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The Zorn Identity

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

If I could just convince Redskins tight end Chris Cooley to tone down his language a bit on his fantastic blog, The Cooley Zone, we might feature him every day. His entry on the Cowboys game was priceless Monday. He gave coach Jim Zorn (Z) a lot of credit for his pep talks leading up to the game:

"The night before the game we talked about two things," said Cooley. "The first point was that it was going to take an unbelievable effort by everyone to win the game. Z talked about 'jumping off.' He's reading a book about Kit Carson and his trip from Missouri to New Mexico in the early 1800s. When someone decided to leave Missouri for further west they were jumping off.

"This was crazy dangerous and took a huge leap of faith and commitment. I know it sounds way corny and it did to us the night before the game, but if you think about it, it was relevant to our situation. Jump off to beat the Cowboys. Maybe Z is the pep talk expert. I mean, before the New Orleans game the topic was 'be excellent.' A line from George Carlin in 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.'

"The second thing we said is that when we get back in the locker room after the game, we will know we could have won the game. Whether we won or not, we knew that the Cowboys were a team we could beat. Obviously, winning was a much better option for us."

How good is that? I'll try to remember to ask Redskins P.R. chief Zack Bolno which Kit Carson book Zorn was reading, but I think it's this one. It's interesting that a coach at the professional level puts so much thought into inspirational messages. I know Tom Coughlin loves talking to his players about books he's reading. I know he was reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about Abe Lincoln when he arrived in Albany for training camp.

Not sure if Tom saw "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," though. In one of the first speeches he gave during training camp, Zorn pulled down his jeans and told players how he didn't appreciate the "sag" look.

Jason Campbell told me that Zorn had players rolling in the aisles during his fashion talk. Zorn also went to the trouble of learning all the name brand jeans his players were wearing.

Of course, none of this works if you go out and lose games. But Zorn's willingness to show his human side has helped make this a relatively smooth transition.

Joe Gibbs is great and all, but I'm not sure he ever eased down his designer jeans to demonstrate the "sag" look.