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Coach Zorn Talks At The Combine

Posted by Matt Terl on February 19, 2009 – 3:46 pm

Ah, I’ve missed Jim Zorn press conferences. Zorn, speaking from a podium to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine today, sounded … well,very Zorn-like.

Not in the catch-phrase way, though: I didn’t hear a single “violent,” “medium,” “sudden,” or even “absolutely” as I listened to him talk, but everything else was there: the candor, the honesty, the calm humor, and the fondness for discussing medical issues in great detail.

In fact, the candor seems to have been ramped up a notch, as Zorn owns up to some clock mismanagement and some game management situations he hopes to improve. As the coach’s first major public comments of the 2009 football season, I’m liking most of what I’m hearing.

On whether saw any surprises when reviewing the 2008 season:

“There were a couple of things to look at. Number one, where we got stopped in our offensive thrust to try and get the ball in the end zone was really from the plus-50 to the plus-20. That’s where we ended a lot of drives. We have been taking a detailed look at that. There are some answers there and that is what we are trying to address as we come into our minicamps, training camps – as we start experimenting with some new ideas.

“Our overall schemes are going to stay the same, but it is how we get the ball into the red zone and then be able to score from the red zone – those are concerns of mine because we didn’t score enough points this football season.”

On the Redskins approach in free agency:

“I think every team will try to be active and we certainly will be as well, but I don’t know. We will have some guys in and I think free agency has to do with both parties trying to get together, all sides of the issue trying to get together and coming to some kind of a need-help and then being able to agree on how to get it done. I think we will have some activity, but I wouldn’t know how much or how little that is going to end up being.”

On whether the Redskins have enough space under the salary cap to be active in free agency:

“Yes. I wouldn’t know how much and that plays a part in how active we can be. Some teams can be more active than others. I’m not going to go into talking about what the space is.”

On how much he will change his personality next season: Read more »

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Thursday, February 19: Chris Cooley Encourages Education

Posted by Matt Terl on February 19, 2009 – 12:40 pm

Today marks the second day of Chris Cooley series of lectures in support of his new education fund — donations of $5,000 dollars to each of the eight schools he speaks to, and a $25,000 scholarship to one senior from each of the schools as well.

Cooley’s blog has a few of the money quotes — along with student reaction video — from of one of yesterday’s visits.

“I’m here to talk about education and… how it’s helped me get where I am,” Cooley said. “This is my opportunity to help others. This is truly what matters to me.

“I was always a good student. When I was younger, my parents got divorced. My mom went back to college; she became a teacher. She’s been my biggest role model. I wanted to be a teacher. I thought it was the most awesome thing in the world.”

When Cooley hosted a breast cancer awareness event at Redskins Park a few weeks ago, one of the things that people kept emphasizing to me was that it was completely his idea and his initiative. The same thing seems to be true of this one — people kept looking genuinely surprised and saying things like, “He just came to the Community Relations department and said, ‘I want to give some money to education. Help me do that.'”

The result is this series of surprise assemblies (at least yesterday’s were surprises, anyhow), in which Cooley gives a Powerpoint presentation on his history and the importance of education, and also has a question-and-answer session with the students. Questions included if he’s a better tight end than Jason Witten of the Cowboys (“I think I’m better…”) and, bizarrely, if he had ever met Jennifer Lopez (which he had, at the inauguration).

Read more »

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