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News & Notes: Zorn Focused On Here And Now


Speculation is running rampant--from sports talk radio to newspapers to blogs--on Jim Zorn's job security in the wake of a 2-3 start.

It's hard to avoid it, even inside the Redskins locker room.

And so the question was eventually asked of Zorn if this Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, owners of a 0-5 record, was a must-win game in terms of his coaching tenure in Washington.

"I would repeat what I've said from the start: they are all must win games," Zorn said. "I can't get into all of the ramifications because that's in the future. I really am dealing with the present. The Kansas City Chiefs are on my mind."

In a newspaper report on Thursday, several players were quoted anonymously as saying they would like the organization to make a public support of Zorn to at least cut off the rounds of questions.

Zorn was asked about this as well.

"I can't speak for those guys," he replied. "They are grown men. I think we are all together. I don't think that it has to be done for me to feel better about myself and what we are doing. I think Mr. [Daniel M.] Snyder has tried to help in every way he can to get this team the way it needs to be. Sometimes it is a process.

Rock Cartwright, a team captain, was among players who have been vocal in their support of Zorn.

"That's our head man and we believe in him," Cartwright told's Larry Weisman. "We are going to get it turned around."

Said Zorn: "It is awesome to have support. That's really what has been going on all year. These guys are in. We talked about it and you know what it reflects, not just the talk, it reflects on the idea that they are all in and supportive.

"They really work at it and they are really working hard. We are 2-3, we know our record, but they are out enjoying themselves and trying to get better and better each and every day.


"They are listening to the coaches and trying to pay attention to all those things we have to do to improve. I am really proud of them."


Forcing turnovers has long been a problem for the Redskins, but the defense is starting to show signs of improvement in that category.

So far this year, the Redskins have posted three interceptions--all by DeAngelo Hall--and forced four fumbles.

It was the first thing that came to mind when defensive assistant Jerry Gray was asked about the overall improvement by the defense this season.

"We're getting turnovers and we're getting them deep into other people's territory," Gray said. "You are getting sacks on a consistent basis and the coverage and pressure is going hand in hand. You are not saying, 'Well, we are almost there.' Now we are actually getting there and we have good coverage."

When Gray evaluates cornerbacks, one of the first thing he looks for is an ability to force turnovers.

"You look at the really good corners in this league--I think Philadelphia has a really good one in Asante Samuel, Champ Bailey is still really good, Terrance Newman is really good, and DeAngelo Hall," Gray said. "You get two years behind them and they get 10 interceptions. You are going to average five or six a year. When you do that, it means you are giving the offense the ball back a lot."


Phillip Daniels sat out practice for the second consecutive day as he tries to return from a torn biceps injury.

Daniels wants to play through the injury, but his status for Sunday's game against Kansas City remains uncertain.

"The thing we have to do is see what he actually gives us," Jerry Gray said. "The good thing is, Kansas City may give us a chance to play [against] three wide receivers, where Phillip is not really in anyway. I think that could help us out a lot."

Cornelius Griffin, who sat out Wednesday's practice, was limited in Thursday's session, a sign that his status is improving.

Hunter Smith also sat out practice. He is sidelined with a groin injury.

If Smith is unable to play, then the team is expected to sign Glenn Pakulak from the practice squad for the Chiefs game.

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