City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Will the Third Coming of Joe Gibbs Keep You from Wearing a Bag?

In case you missed it: For the malnourished print edition, now available in several dozen boxes around the metroplex, I reminisce about the Day Dan Snyder Tried Crushing the Message.

Redskins security seized anti-Snyder paraphernalia at the FedExField gates before the Tampa Bay game a few weeks ago, without any honorable explanation for the seizures. The guards' heavy-handed tactics kept shots of bags on people's heads and "Snyder Sucks!" posters off the Fox airwaves for a few hours on that Sunday afternoon, but Snyder's strategy has otherwise totally backfired. Those whose agit-prop props were taken by Snyder's jack-booted thugs or otherwise censored got really motivated, and are now among the leaders of some very organized campaigns to demonstrate against the Dan Snyder Administration on a much bigger stage: "Monday Night Football."

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The Third Coming? Mike Florio, the one-man TMZ of the NFL, rumors that Joe Gibbs will return to the Redskins to save Dan Snyder again.

The Gibbs rumors might take some steam off Snyder for yesterday's Steve Largent blasts. Largent, a former U.S. Congressman (awesome trivia about Largent: he lost his last election because Oklahoma voters were outraged by his stance against... cockfighting!), told a Seattle radio audience that Snyder is humiliating his buddy and onetime Seahawks teammate simply to avoid paying him the $6 million remaining on the head coach's contract. Largent says Zorn told him that Skins officials, presumably meaning either Vinny Cerrato or/and Dan Snyder, tried bullying Zorn into quitting by waving a copy of his contract in his face, and repeating the clauses that state that wholesale subservience is required or the team can fire him for cause. That sounds unbelievable, unless you've heard several dozen similar accounts of bizarre and mean behavior from Snyder from former employees.

Snyder was seen yesterday at practice talking to Zorn. Standing side by side, Snyder came up to Zorn's sternum. You know Zorn would like to go to the top of the boss' head with an elbow drop. But in his press conference after practice, Zorn simply said, "I have to hold back on any feelings."

God god. Forget a new set of eyes. Jim Zorn needs to grow a new set of balls.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Doc Walker puts a happy face on Skins' budding playcalling disaster? Sherm Lewis looks like Chief Zee without the headgear? Sam Elliott shills for horse racing? Horse racing leads to domestic bliss? Where's Karl Swanson when you need him?)

Zorn should tell the world what it already knows: He's being treated like dirt by a bunch of loser fools just so they can save a few million bucks. Snyder's putting a hurt on Zorn's image that he ain't going to recover from.

On Snyder's sportstalk station yesterday afternoon, Rick Walker tried to put a positive spin on the Skins' switch to a new play caller during a spot on John Thompson's show. Walker, calling in from Redskins Park, said the mood at practice was upbeat, that everybody in the organization was down with the plan to let Sherman Lewis take over Jim Zorn's game-day responsibilities, and basically insinuated that everything about the Redskins was suddenly just peachy.

Then John Thompson stopped the peachiness with a simple question: What's Jim Zorn's role going to be come kickoff against the Eagles on Monday?

Walker hemmed and came up with "clock management," then he hawed some more. And then Walker hemmed some more. Then, he told it like it was: "I don't know!"

Nobody knows what Zorn will be doing. At Fox-5 last night, sportscaster Lindsey Murphy reported that Jim Zorn "will be involved in the pass protection.". WUSA's Brett Haber said Lewis will only be able to call "a type of play," and not make actual play calls, because he's not familiar enough with the Skins playbook. Wowee. Now the Skins are saying that Sherm Lewis's playcalls will be filtered through Sherm Smith, not even Zorn. And he's the head coach?

Why not just make Zorn sell beer in the FedEx bathrooms? Get your bingo jokes ready, people. This is gonna be a disaster.

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Walking around practice in a burgundy Redskins sweatsuit, Sherman Lewis sure looked like Chief Zee minus the headdress.

Speaking of: In chronicling how the Washington Post grounded and pounded on Dan Snyder in every section of the paper yesterday, I neglected to mention that Courtland Milloy held court for Metro with an assault on Chief Zee. The timing does seem odd.

But damn if Chief Zee isn't the most racist mascot in pro sports. There's nothing else even close.

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Speaking of geldings... Shocker of shockers: Somebody's marketing horse racing to the masses! Laurel Park has been running commercials on Dan Snyder's sports station for this weekend's DeFrancis Dash.

The spots feature a voiceover that sure sounds like the great Sam Elliott, telling a tale about a father/son relationship enhanced by days at the racetrack.

Sure, the track has torn apart a whole lot more families than it's helped, but, it's still fabulous to hear any mention of racing in the mainstream media.

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I was wondering whatever happened to Karl Swanson. I'd reached out to the Redskins top PR man a lot lately. But, no return calls. No return emails. Not even a "no comment"! But I wasn't taking it personally: These are tough PR times for the Redskins, what with the organization all messy and beer being sold in the bathrooms, but "Karl Swanson" wasn't even getting any hits in Google news. So I called and emailed Swanson yet again just to find out if he was still with the team.

And at long last, Swanson responded yesterday! He's still on the job. Swanson gave no explanation for the radio silence.

Maybe it's me.

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Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

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