NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Zorn reins in the praise for Colt
ASHBURN, Va. » With the preseason more than half over, it's become quite clear that there is no need to read between the lines when listening to Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn evaluate a game. He tells it like it is and isn't afraid to needle anybody, but does so with such an upbeat attitude that even the players getting picked on are probably chuckling along.
"I just don't want to splash the water on him yet, you know what I mean? ... Remember we were talking differently last week after the Buffalo game: 'Oh, Colt came down to Earth.' Well, now he's in outer space again."|
Redskins coach, on former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan
Take quarterback Colt Brennan, the sixth-round pick from Hawaii who threw the winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's 13-10 victory over the New York Jets. Brennan has put up impressive numbers in two of three games - helping the Redskins to a 3-0 start - and some of the faithful are ready to anoint him as The Next Great Thing.
Zorn's message yesterday: Get real. Delivered in much nicer words, of course, and accompanied by a smile.
"I just don't want to splash the water on him yet, you know what I mean?" Zorn said. "Here's the thing: He's had great vision, he's made some heads-up plays, and we've had success. I really like all that. Maybe I want more, but I want better technique. I want him to use the kind of techniques that are going to take him further down the road. Remember we were talking differently last week after the Buffalo game: 'Oh, Colt came down to Earth.' Well, now he's in outer space again."
Translation: Brennan, destined to spend the season as the third-string quarterback, is a raw rookie who would probably be pummeled to bits if he were to play against a good starting defense.
"From my standpoint, I think he's doing OK," Zorn said. "He's having fun, but there's a lot more distance that he has to go. He shouldn't be strutting his stuff."
Lions 27, Bengals 10
CINCINNATI » Suddenly, Cincinnati needs help on offense.
Pro Bowl receiver Chad Johnson strained his left shoulder last night during Detroit's victory over the Bengals, who now have their top two receivers and their starting tailback limited by injuries.
Johnson landed awkwardly on his left side after cornerback Brian Kelly intercepted a pass thrown his way on Cincinnati's first series. He rolled on the field in pain for several seconds, then went to the locker room for an examination. He did not return.
Coach Marvin Lewis said the shoulder popped out and back into place on the field. Medical tests found no fracture.
"I think he should be ready by the opener," Lewis said.
The Bengals already were missing Pro Bowl receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh and running back Rudi Johnson.
Buccaneers 27, Patriots 10
TAMPA, Fla. » No Tom Brady equals little offense for New England this preseason.
With the 2007 MVP sitting out for the second straight week, the defending AFC champions sputtered with backup Matt Cassel running the show in a loss to Tampa Bay.
Brady didn't make the trip to Tampa, reportedly remaining home to rest a sore foot, and Cassel had limited success moving the ball against a feisty Bucs defense.