As first reported by ESPN, the Baltimore Ravens parted ways with Quarterbacks Coach Jim Zorn Thursday.
Zorn was dismissed after just one season with the team. He had previously served as Head Coach of the Washington Redskins for two seasons.
Under Zorn, QB Joe Flacco improved (marginally) in almost all statistical categories.
In 2009 (with Hue Jackson still serving as QB Coach), Flacco threw for 3,613 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He averaged 7.2 yards per attempt and posted an 88.9 passer rating.
Under Zorn in 2010, Flacco threw for 3,622 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He averaged 7.4 yards per attempt and posted a 93.6 passer rating.
Flacco’s completion percentage actually went down to 62.6% in 2010, from 63.1% in 2009.
Flacco was the only quarterback to play under Zorn in Charm City, as veteran backup Marc Bulger never saw the field. Hunter Cantwell was never activated from the practice squad, John Beck was traded to the Redskins in Training Camp and Troy Smith was released before the start of the season.
Zorn’s dismissal came just ten days after Head Coach John Harbaugh proclaimed intentions to keep his coaching staff in tact.
“I really like our coaching staff” said Harbaugh following the end of the regular season. “I think we have a great, great coaching staff. Top to bottom-that includes all three coordinators, that includes every one of our position coaches, there’s not a guy that I’m disappointed in.”
Since that time, Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison departed for the University of Michigan and was replaced by Secondary Coach Chuck Pagano. Pagano is set to be replaced by University of Florida Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin. Offensive Line Coach John Matsko was fired, he was replaced by O-Line Assistant Andy Moeller. Senior Offensive Assistant Al Suanders accepted the Offensive Coordinator position under new Head Coach Jackson with the Oakland Raiders.
Zorn reportedly had a lengthy meeting with Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron earlier this week regarding the offensive direction of the team and the development of Flacco. He did not travel with the team’s other assistants to Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl.
Zorn had been previously linked to Offensive Coordinator openings with the Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns. Saunders was hired in Oakland, the Seahawks hired Darrell Bevell, but there remains an opening in Cleveland.
The Ravens have decided that Cameron and Offensive Assistant Craig Ver Steeg will split QB coaching duties moving forward.
“We’ve talked about this since the end of the season, and we believe this will help improve our offense,” said Harbaugh in a statement. “Cam is noted for his development of quarterbacks, and that includes Flacco and Pro Bowl players like Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. Cam is excited about this change and is looking forward to it.”
Ver Steeg came to the Ravens in Harbaugh’s first season (2008) and has five seasons of coaching experience in the National Football League. He has QB Coaching and Offensive Coordinator experience in his career-which has included stops with the Chicago Bears as well as college stops at USC, Utah, Illinois, Harvard, Cincinnati and Rutgers.
Remaining on the Ravens’ offensive staff are Running Backs coach Wilbert Montgomery, Tight Ends Coach Wade Harman, Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler and Offensive Assistant Jason Brooks.