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News & Notes: Zorn Speaks On Red Zone Play-Calling


Three field goals proved to be enough for the Redskins in their 9-7 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, but it wasn't enough for Jim Zorn to avoid the media microscope.

The Redskins advanced to the red zone four times against the Rams--five if you're counting the final series of kneel-downs at the end of the game--and could not push the ball across the goal line.

Despite the struggles, Zorn would not second-guess his play calls inside the red zone.

"If I could see it now, if I could see every play that was going to fail before it failed, I wouldn't call it," Zorn said. "But I felt very confident [in the play calls] because we work on it. We have to execute it. It's not a grab-bag situation.

"I'm going to go back and study it more, and I'm going to be hard on myself as well, which is what I do."

One play call in particular drew scrutiny.

On 3rd-and-goal at the Rams' 5-yard line, Zorn called a halfback option with Clinton Portis throwing to Chris Cooley in the end zone. The pass was incomplete.

(Even if successful, the play would have been called back due to a holding penalty on Will Montgomery.)

Explained Zorn: "It was a play we had in our game plan. And we thought we would show run, because we had been running edge runs with Clinton on the goal line. And I thought, 'All right, here it is.' And Clinton has thrown touchdown passes before.

"Well, what happened was, when we came off the line of scrimmage, we came off backing up, and when the [Rams] saw that, they just played it right down the line. The safety felt that this was going to be a pass. So we ended up kicking a field goal."

Of course, red zone woes would not even be an issue if two of Jason Campbell's passes inside the Rams' 10-yard line had not been dropped.

The culprits? Devin Thomas and Mike Sellers.

"They feel bad about it," Zorn said. "But we have to pay attention to the details of our work. That's what it's going to take for us to continue to improve."


Is the Redskins' offense playing too tight when they get in the red zone?

No, Santana Moss says.

"We're out there having fun," he said. "Hey, the other players get paid, too. We're not playing chumps."

Is the offense changing its mentality too much inside the red zone?

"It's the same mentality we have no matter where we are on the field," he said. "We're trying to score."

Moss, who has five catches for 41 yards this season, spoke at length about the Redskins' red zone struggles on Monday.

At the end of his media session, Moss encouraged perspective.

"You've got to look at it like this--we won the game," he said. "We did something to win the game, therefore that's all we can hang our hat on for right now. And we'll work to do our best in the future."


The Jason Campbell-Chris Cooley connection is off to a hot start this season.

Cooley leads the Redskins with 14 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown.

On Sunday against St. Louis, he caught a game-high seven passes for 83 yards. He caught four of those passes on the Redskins' second drive of the game, including 15- and 11-yard receptions.

"I think a confidence starts to build when you have four catches on a drive," Cooley s aid. "Even towards the end of the drive, they were still calling plays to me. I had a couple other plays that were covered.

"The confidence builds when you make plays early. You see that there's a weakness and you're attacking it. That's why they stayed with me."


The Redskins used the no-huddle offense on consecutive plays midway through the second quarter.

It was a way for the offense to establish a quicker tempo, Jason Campbell said.

"It felt good," Campbell said. "It's something that guys are comfortable with and it gives us the opportunity to change the tempo of the game. It spreads people out and gives us the opportunity to see the field.

"We were going to do it longer, but the situation called for us to huddle back up."

Campbell threw two passes using no-huddle, both to Clinton Portis. He completed one to Portis, for five yards.

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