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Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Are defenses catching up with the Z Man?

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

There's a theory making its way around the NFC that Redskins coach Jim Zorn's West Coast offense is much easier to defend the second time around. Obviously the Giants didn't have a problem in Week 1, but that was before the Redskins racked up four consecutive wins, including road victories over the Cowboys and Eagles.

Zorn

Ryan O'Halloran does a really nice job covering the Redskins for the Washington Times, and he pointed to some disturbing numbers this morning:

"In the past five games, the Redskins are 2-3 and averaging 30 fewer yards and seven fewer points [than the first five games]. The most telling statistics: eight turnovers and 18 sacks allowed."

Zorn said Monday that the Redskins were "treading water," and they needed to start swimming. So far this season, the Redskins have responded well to adversity, but it's not like this is a two-week lull. When the Redskins lose, Zorn talks about how the team wasn't able to run enough plays for Jason Campbell to find his rhythm. But at some point, Zorn has to set the tempo from the very first play. Coaches who spend the whole game trying to set something up for later tend to have short stays in the business. But Zorn doesn't believe that teams are catching up with his tendencies.

"We're moving the ball, but we're not maintaining our composure so we can get our quarterback in a rhythm, so we can get our receivers downfield," Zorn said. "Those are the things I'm talking about -- that consistent blocking groove, both run and pass, so we can do what we want. I think it's us more than catching up with our ideas."

But whatever the case may be, Zorn needs to fix things in a hurry. He's preparing to face his former boss and mentor Mike Holmgren. And if anyone knows Zorn's tendencies, it's Holmgren. And, yes, I know the Seahawks are in a bad place right now. But I don't smell a blowout coming.