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Zorn Hired As Redskins Head Coach

         Newly hired Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn 

After a month-long search, the Washington Redskins on Saturday finally found their head coach – and he was right under their noses – former Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach and “ex-Redskins offensive coordinator” Jim Zorn.  The team said that Zorn agreed to a 5-year contract; he will be announced at a news conference, scheduled for 3 PM EST Sunday.

As previously mentioned, Zorn was the Seahawks quarterbacks coach for the past 7 seasons; the Redskins had hired him to be their offensive coordinator on January 26 while contnuing their search for a head coach.  Team owner Daniel Snyder and his advisers settled on Zorn after completing the last of their initial interviews with New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo earlier this week.  Zorn was one of many candidates interviewed by Snyder during a month-long process which tended to be methodical and secretive in nature; the process began after former Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs’ resignation on January 8.  Most of the names on the inital list – Spagnuolo, Jim Fassel, Steve Mariucci, Jim Mora, Ron Meeks, Pete Carroll, Jim Schwartz as well as Redskins assistant Gregg Williams – became public while Zorn’s status was supposedly settled once he accepted the job as offensive coordinator.

Zorn becomes the Redskins’ 6th head coach under Snyder, who bought the team in 1999, and ends a string of high-profile hired by an owner who has the reputation of hiring top names at a top price.  In Snyder’s quest to make the right choice, he was deliberate, conducting tons of research on each candidate; in the meantime, he took the highly unusual step of hiring an offensive coordinator (Zorn) and a defensive coordinator, Redskins defensive line coach Greg Blache, before a head coach was hired.

Snyder told Joseph White of the Associated Press regarding the hire of Zorn, “We knew of Jim’s stellar offensive reputation, so we hired him as coordinator, but we also suspected he would be a strong candidate for head coach.  After our first six-hour interview with him, I told Joe (Gibbs), ‘This guy would make a terrific head coach.’  But we stayed true to our commitment to interview every candidate.”  After Spagnuolo withdrew from consideration, Snyder said that he called Zorn and told him that he was being considered as the Redskins’ next head coach.

Although technically Zorn was promoted from quarterbacks coach to head coach, Gibbs said that the team’s veteran assistants will be able to help with the adjustment period, as most of Gibbs’ staff was retained.  Zorn has a big job on his hands; he takes over a team that went 9-7, grabbing the NFC’s final wild-card spot, before losing to the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs. 

The Skins’ offensive system will go a complete overhaul under Zorn, who is expected to utilize a version of the West Coast offense.  He also has to sell himself to the players who have expressed disappointment that former defensive assistant Gregg Williams wasn’t hired.  Zorn was the Seahawks’ original starting quarterback in 1976 and played 9 seasons for the franchise; he returned as an offensive assistant from 1997-98 and again as quarterbacks coach in 2001.

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