(photo by Brian Murphy)
Times are tough for the Washington Redskins. After losing to yet another doormat, head coach Jim Zorn and friends find themselves at the center of the storm.
A Redskins team that started 6-2 last season has crashed hard – losing 10 out of their last 14 games. As the 2009 season quickly spirals out on control, there’s a sense of hopelessness surrounding the entire organization and it’s fanbase.
With losses to bottom dwellers like Detroit, Carolina and now Kansas City, folks have one question on their mind – how did it get to this?
“From my standpoint, I look at it and take full responsibility,” said Zorn in his post-game press conference. “I am the head football coach. Nobody has more responsibility than I do. That is the way I look at it. I have got to come up with answers and I will. I think our coaches are working hard and I have confidence in what they are doing. Our players really care. We had a real good after-game meeting and it was to the point. It is going to be a very hard week. Last week I thought that it was as hard as it was going to get, but it just got harder.”
And that’s what Zorn said prior to the announcement that he would no longer handle playcalling duties. Redskins players hear Zorn week after week, as he tries to shoulder the blame for all of the team’s deficiencies, and they can’t help but feel sorry for him and the situation they’ve put him in.
“You know, it’s tough,” said defensive end Andre Carter. “Coach Zorn said he’s got to figure out how to help the offense. But we told him, it’s on us as players. He can make the calls, but it’s on us – on both sides of the ball – to execute. Coach Zorn is a great coach. We enjoy him – his presence, his jokes, his long stories – I mean, he’s a great guy. We’re coming in tomorrow as if he’s going to still be here. We can’t control what’s going to happen up top. But we can control how we play.”
Redskins receiver Malcolm Kelly took it one step further.
“I feel really sorry for the man,” Kelly said. “It’s almost like a quarterback and a coach are the same. If a team is losing, those are the first two people they’re going to point a finger at. It doesn’t matter if nothing around them is going right, they always take the blame. But a lot of the time, he shouldn’t take the blame. It should fall on the guys out there playing football. I feel really sorry for him though, because it’s a “show me” type league and they want to see us win. They’re going to say what they’re going to say and tear him down, but we want him back.”
The bottom line is – football isn’t very fun when you’re struggling as badly as the Redskins are.
“I think this week’s been really tough for us,” said tight end Chris Cooley. “I think the last few have been because we’ve put in so much work and there are such high expectations of this team. Not just from the media or our fanbase, but from inside. We expect a lot, and to keep losing is rough. I know it’s hard on a lot of guys and especially on the staff. We’ve just got to keep working. I know I’m going to, and I count on my teammates to do the same.”
Regardless of expectations, for the third time this season a previously winless team got its first victory of the season at the expense of the Redskins. How the hell does that happen?
“I’m really at a loss for words,” said safety Reed Doughty. “I don’t feel like we’re a 2-4 team. I look at how we started off last year and what we did the year before, and now, I’m just dumbfounded. Somehow, we’re just not putting it all together. I don’t know what changes are going to be made, but hopefully we can get on a roll.”
But in order for this team to get on any sort of roll, some serious soul searching is in order. Not just with the players, but with coaches and even management. Until then, the Redskins will likely suffer the same fate as they have against the Lions, the Panthers and the Chiefs.
“That’s why it’s so frustrating,” said safety Chris “The Predator” Horton. “We know we should have come out and beat this team. Every man needs to go home and look in the mirror and say ‘I need to do better.’ Even if you had a great game, you need to see what you can do to help this team win games.”
Everyone on the roster should realize exactly what’s at stake now. We’re not talking about wins and losses. We’re not talking about playing for pride. We’re talking about people losing jobs if things don’t get better in a hurry.
Regardless of who is calling the plays or who is taking the snaps or even who is on the offensive line, the Redskins need better results. If not, it’s only a matter of time before sweeping changes are made.