For Zorn, it's optimism laced with uncertainty

During his first full offseason as a head coach, Jim Zorn spent some time in Seattle. The former Seahawks player and assistant coach also visited Harpers Ferry, W.Va. He read Jeffrey Archer’s latest book, plus some Daniel Silva and a recent tome on Lincoln’s ideology.

All the while, his thoughts never drifted far from the task before him: returning the Washington Redskins to prominence.

“Even when I’m on vacation, I’m paying attention to what we need to be doing as an organization,” Zorn said. “So by this point, I’m completely ready to go.”

Zorn opens his second training camp as Redskins head coach Thursday, concluding an offseason of drama and commencing a preseason of cautious optimism mixed with lingering uncertainty.

It’s different this time around, Zorn said. A year ago, a rookie head coach began his first camp with only six quick months of preparation. No nametags were necessary, but last year’s camp opened with a slow learning curve.

“As we were installing everything, as we were getting to know each other, I was really teaching the offensive coaches our offense still, as well as the players,” Zorn said. “This year, there’s a different type of preparation. We know more of what to expect on offense. …

“We know what we’re dealing with.”

Compared with last year, the 2009 playbook isn’t exactly wrinkle-free, but the differences are subtle. Because he better understands his personnel and his coaching staff, Zorn said, he knows what deserves more attention and what should be de-emphasized.

Zorn insisted he’s undeterred by the offseason headlines: He was sad to see tackle Jon Jansen go, he said; it’s unfortunate quarterback Jason Campbell had to see his job security get bandied about like a shuttlecock; and he finds it odd Clinton Portis vs. Jim Zorn grew into such a soap opera.

“The media said, ‘Oh, my gosh, there’s a problem,’” Zorn said of his relationship with his star running back. “I don’t think we ever had any problem at all.”

Prison time for Burress?

Manhattan’s district attorney says he wants former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress to serve time in prison, the New York Post reported.

Robert Morgenthau told the newspaper that Burress, who shot himself with an unlicensed gun in November, was willing to agree to spend a year in jail, but prosecutors insisted on two.

“We’ve always taken the position that he’s going to have to go to jail, whether by trial or by plea,” Morgenthau told the Post for a story in Monday’s edition.

Burress shot himself in the thigh at a nightclub early Nov. 29. He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and faces up to 31/2 years in prison. Burress has pleaded not guilty and is free on $100,000 bail. The Giants released him in April.

His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said he was “disappointed and surprised” that Morgenthau spoke publicly while a grand jury decision on indicting Burress is pending.

Favre smiles for camera

Give Brett Favre credit. The quarterback might be unable to make up his mind about whether he wants to play for the Minnesota Vikings, but he has found a way to turn his waffling ways into additional income. Not to mention poke fun at himself.

In a television commercial that will be part of the launch for the Sears Blue Electronics Crew campaign and begin airing in September, Favre agonizes over selecting a new LED television. Favre has a discussion with a Sears sales rep played by actor Brad Morris (from “The Second City” comedy club in Chicago).

During their discussion, Morris talks about the advantages Sears offers to help guys who have a tough time making decisions and then adds, “You know the type, right?”

Favre replies: “Yeah, I hate those guys.”

Extra points

The Carolina Panthers have reached terms with second-round pick Everette Brown and third-round choice Corvey Irvin. Brown agreed to a four-year, $4.3 million deal. The ex-Florida State defensive end is expected to provide an immediate boost to Carolina’s pass rush. Irvin signed a four-year, $2.42 million deal that includes a $670,000 signing bonus. The Georgia product is expected to back up starting defensive tackles Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis. … The New England Patriots signed safety Patrick Chung, their top draft pick, leaving two of their 12 choices without agreements. Chung, out of Oregon, was one of four players drafted in the second round by the Patriots.