Is Jim Zorn Too Medium? - NBC4 Washington

Is Jim Zorn Too Medium?

Analyst says he's too medium



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    Jim Zorn prepares to call for another screen pass.

    Is Jim Zorn too medium?  That's what one football analyst says.

    KC Joyner, writing for the NY Times' Fifth Down Blog, argues that the Zorn Star doesn't like to take it deep enough, even as the team had success when it did.

    The no-risk play-calling, he argues, led to lower than expected production, even in the team's 6-2 first half.

    During the first half of the season, the Skins attempted just 52 down-field passes.  That's a pace that was far below what any other QB in the league was doing.  Joyner points out that no other QB threw downfield less than 138 times, and Jason Campbell was on pace for over 30 fewer down-field throws.

    What makes it worse is that the Skins were highly successful when Campbell did heave it long.  Of those 52 deep attempts, JC completed 30 of them for over 700 yards of passing.  That means that Campbell averaged 13 yards every single time he dropped back to throw long.

    As Joyner notes, "[t]hat is slightly higher than what Philip Rivers posted (12.7) last season and just under what Kurt Warner posted (13.2). It is an elite total."

    When Campbell lobbed it far, his receivers typically caught it.  It just appears that Zorn didn't have him go deep often enough.  There wasn't much risk involved in the play-calling.

    It's disappointing because Zorn was expected to be an aggressive play-caller given his reputation as a player and as a coach in Seattle.  Joyner argues that his lack of aggression cost Zorn results and some respect from the players. 

    "My scouting eye said that happened because he was focusing on trying not to fail as opposed to trying to succeed. Be it in the football world, the business world, or simply life in general, this mind-set’s lack of focus on success all but assures that success won’t occur...

    "Zorn had numerous instances where, if he didn’t know what he was doing, it was at least clear that he was going through some OJT (on-the-job training). Any new head coach goes through some OJT, but the good ones never let the players see it, or least never let them see it affect him in a negative way."

    Was the conservative play-calling in the first half just a rookie mistake?  A coach playing not to lose?  Or is it that just who Zorn is?

    Will he be more aggressive this season, especially as he has a bit more faith in the offensive line?  For the sake of his job, it appears he better be.