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The Zorn identity is emerging

The Zorn identity is emerging

When I was at the Washington Redskins training camp a couple of weeks ago, I noted that when the practice was over, Jim Zorn brought together the entire team in a massive, 80-man huddle. This has happened at the end of almost every practice I've seen. The huddle usually lasted 30 seconds, a minute tops. The coach—Gibbs, Turner, Schottenheimer, Spurrier—all pretty much did the same thing. It went something like "Good work men, lunch until one, position meetings at two," and the huddle broke up.

In contrast, on that day, Zorn kept the team huddled up for a good five or ten minutes. I was too far away to hear what he was saying, but he was using the time to talk to his team. It may have been a reaction to something specific that happened or he may have had a few things on his mind that he wanted to tell his players on one of the rare occasions during camp that the entire team is assembled in one place.

Today, Zorn did it again, but this time his tone was more strident as he had a point to make. From Matt Mosley's NFC East blog on ESPN.com:

But at the end of Tuesday morning's practice, he sensed a teaching moment for his team. We couldn't hear it from our end zone section almost 50 yards away, but apparently a defensive player took exception to something defensive coordinator Greg Blache said and squared off with him in a verbal exchange.

Zorn didn't say anything at the time, but after practice, he called the team over and talked to them at length about what it means to show proper respect. He knew his speech was resonating because several veterans were heard saying, "That's right" as he talked.

So, the word is that when practice is over, the ice bath and showers may have to wait a while as Zorn makes his point.

(By the way, in the paragraph immediately following the ones quoted above Mosley shows some poor form. He overheard a comment that Zorn made to Blache that was not for public consumption and he quoted it in the blog. It's one thing if something is yelled on the field; it's another matter completely if two coaches are having a private conversation. Mosley won't find himself welcome on the practice field at Redskins Park or anywhere else for that matter if he keeps telling tales out of school.)

Zorn also is showing that he will communicate with players in other settings as well, like through the media. In particular, rookie receivers Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas took some verbal shots from the coach during his post-practice news conference.

Of Kelly, Zorn said that "he wasn't in condition to go through a training camp like this."

"He really wasn't," the coach emphasized.

Come on, Z-man, let us know how you really feel.

Both Kelly and Thomas failed the team's conditioning test.

"If you can't pass that physical test that we give, then something's not right," Zorn said.

"It's sort of a pride issue."

A portrait is emerging of a coach who is chatty and laid back, the prototypical nice guy. He's in the cool tactician mold of football coaches.

That is, until someone crosses a line. At that moment the nice guy disappears and stern disciplinarian appears. He doesn't rant, at least not publicly, and, like his predecessor, he doesn't curse ever. But he will choose the appropriate venue and get his point across in no uncertain terms.

Join me for a live blog of Saturday's preseason game. Go here for details.

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The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

trent_williams.jpg
USA Today Sports

The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

Madden 19 won't be released to the public until August 10, but the player ratings for the top players on each NFL team have been released.

The video reaches the Redskins a little after four minutes in. The top nine players on the Redskins, according to their Madden 19 overall ratings are as follows:

  1. LT Trent Williams, 91
  2. RG Brandon Scherff, 88
  3. FS D.J. Swearinger, 86
  4. MLB Zach Brown, 85
  5. CB Josh Norman, 84
  6. RB Chris Thompson, 83
  7. WR Paul Richardson, 83
  8. QB Alex Smith, 81
  9. WR Jamison Crowder, 81

The list has Washington's two best linemen up top followed by its best skill position players and Zach Brown. Beyond Williams and Sherff, there's some debate to be had. Both Richardson and Crowder can make a serious case to be the team's best receiver. Crowder had 22 more receptions and 86 more yards than Richardson in 2017, but Richardson had six touchdowns to Crowder's three.

Smith is coming off arguably the best season of his career with Kansas City. He put up over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, posted career bests in quarterback rating, touchdown passes, interception percentage and completions. His rating as the fifth-best offensive player behind two other skill position players seems off.

These rankings will change throughout the season as more updates become available, but this is what there is to work with right now.

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Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the game against the Jaguars. 

Week 15 December 16, TIAA Bank Field

2017 Jaguars: 10-6, First in AFC South, lost AFC championship game 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 9

Early line: Redskins +8

Key additions: G Andrew Norwell, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Donte Moncrief, 

Key losses:WR Allen Hurns, WR Allen Robinson

Biggest questions: 

  • QB Blake Bortles was very inconsistent during the season and there was talk of the team looking for a replacement for him prior to their run in the playoffs. Does he have what it takes to get the team back into serious contention. 
  • The team also got an inconsistent season out of RB Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the draft. Can he put together the monster season that would justify his draft status and help elevate the Jaguars to elite status. 
  • The Jaguars went from 25thin scoring defense in 2016 to second last year. Will they fall back to the pack this year?

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 5-1. The Jaguars only win against them came in 2002.

Series notables

The first time: September 28, 1997, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium—In the second game ever played at the Redskins’ new stadium, Jacksonville took a 9-0 lead in the second quarter, but then-Jags QB Mark Brunell threw a pair of interceptions that set up two Washington touchdowns and the Redskins won 24-12. Gus Frerotte threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns and Terry Allen gained 122 yards on 36 carries. 

The last time: November 14, 2012, FedEx Field—Jay Gruden got his first win as the Redskins’ head coach in this one. Robert Griffin III went out of this game early with an injury and Kirk Cousins passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his place. It was the defense that dominated this game, racking up 10 sacks, tying the team record set in 1977. Ryan Kerrigan got four of those sacks, tying the team individual record for sacks in a game. The Redskins won 41-10.

The best time: October 1, 2006, FedEx Field—A taught, exciting game came to an explosive end when Santana Moss snared a pass that Mark Brunell perhaps should not have thrown and streaked to the end zone, giving the Redskins a 36-30 overtime win over Jacksonville.

The reason the throw was risky was that two defenders were near Moss as Brunell fired it to the speedy receiver. Somehow both of them missed it. Moss grabbed it, spun around and bolted the rest of the way to complete the 68-yard game winner.

It was Moss’ third touchdown reception of the day. In the first quarter, he caught a long pass from Brunell and executed a nifty spin move near the goal line to complete the 55-yard touchdown play. An eight-yard Moss TD catch early in the third quarter put the Redskins up by 10 but the Jags battled back to tie it with six seconds left. That set up Moss’ overtime heroics. 

The worst time: November 10, 2002, Alltel Stadium—The Redskins came into the game riding a two-game winning streak and at 4-4 they were squarely in playoff contention. A strong running game had been their best asset during their surge to .500 and, with the Jaguars sporting the worst run defense in the NFL, there was every reason to believe that the Redskins would take the land route to another win.

But coach Steve Spurrier had different ideas. "I was dumb enough to think we could throw it up and down the field," Spurrier said. "We ran a little bit here and there. We had a little success there early, and I got away from it too much. The second quarter, I kept thinking at midfield, we could throw the ball from there. But we didn't do it very well. So, looking back, I called a lousy game."

His defense didn’t play very well either. The Redskins scored first but the Jaguars scored 26 unanswered points and came out with a 26-7 win.

Redskins schedule series

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