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Flashback Friday: Zorn vs. the Redskins

Flashback Friday: Zorn vs. the Redskins

Jim Zorn faced the team he would wind up coaching twice during his NFL career. His Seahawks were 1-1 in those games. Here are the details from the pages of The Redskins From A to Z:

Seahawks 14, Redskins 0
September 28, 1980
RFK Stadium

The Seahawks took to the ground to control the game against Washington. Seattle outrushed the Redskins 235-78 to take this snoozer.

Not only were the Skins unable to run, their passing game was hampered by four Seattle interceptions, two of them by cornerback Dave Brown. Quarterback Jim Zorn compiled all the points that the Seahawks with a 21-yard scramble for a second-quarter touchdown.

It did not help that the normally reliable Mark Moseley was having an off day. The Pro Bowl kicker from 1979 missed all three of his field goal attempts, from 33, 50, and 52 yards.

Despite the Seahawks' dominance, the Redskins still had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Trailing 7-0, they marched to a first and goal at the Seattle four, but Brown cut in front of Art Monk and intercepted Joe Theismann's pass to end the threat. Seattle then drove to its other TD, an eight-yard run by Dan Doornick.

Redskins 27, Seahawks 17
September 25, 1983

Joe Theismann completed just nine passes, but they were good for 162 yards and three touchdowns as the Redskins downed the Seahawks.

Theismann's efficient passing was augmented by two takeaways by the Redskins defense that led to a pair of short touchdown drives. The first happened early in the game when the Seahawks' running back Curt Warner fumbled and Tony McGee recovered for Washington at the Seattle 19. Soon after that, John Riggins went over from a yard out and the Redskins led 7-0.

The Redskins stretched their lead in the second quarter with a pair of long Theismann touchdown passes. One covered 64 yards to Charlie Brown. After Jim Zorn drew the Seahawks closer with a touchdown pass to Steve Largent, Theismann launched one 47 yards to Alvin Garrett for another score. The extra point after the second score was missed, and Washington held a 20-10 halftime lead.

That lead held through the third quarter, and then Vernon Dean broke it open in the fourth. He intercepted a pass at the Seattle 48 and returned it to the 22. That set up a four-yard touchdown pass from Theismann to tight end Rick Walker that clinched the win with 5:07 left in the game.

A late touchdown pass from Zorn to Largent merely served to make the final score more respectable.

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Da'Ron Payne's first reaction after being drafted No. 13 by the Redskins

Da'Ron Payne's first reaction after being drafted No. 13 by the Redskins

Many top draft choices chose to head to the NFL Draft, hear their name called and get the pomp and circumstance that comes with all that is the NFL Draft. 

The Washington Reskins' No. 13 pick Da'Ron Payne was not one of those prospects. 

Instead, Payne watched the draft surronded by close friends and family.

The reaction was memorable: 

Some draft picks choose not to come for fear of slidding down draft boards, or worse: not being picked in the first round at all. 

So he doesn't get to meet Roger Goodell. He doesn't get a Redskins' jersey on draft night.

But this video wouldn't exist if the defensive tackle from Alabama chose to go to Dallas, Texas on draft night. 


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Redskins hope Da'Ron Payne will be able to solidify a porous run defense

Redskins hope Da'Ron Payne will be able to solidify a porous run defense

Doug Williams said that the Redskins would draft the best available player when they were on the clock. 

“It’s always going to be the best player available,” said the team’s senior vice president of player personnel during the team’s pre-draft press conference earlier this week. 

After their selection, it appears that they took a pick that was more for need. They picked defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne with safety Derwin James and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds still on the board, Jay Gruden said that there was some discussion. 

“There were quite a few guys were worthy of that pick, quite frankly,” said Gruden. “But for what we were looking for, with the fit, I think Da’Ron was perfect for us.”

The words “for what we were looking for” seem to indicate that they took Payne because they thought they needed someone at that position. 

While Payne is unlikely to be a pick that the Redskins will regret, they may look at what James and Edmunds, both players that most analysts had ranked considerably higher than Payne, accomplish during their careers and wonder what could have been. 

Then again, Payne is a pick that is about eight years overdue. The Redskins have been running the 3-4 defense since 2010 and they have never drafted a good nose tackle. Others they have tried, like Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton, have been short-term solutions. For the past two years, the position has been manned by veteran Ziggy Hood, who is more suited to playing the end position. 

The result of the nose tackle situation in particular and neglect of the defensive line in general has been a rushing defense that has consistently in the lower half of the league, bottoming out at No. 32 in rushing yards allowed in 2017. The need to stop the run took a step up in importance earlier in the draft when the Giants selected running back Saquan Barkley with the second pick in the draft, a factor that Gruden cited when talking to the media after the pick. They already had twice-yearly dates with the Cowboys with Ezekiel Elliott at running back and the Eagles, who have a stable of effective running backs. 

Although at 311 pounds Payne may be considered a bit on the light side for a traditional nose tackle, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has said in the past that a lighter player can be effective in that role in the team’s defense. 

The main concern about Payne is if he can rush the passer. In his three seasons at Alabama, he compiled just three sacks. Gruden said that that number doesn’t tell the whole story. 

“He can, he can get back there,” said Gruden. “A lot of times, the sacks that don’t show up on the stat board, he enabled other guys to get them, because push from the pocket forces the quarterback outside. I think that [Redskins edge rushers] Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson will be very happy to have Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne in the middle pushing that pocket.”

Gruden also expressed confidence Tomsula will be able to coach Payne into being an effective NFL pass rusher. 

We will see what Tomsula and the rest of the coaches can do with Payne. If they can get some pressures and sacks out of him and the ability to stop the run translates to the NFL, the Redskins will have received good value for the 13thpick, even if James and Edmonds go on to be stars. 

More Redskins

·      Redskins fill a need with their top pick

·      VIDEO: Payne reacts to becoming a Redskin

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.