From Indianapolis, Indiana
Even though he was the man who sent Jim Zorn to the unemployment line, Baltimore Ravens head coach Jim Harbaugh said that Chiefs QB Matt Cassel will enjoy his new position coach.
Zorn was hired two weeks ago by Chiefs head coach Todd Haley to serve as the team’s quarterback coach.
“Matt Cassel will love Jim Zorn,” said Harbaugh as he talked to the media at the NFL Combine being held at Lucas Oil Stadium. “His background as a guy who played the game and played that position gives him the chance to really connect with quarterbacks.”
The week after Baltimore’s season ended with a loss to Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game Harbaugh fired Zorn, a decision that did not sit well with his young QB Joe Flacco. And the second-year quarterback made it very clear both privately and publicly that he was unhappy.
Harbaugh said he had no problems with Flacco expressing himself. ”Joe is a leader, Joe said the same thing to me,” Harbaugh said. “Joe and I share that respect for Jim Zorn. Jim is a great coach and a great guy. For Joe to come out and say that publicly, I think it says a lot about Joe. It says a lot about what kind of person he is. He’s got everybody’s back. He’s got Jim’s back. He’s got all our backs. And we have his back. And that’s what it should be about.
“Joe and I spent a lot of time talking about it in the week-and-a-half leading up to that, trying to find the best way to make it work. I took into account absolutely what Joe felt. But in the end you have to go with what you think is right and Joe understands that and we’re all going to make it work.”
Flacco said back in January: “I’m not happy about it; they know that I’m not happy about it. It’s not news to them. They know I’m not happy about it, and my feelings aren’t going to change. I’m not going to be happy about it, for a long time. I also feel like a little bit like I’m being attacked. Usually when you fire a position coach, it’s because you’re not really happy with how that position did. And when I look back on my season and our season as a team, I mean, we won 13 games. I felt like I had a pretty good year and you’re firing the quarterback coach? It’s kind of an attack on me, I feel like. You know, it is what it is. It’s not that big of a deal for me to feel like it.”
As Todd Haley said this week, he thinks the addition of Zorn will be a big help for Cassel in making the next step up the NFL starting QB ladder. “He’ll be coached by someone who has been there, whether it’s in the huddle or in the pocket,” Haley said. “I think it is perfect timing for where Matt is at this point in his career.”
“I think Jim will be great with Cassel because he’s a guy that played the position and Jim is one of the great technique coaches, moving around the pocket and buy time and understanding how to attack defenses,” Harbaugh said.
“I love Jim Zorn. I think he’ll do a good job. He’s a very good coach and I think they’ll (Haley and Cassel) come to understand how much he can provide them and help Matt grow.”