter back.

If nothing else, Zorn’s quarterbacks showed the world he can coach them well. No. 2 quarterback Todd Collins was an efficient five for six with no interceptions, while popular rookie Colt Brennan was even more impressive in his first-ever action in the pros. Brennan went nine of 10 for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Making several plays when his protection broke down, Brennan looked unflappable.

On offense, Zorn was able to play most of his projected starters together. With the most notable exception being running back Clinton Portis, the starters were in for 10 plays. Zorn had said before the game that he wanted his starters to get 10-15 plays on offense, and he accomplished that.

The Redskins' defense looked nothing like they hope to look come opening day. With eight of the projected starters not playing in the game at all, the Redskins' defense did not show well against the Colts' “starting” offense.

The Colts, of course, also did not play many starters. Star quarterback Peyton Manning, and starting wide receiver Marvin Harrison did not play, but backup Jim Sorgi played well, going seven for 10 for 66 yards in the Colts' 16-play opening drive.

The drive only produced a field goal, but Colts coaches can feel good about what they saw from their starting group.

There were also no significant injuries during the game, another bonus for both teams. Colts starting running back Joseph Addai left the field with a minor head injury following the second play of the their opening drive, but coach Tony Dungy said he would have returned if it had been a regular-season game.

For the Redskins, second-year offensive tackle Stephon Heyer left the game with a sprained knee, and veteran backup offensive tackle Todd Wade suffered a sprained ankle. Neither injury was considered to be serious.

For both teams, a relatively successful start to the 2008 season, but for the Redskins and head coach Jim Zorn, this was a superb way to start a new era of Redskins football. The Zorn era.