I don't know whether or not Jim Zorn will be back to coach the Washington Redskins in 2010 (and, yes, I know that I'm in a distinct minority in that belief).
I am nearly certain that if Zorn does return he will need to find a new defensive coordinator. The chances of Greg Blache filling that position next year were slim and none and slim left Redskins Park this afternoon.
It was announced today that Blache would no longer answer questions from the media. NFL rules require that coordinators speak with the press at least once a week. The Redskins got permission to skirt that rule by having Blache make an opening statement and then having secondary coach Jerry Gray answer the questions. That arrangement will continue throughout the rest of the season.
The league issued a statement saying, "Coach Zorn explained the situation and we granted approval. Jerry Gray will speak to the media about the defense."
According to Zorn, the arrangement was made for "personal reasons" and that Blache "needed a break" from dealing with the media.
I'm not quite sure what he needs a break from. It's 10 or 15 minutes once a week. The Redskins press corps is fairly tough but far from unreasonable. It's not like he's getting grilled week after week. Other coaches face far worse questioning.
If he needs a break from the weekly "15 minutes of hell" that tells me that he's done. Burned out. Stick a fork in him. It's apparent that he can't take the heat so he's going to get out of the kitchen.
Remember that Blache was going to retire after Joe Gibbs left. Dan Snyder persuaded him to stick around and replace Gregg Williams as the defensive coordinator. Once you make a decision like that at his age (60) you might decide to go back on it for a year or two but it's not a long-term deal.
One might have seen this coming during the preseason when Blache picked a fight with Trevor Matich on Comcast Sports Net. Matich's query about the pass rush was quite rational and there was no reason for Blache to get defensive. At the time it seemed odd to me and looking back at it now it seems to be foreshadowing.
It seems that the only question left to answer is whether Zorn, or whoever the new coach is, will be able to pick his own defensive coordinator.
Update: At 5:21, Ryan O'Halloran reported that he had just seen Blache getting into his car and leaving the facility. Barring some sort of illness or a personal emergency--certainly possibilities--working Spurrier-like hours is not a good sign.