For The Win – For a rookie head coach, taking over a veteran locker room can be difficult. Just ask former Redskins head coach Jim Zorn, who was charged with the unenviable task of replacing Joe Gibbs the season following Sean Taylor’s death.
According to Clinton Portis and Santana Moss, Zorn quickly lost the Redskins locker room after making the completely reasonable decision to nix the team’s tradition of taking a shot of cognac before games…
Here is a clip of them talking about the pre-game shots. I would watch the whole interview though. It’s 45 minutes but it flies by pic.twitter.com/BxIiXGLyr0
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) December 5, 2017
“[Zorn] ruined that recovery trail,” Portis said referring to the team recovering after Taylor’s tragic death. “I think it’s known now — even if it’s not, I don’t give a damn; I’m grown — myself, Santana and Sean, prior to the game, we would take a little shot … [of] Henny, [cognac]. We were drinking Hennessy. Me, Santana and Sean, we did this for a year-and-a-half before anyone knew. It was never two, three- four shots… From that point, we did it every game…
“All of a sudden Coach Zorn comes in, and [says] ‘Oh, yeah, guys are taking sips for Sean.’ What?”
Moss said that Zorn pushing back against the pre-game tradition led to his downfall.
“It was something that we just did. We didn’t want it to be magnified. We didn’t want it to be about us, because we did and went out and played the game of football the way we know how to play…
“He just kind of lost a lot of us, you know. He said that and that kind of lost us together.”
Zorn lasted just two seasons as the Redskins head coach. He compiled a record of 12-20 over that time. Maybe it was a bad decision to stop players from slamming down pregame shots after all.