Vinnie Cerrato Out and Bruce Allen In: Has Dan Snyder Learned Anything?

With the announcement that the comically incompetent Vinnie Cerrato is finally out of the picture as the Washington Redskins de facto general manager, the Redskins are now going in a new direction. Or are they?

Bruce Allen has been formally named the General Manager. Dan Snyder has finally hired a football guy to run the football team. And certainly in the near term there will be a lot of changes taking place within the organization, with the first order of business hiring a new head coach.

But the real question is, will Dan Snyder quit his meddling ways and let the football people run the football team while he handles the business side of the operation, which he is brilliant at? I for one will be very interested to see what happens in the long run. I have not heard one good thing about what it’s like to work for Dan Snyder and the Redskins. In fact, all I hear is what an awful meddler he is. My prediction is that Danny boy will find a way to ruin the team again, somehow. He just can’t resist the urge.

Look at what he is has done so far. He gave Marty Schottenheimer one year after Schottenheimer turned the team around with a bare cupboard as far as players were concerned. He fell in love with Steve Spurrier who turned out to be an atrocious pro football coach, trying to turn retread, failed pro quarterbacks from the University of Florida, Danny Wuerfful and Shane Matthews, into pass happy starting quarterbacks. Ditto with the lousy receivers he brought.

He then tried to resurrect Joe Gibbs, who sadly did not seem to have real control of the team or the organization, which turned into a brief flash of promise but ultimately failure.

And worse, after Gibbs retires Snyder and Cerrato hire offensive and defensive coordinators and THEN try to hire a head coach. What self respecting, top notch head coaching candidate is going to come in when he can’t hire his own team of coaches who fit his philosophy? None. So they end up stuck with an obviously over his head Jim Zorn.

I would say that Snyder has lost two years in rebuilding the Redskins into a perennial contender with the Zorn experiment. But in fact he’s lost a decade, through poor hiring, and constantly trying to buy a team by overpaying big name veterans like Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jason Taylor, and Albert Haynesworth to big contracts. All these players did not live up to their contracts, but of course Haynesworth is an unknown. He’s been hurt much of the year.

In this decade the Redskins have had five head coaches. How can any team gain continuity with five head coaches in a ten year span?

What will happen in the long term is anyone’s guess. If Snyder lets Bruce Allen do his job, the Redskins will probably turn itself into a playoff contender within the next three to five years, or even sooner if Allen is shrewd enough. Allen himself has somewhat of a mixed record, being mostly on the business side in Oakland, and being fired in Tampa Bay after he helped build the team into a contender that fell on its face last year.

But continuity is necessary for the Redskins to be successful. I, for one, doubt Snyder will be patient enough to let it happen.

Jim Zorn Should Resign

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Jim Zorn Faces Bleak Season

The dysfunctional mess that is the 2009 Washington Redskins has been well documented in the Washington, D.C. press. And all the fingers are, rightfully, pointing to owner Dan Snyder and his right hand hatchet man Vinnie Cerrato. Snyder has made a laughingstock of the franchise by trying to buy a team every year by signing aging, big name free agents who never pan out, perennially bad draft choices, refusing to hire a football savvy general manager, and constantly switching coaches.

And now this. Jim Zorn, who I do believe is in over his head as a head coach, has been utterly undermined and humiliated by Snyder and Cerrato. First, they brought in Sherman Lewis, who has been out of football for six years, as an “offensive consultant,” essentially saying they did not have confidence in Zorn in his role as offensive play caller.

Then, they strip Zorn of his play calling duties and hand it to Sherman Lewis, their handpicked so called offensive savior, not Zorn’s. This move completely undermined any credibility Zorn had with the players and makes him a lame duck head coach. Such a move ratcheted up the message that Snyder and Cerrato have no faith in Jim Zorn as a head coach, despite what they may say publically. And it is abundantly clear that Zorn, if he makes it through the season without being let go, will certainly not be back as the head coach of the Redskins next year.

Add to this the clear back and forth between Zorn and Cerrato in the press after the loss to the Eagles, with Cerrato saying the playing calling helped the offense, which is a total joke, and Zorn essentially saying the opposite. And then Zorn’s statement that he actually interceded and called the play that lead to the Redskins last touchdown smacked a bit of insubordination, or at least a poke in the eye at Snyder and Cerrato. Zorn clearly could not be happy with the situation he finds himself in.

And with that, the Redskins players, who already look anemic and at half speed on offense, have no real motivation to try to finish out the season playing hard. What for? The coach is neutered and no longer the leader of the team, and whatever new regime comes in next year will start refresh evaluating talent and reshaping the roster. The players are already squabbling among themselves, especially running back Clinton Portis, who seems to have something to whine about every year.

Jim Zorn should simply resign. He is the head coach in name only. He has been humiliated, demoted, and stripped of any leadership authority he had with the players. He would not be pulling a punk move like Bobby Petrino when he left the Atlanta Falcons in the lurch. He has very legitimate and clear reasons to resign – and that is the owner has clearly showed no confidence in him, he has been stripped of many of the decision making prerogatives of a head coach, and he clearly won’t be back next year.

The Redskins are in a bye week which would be the perfect time for Jim Zorn to step down and save face.  He would be giving up a lot of money because Snyder wouldn’t have to pay him the rest of his contract.  But would Zorn rather have the money or his dignity?

And he would not be quitting on the team.  The team, both the players and management, have already quit on him.

Washington Redskins Sign Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall to Big Deals

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I am not at all a fan of Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins.  I have always found it funny how when he first bought the team, he also tried to buy a team.  It never quite worked out. 

Now Danny boy has shelled out a $100 million contract to the best defense tackle in football in Albert Haynesworth, and another $54 million to cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

Was this a smart move?  I’m not sure.  Without a doubt these signings make the Redskins a very formidable defensive team next year.  The question will be, now that Haynesworth is fat and happy, in more ways than one, will he continue to put up the kind of effort that made him one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL last year?  This guy has a lot of emotional baggage so I am not so sure.  If he does, he will make Jason Taylor relevant again.  Taylor looked to be on his last leg, literally, last year.  Even before he was injured he was not creating the kind of pressure on the quarterback that the Redskins were hoping for.  By taking up multiple blockers on the line of scrimmage, Haynesworth could have a big impact on not just Taylor’s performance but the entire defense.

I have always liked DeAngelo Hall, even though he too is a bit of a head case.  During his years in Atlanta I considered him one of the top cornerbacks in the league, even though he didn’t always get the recognition he deserved.  In Oakland he was often criticized for being undisciplined and out of position.  As a nickel and dime defense back for the Redskins last year I thought he was a real difference maker.  Hall has the potential to be a very solid starter for the Redskins next year.  And he has always had a nose for the ball and turnovers.  With Haynesworth on the line helping get pressure on the quarterback will just make Hall and the rest of the defensive backs even better.

If Haynesworth plays like he did last year, the Redskins should have one of the best defenses in the league next year.

But what about the offense?  With that kind of money doled out to the defensive side of the ball that does not leave a lot of room for signing impact offensive players. And offense is where the Redskins need the most help.

First it’s clear that Jason Campbell is the man at quarterback.  But I am starting to believe that Campbell is just not going to progress a lot further than he is now.  He is, at best, an average quarterback.  Yes, I know the offensive line did not play well and his receivers let him down.  But that gets to my next point.

If Campbell is going to succeed at quarterback he needs two things, better protection at the line of scrimmage and better receivers.  As much as I love Santana Moss, the last two years he’s only showed flashes of being the big play receiver he once was and has constantly battled hamstring injuries.  I am starting to wonder if his better days are behind him.  I have never considered Antwan Randle-el more than a number three receiver.  And the Redskins draft picks at receiver and tight end last year, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, and Fred Davis were all but useless last year.  Thomas has potential but seems lazy and doesn’t get it.  Kelly I think will be a bust.  And Davis could be a solid contributor, but again, all these guys seem to be real slackers.

Then you have the aging Chris Samuels who is not nearly as good as he was a few years ago and should retire soon.  Jon Jansen is always hurt and I suspect will be cut.  Stephon Heyer, the young left tackle out of Maryland, was benched and the struggled in the last half of the season.  The offensive line needs some help.

And finally, while Clinton Portis is an excellent running back and the best offensive player on the team he always ends up dinged up and less effective at the end of the year.  The Redskins need to find a back that can reduce the workload for Portis to keep him fresh throughout the season.

So what do I expect from the Redskins next year?  An excellent defense that keeps them in games and a streaky offense that just might let them get into the playoffs.  But I don’t expect big things from the team as a whole because I just don’t see the offense being good enough or consistent enough to carry them much beyond one playoff game.

But if the Redskins’ history under Snyder continues, Haynesworth will tank it while enjoying his new found riches and the Redskins will be sitting at home in the postseason, as usual.