Hey, big spender (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday February 12, 2008 4:37PM; Updated: Tuesday February 12, 2008 5:57PM
Everyone in the tiny place joined Dee Dee Bridgewater (Glinda in The Wiz) singing New York, New York. As Cindy Adams would say, only in New York, kids, only in New York.
WE'RE HAPPY WITH ZORN. From Dan Brown, of Evanston, Ill.: "Here's the reason this 'Skins fan did not want to have Jim Fassel as a coach. At his last job, he was fired by good friend Brian Billick, halfway through the season, and if I remember correctly, it's because his heart clearly wasn't in the job. The Ravens went on a great streak afterwards and finished ahead of the Pats and the Colts in the standings, thanks largely to an offensive resurgence -- Fassel's side of the ball. I think an important measure of a coach is how the team does after his departure. I'm no Norv Turner enthusiast, but since you brought him up, both the Redskins and the Raiders were just as bad without him as with him. [Tom] Coughlin's Giants have been to the playoffs as many times in four years as Fassel's Giants did in seven, and won a Super Bowl. Having seen the Redskins play Fassel's team twice for seven years, I know what we'd be getting in Fassel, and I'd rather roll the dice with Zorn.''
Fair enough. Dan, your sentiment is echoed throughout Redskin territory, and I do not take it lightly. Three points I'd make. One, the strength of the Fassel-Zorn marriage was going to be that Zorn would have been able to mold and shape Jason Campbell with hours of one-on-one work daily, something that a head coach really can't spent that much time doing. Dan Snyder bought a great quarterback teacher, and now he's asking the quarterback teacher to do another job. As I wrote yesterday, I like Zorn a lot, but I'm not sure Zorn and TBA is a better combo for the Washington offense than Fassel and Zorn.
Two, Fassel did not got whacked "because his heart clearly wasn't in the job.'' He got whacked because the Ravens were underachieving on offense by every measure. He was working with a quarterback, Steve McNair, who wasn't experienced in the offense, having gotten to the team in June, not February. The Ravens were 4-2 when he got fired and went 9-1 down the stretch. Clearly the move did not hurt the team. But it had nothing to do with Fassel going soft or lazy.
There's no question that was a black mark on him, and an obvious question about his ability as a coach. But the Ravens never once in nine years under Billick had a top-10 passing offense, so I don't think you can pin the 2006 failure totally on Fassel. I'm not absolving him of blame here at all. I just think there are reasons the thing didn't work there, and they weren't all the fault of Fassel.
Three, the man coached seven years in what many people call the toughest division in football, and he exited with a winning record against the other three teams in the division. He's got to have some ability as a coach and motivator that no one is giving his credit for. It's a strange phenomenon, how Jim Fassel can't get a second chance.
ANOTHER COUNTRY HEARD FROM. From Jeffrey Law, of Millburn, N.J.: "While I agree with you about Jim Fassel deserving another chance and Jim Zorn making a better coordinator and mentor for Jason Campbell than head coach, the Redskins' fans sentiment was due to Gregg Williams being denied an opportunity. I don't think you lose anything with Zorn as offensive coordinator and Gregg Williams as head coach. While Williams did not take the Bills to the Super Bowl, its hard to argue that Fassel had more success than Gregg Williams recently. He made this a top 10 defense in three of the last four years It is not going to be fun this season when the 90,000 at FedEx Field are screaming "We want Gregg" and "Fire Vinny [Cerrato]" all season long.''
RAY GUY'S CASE GETS SOME FEEDBACK. From Will Willis, of Lewisville, Texas: "You write, 'I can't figure out why Guy keeps getting so much pro-Hall sentiment.' It's actually pretty easy really, it's a difference in philosophy. I'm one that thinks Canton holds the 'Hall of Fame' rather than the 'Hall of Statistics Compilers' that many voters apparently think it is. That's my view toward the baseball Hall of Fame as well. That's not to say that statistics aren't useful in the process, but they aren't everything.
"I'm 36, and I'm willing to bet that if you did a survey asking football fans between the ages of 35-55, 'Who is the greatest punter in NFL history?' you'll get 90 percent-plus answering Ray Guy. Maybe 'by the numbers' that is more perception than reality, but the fact is you can't deny that perception. I'm also not saying that the Hall of Fame should be a popularity vote, but at the same time the fame in the name has to be about more than just stats. Ray Guy is synonymous with punting, just like Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage were synonymous with being closers -- even if they weren't the stat compilers that the Lee Smiths and Jeff Reardons of the world were.''
Will, our job isn't to poll fans and ask them who they think should be in the Hall of Fame. Our job is to take a studious look at the candidates and judge for ourselves. And by any measure other than the height of his punts, my opinion is that a punter with the 62nd-best average in history, and a punter who won fewer punting titles than Jerrel Wilson, and a punter who averaged 44 yards a boot once in a 14-year career does not measure up. Now, I'm one of 44 electors. It's easy to override my opinion -- find 35 of the remaining 43 voters who feel he is a Hall of Famer. This is the thing that I've told people over the years who have decried my stand on several players -- like Art Monk -- for several years. You think I'm the only one in the room who isn't voting for Guy? There's obviously some significant opposition to Guy or he'd be in by now.