Jim Zorn Talks To Joe

January 19th, 2015
Former NFL QB and head coach Jim Zorn chats with Joe about quarterback development.

Former NFL QB and head coach Jim Zorn chats with Joe about quarterback development.

Anyone who watched the Bucs after Brad Johnson left the team knows this franchise needs a quarterback in the absolute worst way. Just look at the quarterbacks who played yesterday. They weren’t slappies that coaches are hiding behind a run game and a defense.

You think a journeyman quarterback, or some fraud naive fans like to tag with a “manager” label can engineer a comeback like Russell Wilson did yesterday? Yeah, right.

In the past few years, only two quarterbacks have entered the league and really shined. That would be two guys you watched yesterday, Andrew Luck and Wilson. The rest have struggled, or at best have been average starters.

This seems to be an alarming pattern and, with the Bucs holding the No. 1 overall pick and needing a quarterback worse than Joe needs a cold beer on a hot July Friday afternoon, Joe thought he would ask Jim Zorn what is going on with young quarterbacks.

Zorn, quarterback of the original Seahawks, who put together a decent career and later coached the Redskins, was coaching the East-West Shrine Game Saturday at the Fruitsome in St. Petersburg, where he and Joe talked quarterbacks.

JoeBucsFan: Outside of Andrew Luck, who is about as perfect of a quarterback as you can get, and Russell Wilson, whose only problem was the NFL sometimes gets too hung up on measurables, quarterbacks of late have really struggled coming into the NFL. Why do you think that is? Is that just cyclical?

Jim Zorn: I don’t think anything like that is cyclical. I just think that each young man comes in and tries to give his best and puts his best foot forward. In the NFL, some of that doesn’t fit and some does. There are some tremendous athletes coming out of the colleges as well. But, what is the formula? It’s all about the total person. When you look at a Russell Wilson, he has all the qualities you look for except that height. He overcomes that with so many other tremendous things. When you look at Aaron Rodgers, he got to sit for four years.

Joe: Just how important is that for a quarterback to be able to sit. You were a quarterback. You know.

Zorn: Well, [Rodgers] got to sit and some quarterbacks don’t sit and when you don’t sit, if you sputter and don’t put it all together, it makes everything hard. Russell came in, had some protection issues and could scramble and made good decisions. There was a huge difference there between him and some other quarterbacks coming into the league.

Joe: How much of [young quarterback struggles] is it that a pro-style offense in college is becoming rare. Everyone in college, it seems, is running a spread-option. That is night and day different than NFL offense. How much of that is hurting a quarterback’s ability to transfer into the NFL?

Zorn: It does hurt. In the NFL, you not only have to drop back, but you have to change protections and change plays. What was a surprise to me was that they have to call a play in the huddle. Now in a spread offense, the quarterback just looks to the sidelines. That’s a big difference, too.

Joe: Again, earlier you mentioned Rodgers sitting four years. That is a rarity today. A lot of times, an owner is impatient or wants to see his investment on the field. These guys are much more often than not thrown right into the fire. How valuable would it be for a rookie quarterback to just sit a year or two and learn?

Zorn: There is some value there if you have a QB you can sit behind, a veteran guy, and learn. If you don’t have that veteran guy, hey, you are the man. So, I would say this: It is not an exact science. One quarterback can come in and play well and another, it is awful. That is why it is so intriguing, right? It is what everybody loves, to try to figure out that intangible.

22 Responses to “Jim Zorn Talks To Joe”

  1. Phil Says:

    The problem for the Bucs is we can’t wait. Whoever we draft is going to need to play days one. That’s is one of the reasons we need to draft Jameis Winston. He is more ready for a pro style offense.

  2. Wausa Says:

    I agree.
    The Bucs are insane if they don’t hold the first selection and draft Jameis Winston.

  3. 87ForJameisNoMariota Says:

    Jim Zorn also played for the scab team Bucs during the NFL strike.

  4. JSmalls Says:

    So Rodgers success is due to him sitting a few years? Proof? Brady sat one year and Big Ben, Wilson, Brady, both Mannings, Luck, Tannihill, Carr and countless others started day one or within a year.

  5. JSmalls Says:

    Add Matty Ice, Cam and Brees to that list. We shouldn’t be worried if our rookie QB needs to start day one.

  6. Eric Says:

    Be nice if we had Favre and could let a guy sit.

    Doug also played his first year.

    I think fans can live with rookie mistakes provided we’re seeing the signs of greatness.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m OK if they choose Winston….and I’m also OK if we choose Mariota and sit him….with Mariota, we can use him in the Wildcat formation and bring him into the offense gradually…
    Here is the real question…..and I know everyone including me is down on McCown’s on field play….but could McCown be a good mentor/influence for Mariota?……I suspect he could be….there are many good QB coaches that weren’t great QBs….McCown has tons of NFL experience…..It would have to be “Do as I say, not do as I do?…..

  8. Wombat Says:

    I can’t believe Joe didn’t ask him which QB he would take in this years draft????

  9. Tom Edrington Says:

    It was an insult to the season ticket holders to let Mike Glennon sit behind the disaster that is Josh McCown…..

    …..so unless it’s the Joe(s) making the Bucs selection and they trade the No. 1 pick for Johnny Manziel…….the new guy would have to start…..

    OBW, Johnny Football was so bad he couldn’t displace the guy in front of him in Cleveland….which begs the question….could Johnny Football beat out Josh McCown…..????

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Joe probably asked and got a “no comment”…

  11. R.O. Says:

    Sorry. But Wilson did not engineer that comeback. He hit 2 passes that meant anything all game. Both vertical throws where he was able to actually setup and see the throw. Struggles with shorter drops in the pocket. Seahawks were lucky yesterday not good, and that’s how the saying goes.

  12. BigMacAttack Says:

    Eric, I would take Brett Favre tomorrow. He looks to be in great shape and is probably as healthy as he has been in years, but someone has to block for him. No Blocking = No Wins.

  13. Buc-O's 82 Says:

    Or got a QB that doesn’t necessarily one he is pushing for. Keep Glennon and start him to allow our new qb to be groomed on the sidelines.

  14. Bee Says:

    After watching those teams play yesterday, esp Seattle, this teams is a long was away from being that competitive. Neither one of our QBs could pull off that comeback that Wilson did. We need so much help. But it starts and ends at QB. Thats why Winston is the best choice. He’s played and most importantly won using a pro style offense. But the best thing is, Winston is clutch. Clutch in the championship game to win it all. You cant teach that. This team is years away but this year can be a huge stepping stone. Hopefully L&L will make better decisions this year.

  15. The only Buc fan in Montana Says:

    I am most comfortable with the idea of drafting Mariota, using Glennon as the bridge for a year, and wishful thinking, turning McCown into a QB coach. But, that might get us to 6-10 to 9-7 at best in 2015, IF the O-line is fixed. Can the fans stomach that if it buys 8-10 years of consistent success after that? Probably not, which means Winston will probably be our QB. As long as he keeps his nose clean and wins, so be it. I want continued success and signs of improvement for several years, not just one or two winning seasons and all of this BS again…

  16. OB Says:

    I would say we saw a QB that could start from day one in Jones of OSU, he came in and won the three games that he did with no experience and under great pressure.

    I don’t know if Winston or Mariota can do this but hopefully, Koetter will and he will select the right QB. Just don’t let Lovie near it.

  17. BucFan20 Says:

    Enough with the Andew Luck stuff. Is he good? Yes. Great No. He is not the silver bullett. 7 points. It Takes the team and they lost. Glennon did more in the come back in Pitt than Wilson did yesturday. The Seahawks won as a team an MS gave them the game with Lovie we dont need to score mine set. This team needs an and more. McCown is not the answer. You draft a QB all you want but he will not be the starter. They will most likely trade.

  18. Buccfan37 Says:

    Yeah Wilson led the comeback that should have never happened. The Packers blew the game by not recovering the onside kick. For the first time in my life I’m pulling for the Pats to win it all. I’m always NFC first. but Seattle winning two straight Super Bowls is just too much to suit my way of thinking.

  19. Danati74 Says:

    New Flash>>>We want Winston to start. Who will he sit behind? We want to start winning now. We the fans are tired of waiting. Stop drafting busts and signing busts. Great teams build thru the draft. Ive seen us waste picks like crazy. High Picks. Brian Price, Mark Barron, D. Bowers, A. Claybourne, and R. Miller. Lets go!!! Last year was not bad. Lets get Winston and some OL help. We have weapons in place. Winston won the Heisman early on, proving he can come in the college ranks and swoosh. Same can be done in NFL, he can make all the throws and in tight windows. Evans will be his K. Benjamin. Winston will be his Johnny Football. The end

  20. White Tiger Says:

    I think Lovie has more time than most – because he was hired to rebuild a decimated, directionless, franchise. If he selects a QB that will require sitting, he will…and while the pressure will definitely be on him (from the fans) to “win now” – I think the Glazers just want to get the franchise back on it’s foundation.

    That means hiring someone who doesn’t panic, who has enough self-disipline to trust the system, and who push to get better, but will not become a distraction while the franchise is being rebuilt.

    I don’t think any of my first two points will make you think of the name “Jameis Winston”. I’m sorry, I think the young man from FSU is loaded with talent. If he can go somewhere with a strong group of veterans who can help him pull his head out of his arse…he has the tools to eventually be a great QB.

    …but that place isn’t here. All we have here is a solid coaching staff that has set about reorganizing and re-building the foundation of the franchise…we have some veterans that can help “coach” or “mentor” a young player…but they’re on defense. What we have in Tampa is the SAME thing Jameis had in Tallahassee – and it didn’t work out so well…unless you don’t mind losing only the important games…

    That’s why it’s pretty obvious, the pick is going to be Marcus Mariota. The ONLY quarterback who is NFL Readt – from a psychological standpoint – that means ALREADY prepared to deal with both failure…but more importantly, success.

  21. tmaxcon Says:

    Glennon did not win the Pittsburgh game. Pittsburgh gave the game away with penalties. In addition they clearly were looking past the semi pro team lovie assembled.

  22. brett Says:

    too bad joe , Zorn didn’t bite on all those leading questions and say the words “jameis Winston”. maybe you’ll get what you want from the next interview.

    Don’t appreciate the implication here. You’re totally inaccurate. The interview stands on it’s own merit. Last offseason, Joe asked loads of NFL types like Zorn and other analysts about Mike Glennon. Joe delivered all of those responses uncensored, as well. –Joe