Jim Zorn knew his status as coach of the Washington Redskins was tenuous back when his team was 1-1 - and coming off a victory, no less.
As the losses have mounted, the former Seahawks quarterback and assistant coach has grown accustomed to the whispers and the stares and the general sense from all sorts of people that his job was in jeopardy.
“It’s kind of all around. I get hit with ‘The look,’ ” Zorn said Monday. “And I get all that. I just have to press on. I have to push forward. So I had made a decision, when the first inkling of all this, all the speculation – I think it was after beating the Rams 9-7, you know, earlier in the season – I just made a decision then: I’m going to stay focused and see this through.”
The latest indication next Sunday’s game at the San Diego Chargers will be Zorn’s last with Washington: The leader of the group that monitors compliance with the NFL’s Rooney Rule said the Redskins already have interviewed one of the team’s assistants for the head coaching position.
Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten said secondary coach Jerry Gray interviewed with Redskins owner Dan Snyder several weeks ago. Wooten said the interview satisfies the Rooney Rule that requires teams to talk to a minority candidate when filling a head coaching position. Wooten said it didn’t matter that the job is not yet vacant.
“Dan Snyder handled it the way it should have been handled,” Wooten said. “He made a call in and he did it the right way.”
Last week, Gray gave confusing answers when asked whether he had interviewed for the job. He initially appeared to deny he had interviewed, then later amended the answer to “no comment.”
Holmgren mum on Mangini
New Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren has not decided if coach Eric Mangini will be back next season.
Holmgren said he will wait until he arrives in Cleveland next week before making any changes. Holmgren plans to meet with Mangini after the Browns (4-11) finish the season. He said it would not be fair to discuss Mangini’s status with one game remaining.
“He’s at the end of finishing his first season, the team is doing well and responding to him,” Holmgren said.
Carolina coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney, despite the Panthers being 7-8, will be “offered the opportunity to return next season,” the Charlotte Observer reported, but Fox will not be offered a contract extension. … Rams star running back Steven Jackson, who did not play Sunday at Arizona, said he has been playing with a herniated disk that will not require surgery, but he anticipates playing against San Francisco. … Rams guard Mark Setterstrom has a torn left triceps that will keep him out of the season finale against San Francisco and likely require surgery. … Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will test his sore ankle this week to determine whether he can play in Buffalo’s season finale against Indianapolis. … Eagles center Jamaal Jackson will miss the rest of the season after tearing a knee ligament against Denver. Jackson made his 71st consecutive start against the Broncos and had been Philadelphia’s only offensive player to play every snap until he got hurt in the first half. … Starting right guard Mike Williams has been ruled out of the Redskins’ last game of the season with a torn muscle in his foot. … Dolphins starting inside linebacker Channing Crowder suffered a serious right foot injury against Houston that will likely end his season. … The Broncos will be without starting left guard Russ Hochstein and returner Kenny McKinley for the season finale after both suffered knee injuries at Philadelphia. … Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis was headed home from Washington, a day after undergoing an appendectomy that cause him to miss Dallas’ win over the Redskins.