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


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.