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Bruce Allen's Press Conference

Posted by Matt Terl on January 4, 2010 – 4:53 pm


Executive vice president and general manager Bruce Allen held a press conference today, partially to discuss the firing of Jim Zorn and partially as an end of year wrap up. He spoke mostly in generalities and offered little in the way of specifics, but I’m fine with that for one simple reason: even without hearing the details, I felt like he was working from a plan. And that — as so many of you have pointed out in the comments here — is what the team seemed to be lacking this year: a clear plan driven by a specific vision. Even with Allen being understandably reticent to reveal his offseason strategy less than twelve hours into the postseason, it felt like that concern had been addressed.

Even among the generalities, there was plenty to like. Take this quote, for example, which looks like it could’ve been taken straight from the comments section here:

“We have to build the foundation,” Allen said. “We have to get the right disciplines in place in order for players to succeed in our environment. I believe that the coaches work hard. I believe the players work hard. We have to work in harmony. That’s why the status quo has to end. We have to change the ways we have been doing business. The players are going to embrace it.”

The other thing I liked, which doesn’t show up in the quotes after the jump (transcribed and compiled by the diligent team of Redskins Media Relations intern/ninjas) was Allen’s evasiveness on the subject of the next head coach. The Washington Post’s Jason Reid asked doggedly, repeatedly, and creatively, and every time Allen managed to deflect the question — but he did it in a non-confrontational joking way. It’s a difficult thing to describe, but whatever it was, it made for a much more amiable room than I’ve experienced before — even when Reid inadvertently referred to Allen as “Jim” (as in “Zorn”), which could’ve been all kinds of awkward.

The rest of the quotes, after the jump.

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Chris Wilson Tries To Hold Onto The Paddle

Posted by Matt Terl on January 4, 2010 – 2:19 pm

As the (frankly enormous) media horde made their way around the locker room today, from player to player, a pretty consistent response to the “What did you think of Jim Zorn” question emerged. Here’s Chris Wilson‘s version of it: “He was a good coach, a good guy, a strong man of faith. I’m sure he’ll be all right.”

I’ve also seen a lot of that response in the comments here — that Zorn seemed like a stand-up guy, a good man, a nice guy, regardless of his record or head-coaching ability. All of those things are true. And his wife has an excellent recipe for yogurt shakes.

But It’s easy to forget, coming off a dreadful 4-12 season, that Zorn also started off as a gutsy coach whose sometimes odd behavior came off as endearingly quirky. (Dan Steinberg, who was the poet laureate of Jim Zorn oddness, has collected links to those posts at the end of his Best Of Zorn compilation; they’re worth reviewing.)

And Wilson made sure to pay tribute to that side of Zorn as well: the teller of long, amusing, rambling stories with vaguely obscure meanings. (See also: his Welcome Home Luncheon story from this year.) 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen asked Wilson for a particularly memorable pregame speech from Zorn, and here’s what Wilson came up with. Read more »

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Start Planning For The Fourth Pick In The Draft

Posted by Matt Terl on January 4, 2010 – 11:05 am

The official order for the non-playoff-team portion of the 2010 NFL Draft has been set, and the decidedly non-playoff Redskins will be selecting fourth.

I know this is usually cause for celebration — in some sports teams tank their final games to improve their pick, and the Redskins have the whole “Offseason Champs” thing to boot — but as I did my basic research for this, I found my excitement … muted, to say the least.

For example, the Redskins have selected fourth overall twice in the team’s history, both wide receivers: Desmond Howard in 1992, and Michael Westbrook in 1995. Although Howard would eventually become a Super Bowl MVP as a return man, he never developed as a wide receiver and could hardly be described as worth the fourth overall pick.

On the other hand, he’s not likely to be described as one of the fifty worst draft busts of all time, an honor that ESPN bestowed on Westbrook last year. Westbrook’s stats actually weren’t all that terrible — during Brad Johnson’s stellar Redskins season in 1999, Westbrook caught 65 balls for 1,191 yards and 9 touchdowns — but he also never really lived up to the fourth pick and remains best known for slugging running back Stephen Davis. (And, more recently, for appearing on MTV’s Bully Beatdown. Still: not worth the fourth overall.)

But wait, there’s more: Read more »

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Daniel Snyder’s Statement On Jim Zorn

Posted by Matt Terl on January 4, 2010 – 10:32 am

Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder has issued the following statement regarding the firing of head coach Jim Zorn:

“This has been an extremely difficult season for our organization and for the fans. Bruce Allen spent many hours examining the football operations, and we are both determined to do whatever it takes to build a championship team. That process begins today.

“No one in the organization is satisfied with our record over the last two years, and I am sure that Jim would concur with that statement. It has been painful for him too. I certainly accept responsibility for mistakes that I have made. I am hopeful that our fans will accept my commitment and pledge to deliver a franchise that can compete in the NFC East every season.

“Finally, I am mindful that this is a tough day for Jim and his family, and I do want to wish him success in his next endeavor.”
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Monday, January 4: Jim Zorn Relieved Of Duties

Posted by Matt Terl on January 4, 2010 – 7:40 am

It’s official: Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen met with Head Coach Jim Zorn early this morning and relieved him of his duties. Zorn departed the building sometime after that, but was NOT escorted by security (contrary to some other reports).

“The status quo is not acceptable. I felt it was necessary to not waste a moment of time to begin building this team into a winner,” Allen said in a statement.

Zorn finishes with a career record of 12-20, with half of those wins coming in just his first eight games.

There’s no word yet on any other moves. Allen will hold a press conference at Redskin Park today at 12:30 p.m.; I’ll have more details then and throughout the day.

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