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Posted: Monday September 28, 2009 2:39PM; Updated: Monday September 28, 2009 3:01PM
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INSIDE THE NFL

Bus Stops (cont.)

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jim-zorn.jpg
Jim Zorn is 9-10 since taking over as the Redskins coach prior to the 2008 season.
Getty Images

The Redskins are playing uninspired football, and that blame falls to Jim Zorn. Whether they're prepared -- and that's the other half of Zorn's job -- is unclear. But it seems to me this guy just doesn't have the ability to get his team up to play. It's the most obvious thing in the world on TV. They don't look inspired. They're constantly underachieving.

This is a team that's gone relatively unchanged on offense the past few years -- the same team that was in the playoffs two years ago and that won six of seven games at one point last year. We know how good this team can be. So Daniel Snyder has to look at this guy and ask: Is this guy better off as an offensive coordinator? Or is he really a head coach?

If not, there are plenty out there. I think Bill Cowher will definitely be among the guys who get a look if things don't work out, but I don't know how that fit works given how Snyder handled Bill's mentor, Marty Schottenheimer. He ran Schottenheimer out of town.

Here's the pick that I think makes sense: Arizona's offensive line coach and one of the original hogs, Russ Grimm.

It was great to see the payoff of the Jim Schwartz hire yesterday, changing the culture in Detroit. Being from the area, I've always followed the Lions, but I've been frustrated by the way they've chosen their coaches -- I've never really seen the right guy for the job come in. I think there's something to be said about hiring a defensive coach to revive a franchise. I know Rod Marinelli didn't work out, but I like defensive coaches in a situation like this. Guys like Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, Lovie Smith and Rex Ryan bring a tougher mentality. If I'm a GM and I'm trying to revive a franchise, a defensive coach is the way I'd go. They're mindset-changers and that's what Detroit needed. My hat's off to Schwartz.

Here's Detroit's next problem: getting people in those seats so their hometown fans can see them on TV. It's not going to be easy, even if they're winning. Given how hard this town has been hit by the mortgage crisis and the automotive industry's struggles, I think Roger Goodell really has to consider a different approach to the blackout rule here. In this economy we can't have such a hard line. What happens on Thanksgiving Day? Can you imagine Thanksgiving in Detroit without the Lions on TV?

A few more quick thoughts...

-- I think that Steelers-Bengals game said more about Cincinnati than it did Pittsburgh. The Bengals ran the ball effectively, Palmer played well and, more importantly, they finished. The Bengals teams I knew pretty much blew it at the end of these close games. Yesterday they found a way to win, and that's a major change for the franchise. It's the sign of a pretty good football team.

For the Steelers, the scary thing coming out of this game is the evident strength of the AFC North. What a strong division all of a sudden.

-- The Raiders are a bad football team; that's obvious. Rich Gannon, who calls games for CBS, is not telling secrets when he says so. So for them to try to keep him out of their complex for badmouthing them is just insane; it shows a total lack of class. A classy organization rolls with the punches. They take the knocks that come with a bad game or a bad season. Ben Roethlisberger has shrugged off my comments before. He's said he "laughs" in the face of his critics, including me. Willie Parker has shrugged me off, too. I understand that. I applaud it. That tells you something about the differences in those two franchises.

-- Marcus Fitzgerald: why does anyone care what you say? Why are you tweeting? Larry, you've got to take away your brother's cell phone or his Twitter account.

-- Here's what I saw in that late Colts-Cardinals game: Arizona is still very much capable of being blown out by any team on any given Sunday. Nothing's changed.

-- Before we criticize, let's try to understand Terrell Owens' frustration. His team's not winning, and he's not getting the football. Any player who's had T.O.'s success is going to be upset in this situation. Isn't that what we want in a player -- we want guys who want to make plays, right? Terrell could have been very reckless and he could have blasted his coaches last night, but he didn't. He's getting more and more frustrated, but why are we surprised?

-- A word to Bucs coach Raheem Morris: You live and die by the first-round quarterbacks you draft. You took Josh Freeman. Your team is certainly going to get worse before it gets better. So get that rookie in there now, or you're not going to be around to see it when he does develop. More young coaches need to get that point. If you're 4-12 or 7-9 in Year One, what does it matter? Those three extra wins you might get by playing Byron Leftwich or Josh Johnson won't save your job.

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