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News & Notes: Zorn Focuses In On the Details

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Jim Zorn spent Monday and Tuesday this week huddled inside Redskins Park, reevaluating the coaching staff and the approach to managing players and plays.

On Wednesday, Zorn was back on the practice fields.

As always, the practice had an up-tempo feel, but Zorn said there was a greater emphasis on details and working with players one-on-one as neccessary.

He even suggested there was a training camp feel to the practice session.

"What we decided to do was take time during every play to make sure our guys were doing the right thing," Zorn said. "It's just a matter of paying attention to details maybe in a training camp way versus a midseason way. So that's what we did out there.

"Everybody was active and upbeat and enthusiastic about the 15th game of the season when we don't have playoff hopes. And that's hard [to accept]."

Following last Sunday's disappointing 20-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Zorn promised to re-assess how he was coaching the team.

First, in a Monday press conference, he took full responsibility for the Redskins' disappointing play down the stretch. The team has lost five of its last six games to fall to 7-7 on the season.

Then, Zorn wanted to take a moment to "slow things down" amid the hectic pace of the NFL work week.

Two games remain in the regular season. Even though a playoff berth is unlikely, the focus remains on winning now instead of building for the future.

The Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday at FedExField.

"We're always in a hurry, we're always taking care of the business at hand and then moving on to the next thing," Zorn said. "What we tried to do was take time to talk about where we were at as coaches and what we could do better.


"Some of the things we came up with were very simple, because we don't have time to revamp anything. Nor should we [revamp anything], because really we are going in the right direction.

"We talked about taking care of some of the details that maybe during the season you don't necessarily have time to take care of when you're game planning every week."

Zorn pointed to a pair of illegal formation penalties in the Cincinnati game as an example of what the team needed to work on.

"All last week, we had run that play correctly," Zorn said. "When it came time for it in the game, it was just a slip of the mind [by the player]. Those are the tiny things we have to pay attention to. They're hard to coach, because when you're doing it right all week, you expect to do it right during the game.

"We have a good group of guys who take responsibility and we have a good group of coaches who take responsibility. So we have to shore all that up."

Zorn has faced up to the scrutiny in the last four days.

He had a bounce in his step returning to practice on Wednesday. Later, he enjoyed a laugh with Redskins executive director of communications Zack Bolno before hosting a media session.

"I had a lot of people saying to me, 'Keep your head up, Coach,' but my head wasn't down," he said. "It's just hard not feel terrible about how the team has played [the last six games].

"Some people thought I looked tired. Listen--I'm far from tired. I have a lot of energy left. I'm not gearing up for two final games. I'm gearing up hopefully every year to coach in the playoffs. Unfortunately we're going to be done a little bit early this year."

-- FLETCHER SOUNDS OFF

London Fletcher admitted to disappointment that he was once again left off the Pro Bowl squad.

The 11-year NFL veteran has more tackles than any defender this decade, but he still can't find his way on to the annual all-star team.

Instead, he is listed as a second alternate.

"I don't know if it was because I wasn't a first-round draft pick, or I don't do some kind of dance when I make a 10-yard tackle," he said. "I don't go out and get arrested. I believe in playing the game the way it's supposed to be player. You line up each and every week, each and every play, and you go out and get the job done.

"You look at my body of work and I've done that for 11 years. But because I'm not going out causing a lot of controversy, holding a private meeting with the coordinator saying this and this, causing a lot of strife on my team, I don't garner a lot of attention.

"But when you turn on the film each and every week, each and every play, I'm going to show up. That's what I do. I feel my career has been Hall of Fame worthy. But some coaches and some players get caught up in the hype reading the newspapers or listing to some national TV game as opposed to watching the game with no sound.

"I play the position the way it's supposed to be played, and to still not get the attention, I think it's BS. You say what you want to say, but I put myself up against anybody playing this position. Anybody.

"That's not to take anything away from the other guys who made the Pro Bowl. There are some great players to have played the position. I understand that they can only take two middle linebackers. But to have it happen year after year after year--I've been an eight-time alternate. C'mon, man.

"I believe in playing the game the way it's supposed to be played. Go on to the next play. Do it the way it's supposed to be done and go on to the next play. That's how I play the game."

-- HEALTHY DEFENSE

Cornelius Griffin and Chris Horton were full-go in Wednesday's practice, and Marcus Washington took limited work.

The only Redskins defender to sit out practice? London Fletcher, who has a lingering foot injury but has managed to play through it every Sunday.

Washington worked hard but moved around gingerly at times during practice, Zorn said.

"If his ankle can hold up, I think he'll get better each week now that he's working," Zorn said.

Washington has missed the last four games due to the injury.

Griffin is expected to return from shoulder and abdomen injuries.

And Horton still has a sore shoulder but he was able to participate fully.

-- UPDATE ON JANSEN

Jon Jansen sat out practice on Wednesday as he continues to rehab a knee injury.

Jansen is expected to test the knee in practice later this week, Jim Zorn said.

"We're going to try him again at the end of the week to just see if we can put a little stress on his knee to see how it holds," Zorn said. "If he doesn't practice all week, I'm not going to let him get in there."

Jansen did not play in last Sunday's game in Cincinnati. Jason Fabini started in his place at right tackle.

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