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Zorn, Blache Are Redskins' New Leaders


Both Gregg Williams and Al Saunders are exceptionally knowledgeable football men who cared a great deal about the Redskins and will be successful in their next NFL stops.

But it's also true that neither reached the level of success they had hoped for in Washington.

The end to their Redskins coaching stints didn't come with a bang but with a whimper on Saturday afternoon when the team announced they have been released from their coaching duties.

At the very least, the announcement by the team affords closure for them and lets them plan accordingly.

That's the easy part for anyone following the Redskins and their coaching search.

Less clear is the situation involving the decision to name a pair of coordinators before naming a head coach. Apparently it's a process that may not fully unfold until after next weekend and Super Bowl XLII.

What can be said in terms of first impressions of Saturday's moves?

In naming Greg Blache to lead the team's defense and Jim Zorn as his counterpart on offense, the Redskins have opted for continuity on the one hand and a possible sea change on the other.

Blache held the title of defensive coordinator-defensive line coach with the Redskins. He worked closely with Williams, the team's assistant head coach-defense, and was largely successful in merging veteran players with energetic if unproven rookies.

Prior to coming to the Redskins, Blache, a 21-year NFL coaching veteran, molded a Chicago Bears defense into one of the most intimidating in the NFL.

He was on the 1992 staff of Mike Holmgren in Green Bay, a staff that included future head coaches Jon Gruden, Dick Jauron, Andy Reid, Steve Mariucci and Ray Rhodes.

Blache's familiarity with the talent on hand has the potential to lend itself to a seamless change.

That may not be the case with Zorn, who joins the Redskins from Seattle, where for the past seven seasons he served as quarterbacks coach.

A revered figure among Seahawks fans, Zorn helped in the development of Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, now a Pro Bowler.

The Redskins are hoping he can take Jason Campbell on a similar path.

It's fair to say that for the Redskins the adjustment to Zorn's methods would involve a greater leap, given Seattle's West Coast offensive principles of recent years.

Zorn learned his coaching craft under Holmgren, now the head coach of the Seahawks. Holmgren also operated the West Coast offense in Green Bay, where he won a Super Bowl in 1996.

Saturday afternoon's developments are elements of the story but the grand narrative is yet to come into focus.

In other words, it appears that the decision concerning the 26th head coach in Redskins history will be a post-Super Bowl affair.

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