Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley left the door open for further staff additions during offensive coordinator Bill Muir’s introductory teleconference 12 days ago. That possibility became a reality when Jim Zorn flew to Kansas City this morning and inked a contract to become the Chiefs next quarterbacks coach.
The addition of Zorn gives the Chiefs a tenured quarterbacks coach with unequivocal responsibility for the continued development
“We are excited to finalize our coaching staff today with the addition of Jim Zorn,” Haley said. “As a former head coach with more than two decades of experience playing and coaching the quarterback position in the NFL, Jim has a tremendous working knowledge of the game, and he will play a big role in the continued development of our football team.”
A former NFL signal caller and 23-year coaching veteran, Zorn has worked with quarterbacks his entire professional career and received positive reviews from each of the quarterbacks that he’s tutored along the way.
Last season, Zorn served as quarterbacks coach in Baltimore and guided QB Joe Flacco to the best season of his three-year NFL career. Flacco passed for a career-high 3,622 yards and tossed 25 TDs. He also posted a 103.4 quarterback rating over Baltimore’s final 14 games to rank as the NFL’s second-best passer over that timeframe.
It wasn’t any coincidence that the Ravens posted an 11-3 record in those final 14 contests.
Flacco’s breakout season completed a three-franchise sweep for Zorn. In each of his last three NFL coaching stops (Seattle, Washington and Baltimore) Zorn has guided a starting quarterback to a career season.
In 2007, Zorn tutored Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck to a franchise-record 3,966 passing yards and left Hasselbeck as that franchise’s most-efficient passer. Hasselbeck is the only Seahawks quarterback to pass for 3,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons since Zorn did so as a player from 1978-80. Hasselbeck also set single-season marks for completions (352), touchdowns (28) and passer rating (91.4) in 2007.
In addition to his specialty in directing quarterback play, Zorn also adds more head coaching experience to Kansas City’s staff, having served as Washington’s head coach from 2008-09.
During Zorn’s time in Washington, QB Jason Campbell posted the two best seasons of his five-year NFL career, throwing for a career-high 3,618 yards and a career-best 20 TDs in 2009.
In his first stop as an NFL quarterbacks coach, Zorn helped Lions rookie QB Charlie Batch post an 88.3 passer rating.
Unlike many of the Kansas City’s previous staff additions, Zorn and Haley have no previous ties to one another. But while the two have never coached on the same sideline, the pair does seem to carry the same vision when it comes to directing effective quarterback play.
Throughout his tenure in Washington, Zorn described his coaching approach as “constant and consistent.” Zorn’s head coaching philosophy centered on his teams playing smart, steady, mistake-free football. Each of those aspects has been a point of emphasis under Haley in Kansas City.
Zorn’s hiring signals a shift in staff structure as Zorn is the first Kansas City assistant to carry a “quarterbacks” title since Haley took over as head coach in 2009.
Throughout Haley’s head coaching tenure, the primary responsibility for directing quarterback play has fallen on the shoulders of the offensive coordinator. Chan Gailey, Charlie Weis and Haley himself have all had previous success working with quarterbacks at the NFL level.
Those duties shifted this off-season with the promotion of Muir to offensive coordinator.
With Muir’s expertise coming in offensive line play, the need for a proven and experienced quarterbacks coach became a priority. Zorn clearly fills that void.
As a player, Zorn made 106 starts over an 11-year playing career (1976-84) completing 1,669 passes for 21,115 yards with 111 TDs. Nine of those seasons came in Seattle (1976-84) where Zorn entered the league undrafted.
The Jim Zorn File
2011: Kansas City Chiefs – Quarterbacks
2010: Baltimore Ravens - Quarterbacks
2008-09: Washington Redskins – Head Coach
2000-07: Seattle Seahawks – Quarterbacks
1998-00: Detroit Lions – Quarterbacks
1997: Seattle Seahawks – Offensive Assistant
1995-96: University of Minnesota – Quarterbacks
1992-94: Utah State – Offensive Coordinator
1989-91: Boise State – Quarterbacks (1989-90); Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers (1991)
1976-87: NFL Quarterback (Seattle, 1976-84; Green Bay, 1985; Tampa Bay, 1987)