Understand one thing: I hated the Jim Zorn hiring from the beginning. Check those related posts links - the day he was hired I pointed out it was a stupid decision, and said I’d be shocked if he lasted two seasons. And no, despite this firing happening this morning -- after 32 games as head coach -- I do not consider Zorn having “lasted” two full seasons. He was all-but-fired when the Redskins brought on Sherm Lewis to handle the play-calling. His fate was extra-sealed (if that’s even possible), when Daniel Snyder finally cut the umbilical cord on Vinny Cerrato and brought in Bruce Allen to run football operations.
There is nothing about the Zorn era in Washington that will be remembered as good. The 6-2 start in 2008 was a mirage. The Skins went 6-18 in Zorn’s last 24 games as head coach (though, again, the last 10 or so of those were strictly in title only) and have just succeeded in wasting another two years of Jason Campbell’s career.
Apparently now the Redskins are moving quickly toward hiring Mike Shanahan. I’m not entirely sold on him specifically, but it’s probably a good idea to go with an experienced head coach.
Since Joe Gibbs left Washington the first time (back in 1993), the Redskins have had their most success with coaches with previous experience, rather than hot coordinators (or in the case of Zorn, assistants with no coordinator or head coach experience). First-time NFL coaches Richie Petitbon and Steve Spurrier were disasters and Norv Turner won exactly one playoff game in seven seasons. Then there was Zorn (d’oh). In that time, the ‘Skins hired two retreads. Marty Schottenheimer went 8-8 and missed the playoffs in his only season, but his 8-8 years was the complete opposite of Zorn’s (an 8-3 finish after an 0-5 start). The ‘Skins also had some success under Gibbs 2.0, reaching the playoffs twice and finishing .500 in another season.
A young coach cutting his teeth on the NFL will not be successful with this team. There is talent here (though not as much as some players on the team would like to believe) and they need someone who has experience molding that talent. Shanahan is someone along those lines, and is someone who had his most successful seasons when he was just coaching, rather than dealing with player personnel as well. The Redskins already have Bruce Allen as a GM. Shanahan would be free to just coach.