Updated Jan. 4, 2009 @ 8:50 a.m. ET
The Redskins fired head coach Jim Zorn early Monday morning after their return from Sunday's game in San Diego, Redskins GM Bruce Allen confirmed Monday morning.
Allen said his three-week game and preparation observations made the decision clear.
"The status quo is not acceptable," Allen said. "I felt it was necessary to not waste a moment of time building this team into a winner."
Allen will hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. EST Monday to discuss the decision to fire Zorn. It isn't known whether a successor will be named at that time.
According to the initial reports by Washington TV stations WUSA and WRC, Zorn arrived at Redskins Park directly from the airport, ahead of the team buses, at approximately 2:15 a.m. He was escorted to his car by team security 2½ hours later, talking on his cell phone as he drove away from the park.
Zorn's firing had been rumored for weeks, as the team finished a disappointing 4-12. In his two seasons as head coach, Zorn was 12-20, including a 6-18 mark in his last 24 games.
Owner Daniel Snyder and Allen figure to name a successor as early as Monday, with former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan considered a heavy favorite.
Having interviewed secondary coach Jerry Gray, the Redskins are believed to have complied with the Rooney Rule, which requires that a team interview a minority candidate before hiring a head coach. Gray is African American. The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which oversees the adherence to the Rooney Rule, said last month that the Redskins' interview of Gray put the team in compliance with the rule and that no further interviews would be necessary.
The Redskins have only two playoff appearances to their credit during the past 10 seasons.
"This has been an extremely difficult season for our organization and for the fans," Snyder said in a statement released by the team Monday morning. "Bruce Allen spent many hours examining the football operations, and we are both determined to do whatever it takes to build a championship team. That process begins today. … No one in the organization is satisfied with our record over the last two years, and I am sure that Jim would concur with that statement. It has been painful for him too. I certainly accept responsibility for mistakes that I have made. I am hopeful that our fans will accept my commitment and pledge to deliver a franchise that can compete in the NFC East every season. … Finally, I am mindful that this is a tough day for Jim and his family, and I do want to wish him success in his next endeavor."