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Paralysis by analysis

Feb 12, 2008, 2:30 AM EDT

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I’ve been suffering from paralysis by analysis for the past 48 hours. Every since the hiring of Jim Zorn, I’ve been bookmarking articles about the hire and about the process, ready to pick them apart and point out the biases, the illogical and untrue statements, and the hypocrisy present in so many of them. But as soon as I found one that was good fodder, I’d find another one that was even dumber.

So, first I’m going to go into a little more detail about my opinion of the hiring and then, over the coming days when I’ve gathered enough of the good, the bad, and the Adam Schein take on the Zorn hiring and do a few prize pull quotes from them with a reasoned response.

While it was surprising, I like the hire. It was absolutely nothing like what everyone said a Dan Snyder hire would be. He was a small name, an outside-the-box idea, a tiny splash in the pool. It’s as though Zorn was hired by the Bizarro Snyder, at least according to his media image.

As far as the hiring process, I’m just glad it’s over. I don’t buy for a second that he was brought in as OC with the notion that he was a candidate for the head job. Snyder and Cerrato were suffering from their own case of paralysis by analysis and it occurred to the latter that the solution to their dilemma was the guy that was settling into the office down the hall from the one that used to belong to Joe Gibbs. If you’re obsessed with process, as many in Washington tend to be and as many writers tend to be, the search was a black mark. If you’re interested in results, all’s well that ends well.

I like Zorn, from what I’ve read about him and what I’ve heard from him. Speaking of outside the box, that defines his thinking. Whether it’s having his QB’s play dodge ball or romp on a Slip ‘n’ Slide (see video embedded below) or riding his bicycle to work, he thinks about thinks and does things just a little bit differently than the rest of us. It’s not necessarily a case of different is better (more on that later), but the change from the cookie-cutter approach is refreshing.

Zorn’s introductory presser yesterday was not a virtuoso performance by a polished performer by any stretch of the imagination. He sounded nervous and he committed a few gaffes like the maroon and black reference, which was especially embarrassing because he volunteered the incorrect information. He’ll be consulting with a PR firm before the media blizzard starts in the summer.

We don’t know whether or not Zorn will be successful as a head coach. Many, of course, have buried him as one of the worst hires in years. I don’t think that he will be, but there’s no way of knowing for sure. Of course, it’s the fact that we don’t know that makes the two thumbs down reviews so utterly void of credibility.

His success, or lack thereof, will not be determined by his lack of experience as a coordinator. I’ll take that back partially; it may hurt him this coming season. Plenty of coaches have been successful with limited or no experience as an NFL coordinator, Andy Reid (zero seasons), Tom Coughlin (zero seasons) and Mike Tomlin (one season). On the other hand, many star coordinators have flopped as NFL head coaches (look no further than Turner, Norv and Petitbon, Richie). It may take a year for him to get down the mechanics of things, but, ultimately, he either has “it” or he doesn’t.

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