Redskins players react positively to Zorn hiring

KO OLINA, Hawaii -- When tight end Chris Cooley and long snapper Ethan Albright, two of the three Washington Redskins' Pro Bowl representatives, learned of the hiring of Jim Zorn as their new head coach Saturday, the first person they tracked down was Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

"I think he's going to be an excellent coach," said Hasselbeck, who had worked closely with Zorn since 2001, when Zorn became Seattle's quarterbacks coach. "But I told the guys here (in Hawaii) they better expect to work."

Cooley and Albright both appeared genuinely excited about Zorn replacing Joe Gibbs as their head coach. Albright heard the news while sitting poolside with his 2-year-old son at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa. Cooley heard shortly thereafter.

"Things I've heard is that he's a players' coach, an excellent teacher," said Albright. "Some coaches have it all up here (in the head) but can't get it across to the players. He's very good at communicating. He's very good at getting his ideas across to his players."

Added Cooley: "Personally, I was actually excited because it was someone that was already involved. It was someone they were obviously happy with as the offensive coordinator. I think it's a good decision for us."

Cooley had the chance to have a long discussion with Zorn by phone when the Redskins hired Zorn as their offensive coordinator Jan. 26.

"It was kind of like a get-to-know-you conversation," Cooley said. "He was hired as the offensive coordinator, so obviously we're going to be spending a lot of time together. We talked a lot about our backgrounds. And I really enjoyed our conversation."

Zorn was instrumental in turning Hasselbeck into a Pro Bowl quarterback. Hasselbeck said he expects improvement from Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell, who has been an inconsistent player since becoming the starter in Washington midway through the 2006 season.

But Hasselbeck warns Redskins fans not to expect Campbell to turn into a Pro Bowl player overnight.

"When he first started working with me, we went back to Day 1 with fundamentals -- from center-quarterback exchange, to how to throw footballs, to how you talk in the huddle," Hasselbeck said. "He talked about everything. And it's hard. It's not easy to change from what you've been doing for such a long time."

Zorn becomes the fourth quarterbacks coach under Mike Holmgren to become an NFL head coach. Previously in Green Bay, Steve Mariucci, Andy Reid and Jon Gruden all worked with the quarterbacks under Holmgren.

Hasselbeck believes Zorn is more than prepared for the task he inherits in Washington because of how Holmgren has prepared him.

"Mike's style is that he coaches his coaches. He makes them leaders, creative guys," Hasselbeck said. "He expects his position coaches to coach the players, and he allows those guys to flourish and grow.

"And he's hard on his coaches, very, very demanding. He's demanding of his players, but even more demanding of his coaches."

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