Last season, the Redskins swan-dived from a 6-2 start to an 8-8 finish, a development that cast a sour pall over head coach Jim Zorn’s first year.
Washington then spent the offseason winking at quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez and Jay Cutler, sending the implicit message that they’re not sold on Jason Campbell. It happened despite season-long proclamations about how much the Redskins believe in Campbell and how he was just beginning to get comfortable and tap his potential.
Combining those things with owner Dan Snyder’s apparent need for constant change and a fleet of big-named coaches looking for work in 2010 and you have a team and head coach who aren’t that stable right now.
The 23-0 blasting the Redskins took from the Ravens on Thursday night doesn’t help.
On Friday, Zorn labeled his team’s performance “soft.”
“There were a lot of guys out there playing, but they didn’t realize how difficult a game it really is,” Zorn added. “We paid for it in several situations.”
Playing badly is one thing. Playing “soft”? Quite another.
“Our young guys — they’ve watched this game all their lives and they finally get a chance to go out and play it, and they think it’s going to be just like it was before [in college]. It’s not just like it was before. It is intense, it is exact, it is passionate, it is emotional, and I felt like some of the young guys saw from some of our veterans who played great that they’ll have to pick things up. We played guys that need to improve and play better in the coming weeks.”
That Zorn’s ire was directed at his non-starters is an even greater indictment. Bubble guys have no choice but to play hard.
Look, every single team in the league is going to have rookies and backups making scads of mistakes in the preseason — especially in the first game. But when new players are dispassionate or appear poorly prepared, some of that blame for that blows back on the coaching staff.
So expect those young Redskins to have a long week of practice, in the wake of that performance.
And, if it keeps up, Zorn can expect a long year.
Or maybe a short one.