Jim Zorn Beats Out Al Saunders In Baltimore

The Baltimore Ravens have hired Jim Zorn as their quarterbacks coach.  He got the nod over former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders.

Zorn, 56, was fired by Washington Redskins on Jan. 4 after a disastrous second season as their head coach.  The Ravens, though, were overwhelmed by his experience: 11 seasons as an NFL quarterback, 11 seasons as a respected NFL quarterbacks coach and a familiarity with their offense.

“That’s a great resume for us,” Harbaugh said.

Zorn’s primary goal is to continue the development of Joe Flacco into an elite franchise quarterback.  He becomes only the second quarterbacks coach for Flacco, replacing Hue Jackson (who joined the Oakland Raiders as their offensive coordinator Tuesday).

Although he took heavy criticism as the Redskins’ head coach, Zorn is a highly regarded mentor for young quarterbacks.

As the Detroit Lions’ quarterbacks coach in 1998, he was instrumental in helping rookie Charlie Batch adjust to the NFL.  Batch’s 88.3 passer rating that season ranks as the fourth-highest rookie mark in NFL history.

Three years later, Zorn was pivotal in the growth of Matt Hasselbeck as the Seattle Seahawks’ quarterbacks coach from 2001 to 2007.  With Zorn, Hasselbeck went to three Pro Bowls and set 12 franchise records.

As I said last week when Jackson left for the Raiders, it was going to be tough for Saunders to beat out Zorn.  The former Redskins coach got killed by the local and national media during his time in Washington, but he has a fantastic resume.

There has been no official word, though I imagine Saunders will stay on with the Ravens as a senior consultant.  Would still be great to see him get a bigger job in the league sooner rather than later.

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