On Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens were officially knocked out of the NFL Playoffs in a 31-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. A Steelers' victory is not good news for the Cleveland Browns typically, but in this case it opens up the interviewing process of the Baltimore Ravens staff.
Specifically, Ravens' quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn.
As a head coach, Jim Zorn didn't exactly knock one out of the park after finishing with a 12-20 overall record with the Washington Redskins. The Redskins failure this season under legendary coach Mike Shanahan, however, leaves one wondering how dysfunctional the team was when Zorn was in charge.
Prior to landing the head coaching job in Washington, Zorn started out moving up the college ranks until he broke into the NFL as a quarterbacks coach with the Seattle Seahawks, followed by the Detroit Lions. Zorn tutored then-rookie Charlie Batch to the fourth best rookie passer rating in NFL history with an 88.3 rating while in Detroit, then moved back to Seattle in the 2001 season.
While with the Seahawks, Zorn worked under Browns' President Mike Holmgren and Cleveland's Senior Adviser Gil Haskell in executing the team’s offense, not to mention developing the team’s quarterbacks.
Traded from Green Bay in 2001, Matt Hasselbeck was tutored by Zorn while setting a Seattle record with 3,841 passing yards in 2003. Hasselbeck has since gone on to become the franchise’s most impressive passer, with an overall 85.1 QB rating. In Zorn's final season in Seattle, Hasselbeck set single-season franchise records for attempts, completions, and yards on his way to his third Pro Bowl selection.
Since his unsuccessful stint in Washington, Zorn has gone back to his quarterback coaching roots. In Baltimore this past season, he coached Joe Flacco to a career-high season in yards, with 3,622, and touchdowns, with 25. He also posted a career-low in interceptions (10) and his highest passer rating yet.
With his career back on track and a new front office in Cleveland that is led by two men who kick-started his career, it seems like Jim Zorn would be a natural fit as Offensive Coordinator under new coach Pat Shurmur. Zorn is a student of the West Coast offense, much like Shurmur, and already has knowledge of the vision of Mike Holmgren.
With the Ravens' season over, Cleveland now needs to start surrounding rookie head coach Shurmur with experienced coordinators to help ease the transition. Hiring Jim Zorn is a great start.