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Zorn, Reid Followed a Similar Path


Jim Zorn and Andy Reid are about as far apart as two head coaches can get in terms of temperament. And yet, professionally, they have a lot in common.


Reid says he certainly respects what Zorn has accomplished in his first month as an NFL head coach.

They'll match wits Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in another NFC East matchup with a lot riding on it.

"I know him just a little bit," Reid said of Zorn. "I've talked to him a couple of times and I've heard nothing but good things about him. He's just doing a phenomenal job right now."

When the Redskins named Jim Zorn as their head coach back on Feb. 9, one of the things the club cited prominently was Zorn's experience in Mike Holmgren's "family tree" of quarterback coaches who moved on to become successful NFL head coaches.

Essentially, that meant Reid.

Like Zorn, Reid traveled directly from quarterbacks coach to head coach. In the case of Reid, he went from coaching the QBs in Green Bay in 1998 to getting the head coaching job in Philly the next season. Reid was the QB coach for Holmgren with the Packers and Brett Favre in 1997 and 1998.

He took over in Philly in 1999, going 5-11 in his first year there.

Over the next eight seasons, Reid's Eagles teams won the NFC East five times and the 2004 Philadelphia team made it all the way to Super Bowl XXXIX, where it came up short to New England 24-21.

Reid insists coaching under Holmgren was vital to his success, even if it became dramatic at times.

Reid says the connection to Holmgren is in Zorn's favor, too, as well as the fact that Zorn was a quarterback as a player for so long.

"It toughens you up a little bit," Reid added, with a corresponding laugh. "If you coach under Mike, you've had your bell rung a couple of times. Just coaching the quarterback position--and with Jim playing the quarterback position--you can get a pretty good feel for everything that goes on, on the offensive side of the football.

"On the other hand, you've got to be able to teach your quarterback everything that goes on, on the defensive side. So it allows you to have a bigger perspective."

For his part, Zorn says he understands the initial Zorn-Reid comparisons, factoring in the experience under Holmgren. That's as far as it goes, though.

"We've both been with Mike and we both run similar offenses," Zorn said. "We probably install the same [way]. But I don't think [Redskins owner] Dan Snyder was thinking of Andy Reid when he was hiring me, because each hiring of the 32 teams is definitely unique.

"Mike and I had a great working relationship. There were some red faces, but I never felt like I was beaten down by Mike."

Now in his 10th season as the head man in Philly, Reid has an overall record of 98-64 entering this Sunday's riveting NFC East matchup.

In his first year in Philadelphia, Reid joined ranks with a young quarterback out of Syracuse named Donovan McNabb. Reid's background as a quarterbacks coach certainly has been a factor in the success of McNabb, a five-time Pro Bowler and widely regarded as one of the elite quarterbacks in the game.

Zorn, meanwhile, has a young quarterback of his own to bring along. So far, he's done wonders in his work with Jason Campbell in the Redskins' 3-1 start.

Of course, the Redskins are hoping Zorn can have the same type of success with his young quarterback and his team that Reid has had in Philadelphia.

For the record, Zorn is trying to get the Redskins to 4-1 for the first time since 1999. After his first five games in Philadelphia, that same season, Reid was 1-4.

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