Tennessee Titans running backs coach Sherman Smith said Wednesday he is inclined to take the offensive coordinator’s job with the Washington Redskins, but that he would still have to pray and discuss the situation with his family before making a final decision.
Smith indicated he would talk with Titans coach Jeff Fisher sometime this morning and then make a final decision on the position offered by new Redskins coach Jim Zorn.
“My head says yes, but my heart hasn’t caught up with my head yet,” Smith said. “My heart’s still in Nashville, so I told him I was going to take some time and just continue to pray and see how I’m feeling. I still love the Tennessee Titans and the Nashville area.”
Smith, 53, was a teammate of Zorn’s in the fledgling days of the Seattle Seahawks, and the two have remained close friends ever since.
Smith said that Zorn offered him a contract as offensive coordinator shortly after he arrived in Washington on Tuesday afternoon.
“When I got there, we went out to dinner, and he handed me a contract and said, ‘Tell me what you think.’ I told him today that I’ll let him know something by tomorrow, and we talked about how it would work.”
Smith said he had no reservations from his meeting with Zorn about joining the Redskins organization.
“It’s a good situation to go into and learn from a guy that I definitely know and respect,” Smith said. “He’s disciplined, and he expects that from other guys. I love it. He’s talking about accountability, and I think that is great. That’s the different between 8-8 and getting in playoffs and moving forward.”
Smith and Zorn share more than just friendship and being former teammates and coaches as well. Smith said Zorn told him to let his faith be a guide in terms of whether or not to accept the job.
“He told me, ‘We’re both motivated to be Godly men. I know God has worked in my life in helping me get this job. What you’ve got to do is pray and see if you are supposed to be a part of this. There’s no pressure for you to say yes, but I think you’re the perfect guy for what I want to do.”
What Zorn wants to do is instill his version of the West Coast offense as the Redskins' passing attack, while keeping what the team was doing rushing-wise with Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts intact.
Smith indicated that is why Zorn has opted against an experienced coordinator who might want to call the plays. Zorn will call the plays in Washington, while Smith will work to get the game plan together during the week.
“It’s not just one guy that puts the game plan together. It’s entire offensive staff, and entire defense that puts the game plan in place,” Smith said. “We talked about how that would work. He’s got a plan about how it’s going to work with me being a coordinator but with Jim calling the plays.”
Smith also indicated that if he takes the job, he would have a veteran staff to work with that includes line coach Joe Bugel and newly hired running backs coach Stump Mitchell, who came with Zorn from Seattle.