Dan Snyder, Vinnie Cerrato, Jim Zorn, and the Washington Redskins

If I were a Washington Redskins fan I would be disheartened at the recent decision to hire Jim Zorn as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. When will Dan Snyder figure out that he needs to hire experienced, knowledgeable football people to make football related decisions? Without going into the history of Snyder’s tenure as the Redskins owner, it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t really know what he is doing. The Redskins will be mired in mediocrity and be playoff has beens until the Redskins get somebody in the front office that knows how to run and manage a professional football team.

Frankly I was shocked that Greg Williams was not hired as the head coach. The media portrayed him as the head coach in waiting once Gibbs retired and the players supported his promotion to head coach. After the interviewing process dragged on and on it became pretty clear he was not going to get the job. I can’t blame Snyder at all for not wanting to hand the head coaching reins to Williams. Williams was a not a particularly successful head coach with the Buffalo Bills. And then during the Redskins game against the Buffalo Bills, after the unfortunate death of Sean Taylor, he left the free safety position empty on the first play of the game in tribute to Taylor. I thought that was a wonderful idea and a great move. It gave me goose bumps. But, bizarrely, he did not tell Coach Gibbs he was going to do it. That immediately showed that first, Williams is an arrogant jerk, and secondly that Gibbs really didn’t have control over the team. Can you imagine any head coach in the National Football League not being informed by his staff of something so significant?

The actions I find very odd on Snyder’s part is that after letting Williams go he hired an offensive coordinator (Jim Zorn), a defensive coordinator, and other coaches before hiring a head coach. Right or wrong, that is just not how it is done in the National Football League. Head coaches like to hire and put together their own staff to ensure that their football and team building philosophies mesh. No aspiring head coach would ever want to go into a situation where the staff is pretty much already in place and they can’t put their stamp on the team. Thus, Snyder was left with choosing between people who are desperate to get a head coaching job like Jim Fassel, or somebody like Zorn who was not even looking to be a head coach anywhere. By hiring a staff, Snyder was stuck with hiring lower echelon candidates. I was not surprised at all that Steve Spagnola, defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, declined the job.

And it’s not like Snyder has to fire his right hand man, Vinnie Cerrato to hire football people. Cerrato either doesn’t know what he is doing either, or he is just too afraid of Snyder to steer him in a different direction. Why not take the time to hire a head coach and then let the coach hire his staff?

Don’t get me wrong, I like Jim Zorn and he could turn out to be a wonderful head coach. But how can you hire a head coach when you are on the cusp of success whose top position has only been a quarterback coach, has no play calling experience on either side of the ball, and no experience running a team? The worst sign for me was when Zorn, at the press conference announcing his hiring, didn’t even know that the Redskins colors were burgundy and gold. That shows you that Zorn does not really understand the deep, historic mystique of this professional football franchise! This hiring is not a good sign for the franchise, less because of Jim Zorn, but more because Snyder continues to make decisions and run the team in a way that gets the least out of the talent on the field.


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