Browsing all articles tagged with Vinny Cerrato

Christmas comes early for the Redskins

Whether you were on your morning commute, at your workplace, or just getting out of bed, the news spread like wildfire: “Vinny Cerrato is out”.  Vinny Cerrato resigned this morning as Vice President of the Washington Redskins this morning.  I probably got four texts from fellow Redskins fans announcing an early Christmas present.  Dan Snyder has also  taken a reach back to the past and has connected someone very familiar with a winning Redskins legacy by hiring Bruce Allen (son of former Redskins coach George Allen) as his new man in command.

At first I was skeptical, as most Skins fans are with such a bold move during the regular season.  But this seems to be a serious move by Snyder.  Mr. Allen was in Tampa with Jon Gruden and is credited with putting that Super Bowl winning team together ( led by former Skin  Brad Johnson).  Other than that I was unaware of his personnel prowess but the press release by the Redskins outlines it well:

  • From 1995 to 2004 Allen was the GM with the Oakland Raiders
  • “he was part of three AFC West Championships, two appearances in the AFC Championship game and a berth in Super Bowl XXXVII”
  • From 2004 to 2008 Allen was GM with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • 2005 and 2007  the Buccaneers were AFC South Championships

Questions Arise

Here’s the situation though, will Snyder step back and let George Allen do what he’s supposed to do?

Does this mean that Jon Gruden is automatically the leading candidate for hire for the Redskins Head Coach next year?

Will Allen give Jim Zorn a fair evaluation for the improved play of the team during these last few weeks.

Your Thoughts

Do you like this hire?

Same old story different name?


Dan Steinberg remembers Vinny’s “legacy


Is Gibbs III a Good Idea?

The hot rumor of the day is that Joe Gibbs could be back to try and bail out the amazingly more dysfunctional every day Washington Redskins.  Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk at is reporting that there may be a third coming of Gibbs to the Skins organization.

This would not be a third head coaching stint, however.  Dan Snyder would bring Joe Gibbs back to assist in bringing in a GM and the next coach.  This is just a rumor at this point, so let’s examine the pro’s and con’s of this possibility.

Gibbs III would be a bad idea because…

  • There were mixed results when Gibbs shared a joint role with Cerrato, Snyder as a Team President role. Adam Archuleta and Brandon Lloyd are just two of the misjudged people brought in to help the Washington Redskins during Joe Gibbs’ watch.  Those two players alone set the Skins back in dead cap money, roster spots and potential development of other players.
  • Would Gibbs have the time and will necessary to really turn this organization around in the long run. As screwed up as the Redskins are, there is a potential that this is going to get worse even next year.  The Skins need a major overhaul of the structure from which this organization operates.  Gibbs has a ministry he’s in charge of, he has a racing team, and a host of other things down in North Carolina.  For that reason, Jason Reid says that a source close to Gibbs thinks it’s unlikely that it will happen.  He’s just too busy.
  • Joe Gibbs worked very closely with Cerrato and Dan Snyder when he came back, is he willing to make the wholesale changes to the front office that it seems like the Skins need? There’s a reason that Dan Snyder and Joe Gibbs still stay in touch beyond the fact Gibbs was the last coach here.  How many of the ex-coaches under Snyder’s tenure does he still have some kind of a relationship with?  Does that tell us something?  Is Gibbs strong enough to finally put a “real” General Manager with real power in charge?  If they are close friends is he going to actually be able to keep Snyder out of the kitchen?
  • Does Gibbs still have the contacts after being out of the league for the past few years to accurately assess who should be here for the job?
  • Will fans dismiss this as a simple public relations move without substance and be even angrier with Snyder and the front office?

Gibbs III is a good idea because…

  • Gibbs is the only remaining link with the former success of the Redskins that has any ties to the organization. Gibbs knows what this heap of a mess used to look like when it was a championship winning team.  He knows what it should look like unlike the garbled mess that has been created by current management.
  • He had some success in personnel while he was here. Cooley, Moss, and Portis were brought in during Gibbs’ tenure.  These were major additions to this team and have been some of the only bright spots during the Skins past few seasons.
  • There is no one above Gibbs, not even Snyder. When Gibbs stepped back onto the scene Snyder stepped back.  It was amazing to see.  Gibbs has the respect of the owner and experience to back it up.  With any other person hired by Snyder comes along the possibility that it becomes a situation that we are currently dealing with.  Where someone is brought in but has no real authority to make things happen or staying power to weather the hard times (where real character and experience comes from).
  • There’s no way on God’s green earth Gibbs would keep Vinny, right? Could anyone?  This, and point #3 are probably the biggest things to hope for if Gibbs were to come back as a more hands-on consultant.  The real problem has been picking, keeping and signing talent.  The real problem has been not having a clear long term direction to take this franchise.

My Thoughts

I know there is a sentiment among Skins fans that Gibbs II was a complete failure.  I understand but disagree.  One of the things that I enjoyed most about it was that there was a coach who I knew I could trust was doing everything he knew how to fix things, was given the authority to do so and had the experience and character to back it up.

Jim Zorn could have eventually turned out to be a great coach here.  Unfortunately he was not given anywhere near the respect or authority Gibbs was on his return.  Zorn has been humiliated and dishonored here, as has our franchise’s once proud reputation.  Gibbs has a chance to bring stability back to Washington by setting up a map for the future and if there is anyone that could persuade Snyder, it would be him.

Your Thoughts

Do you think a Gibbs return would put this franchise in a better or worse situation for the future?

Other Links

Dan Steinberg sums up some of the latest analyst chatter about the Skins and our possible open head coach position.

Washington Post writers Jason Reid and Rick Maese say that Jim Zorn considered walking after the “suggestion” of giving up offensive play calling decisions.

If you haven’t read this piece Mike Wise wrote on John Kent Cooke, read it.  Now.


The worst game of all time

So yesterday, I had the joy of going to the Redskins game. I was excited, I had received the tickets as a birthday gift. I know it has not been the greatest season, but they were playing the Chiefs. I mean the Chiefs. Surely, they can’t lose to both the Lions and the Chiefs in the same year right?

This was the third game I have been to in the last four years, going to about one a year. I have to say that this game was disappointing on so many levels. The forecast was calling for rain, but it was clear all day. We didn’t get loss or stuck in traffic on the way to the stadium. We made pretty good time in fact.

The disappointment was  to come. The Stadium was not full at all by kickoff. It looked to be a quarter empty, possibly more. The crowd never got loud on Defense. Some fans would try, but most fans just sat there. Well, sat there and complained and heckled both the Chiefs and the Redskins. The other times I have been to the stadium the visiting offense had false starts or had to burn timeouts because of crowd noise. That was not a problem this time The crowd was almost as loud when the Chiefs were on D.

There was plenty of booing, both the Chiefs and the Redskins. Campbell was booed but so were other players. There was booing at the playcalls, particularly the ones at the end of the the first half. The loudest cheer was probably when Todd Collins entered the game. Which struck me as unfair; is it Campbell’s fault Stephon Heyer was falling down, committing false starts, and only giving Campbell one second to throw? And yeah Campbell overthrew Moss slightly, but Moss had his hands on it he should have caught it. Of course there are other receivers to pass to then Moss and he had to throw the ball away not scramble during a two-minute offense.

But there was plenty to boo about. I cannot recall a game in which the Skins played worse. There offense could get nothing done all day, except for two big plays. And after moving deep into Chiefs’ territory with those big plays they could not get it in the endzone. Special Teams was atrocious with a blocked punt and bad punt returns. The Defense played decent, but let’s be honest – the Chiefs’ receivers dropped plenty of passes. The Skins got in Cassel’s face a few times, and played good bend-but-don’t-break D. But everyone in the stadium wanted to see more aggressive D. There were constantly calls for “Pick 6″! Because the crowd knew the offense was not going to score.

By the time the Skins had ball backed up in their own endzone, down 12-6 with precious little time left in, most of the fans had left. Then Todd Collins was sacked for the saftey on the very first play of that drive. After that we, along with nearly everyone else, also left.

This was a huge disappointment to me on so many levels. The Skins went out there and proved that they are probably the worst team in football. They looked like they did not care, and there did not seem to be any hope for a turnaround any time soon. I have been a Skins fan since I was a kid, and I remember them being bad for many years. I do not remember them ever looking this hopeless, this much of a lost cause.

The Skins were not the only disappointment, the Skins fan were as well. People have every right to stay home from a bad game, to boo and heckle their team but its just sad when a home game does not mean an advantage. FedEx Field is one of the biggest and loudest stadiums in the NFL, and Redskins fans are among the most diehard. But you might have thought the Redskins came into the game losing and 2-4 the way the crowd reacted yesterday.

Obviously, a lot needs to be done to both improve the team and improve the fans’ mood. It looks so hopeless now, I do not really have any suggestions.Here’s hoping we have something to cheer about later this season.


Skins Loss to Chiefs Prompts Major Changes

The Washington Redskins lost to another winless opponent yesterday, dropping one at home to the Kansas City Chiefs 14-6.  I wish I could have said this was a major surprise.  I wasn’t really shocked the Skins lost on Sunday but if you told me the following, I would have thought we were going to win:

  • Clinton Portis would break off the longest run of his entire career with a 78 yard run (15 rushes for 109 yards).
  • The Skins defense would have five sacks, would not allow a touchdown (to a team that scored 20 points against the Dallas Cowboys the previous week), and kept Larry Johnson under 100 yards rushing.
  • The Redskins would only have one turnover committed in the game on a “Hail Mary” pass at the end of the first half.

So, what happened?  How did the Redskins lose this game? In a nutshell:

  • The offense continued to struggle with putting points on the board and did not get in the end zone at all, even going against one of the worst defenses in the league.
  • The wide receivers and quarterbacks of the Redskins could not consistently connect on deep routes even though Thomas, Moss and Randle El looked to be beating coverage.
  • Timeouts were wasted.  Again.
  • The offensive line gave up a safety for the second straight week.
  • Jason Campbell was benched after missing open receivers down field.
  • Instead of going for a 52 or 53 yard field goal, Zorn elects to have Jason Campbell throw it towards (not even in) the endzone.
  • Special teams had problems again this week and surrendered excellent field position after our punt was blocked.

Six points.  That’s it.  The Washington Redskins are now 2-4, sitting at the bottom of the NFC East and are faced with a potentially disastrous matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles on national television next Monday night.  Something has to be done, right?  Something’s got to give, something must change.

The Change

After another pathetic performance by the Redskins offense, Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder met with Jim Zorn Sunday night and according to Zorn, “strongly suggested” that he give up play-calling duties.  This is the “too much on his plate” approach.  It definitely must have been tough on Zorn after being brought in initially as the Offensive Coordinator before he was hired as the Head Coach.  This is also in the context of the organization’s hiring of Sherm Lewis to be that “extra set of eyes” to see if he can fix the offense.  Now Lewis is the one who will be calling the plays.  Sherm Lewis said when he was hired here, he wasn’t “trying to take anyone’s job” and I believe him.  And now he has Zorn’s job of play-calling.

But at this point, is this the answer?  I am not entirely sure if Lewis will have any more success in his calling of the plays than Zorn did with this personnel.  The offensive line might have lost Chris Samuels not just for the season, but for his career after last weeks “stinger” and his narrowing spine problem.  That means that whether Todd Collins gets the start next Monday night or whether it’s Jason Campbell again (which I find more likely) it’s still going to be a bumpy ride.

The Effect

It’s hard to look at this move and not see that Jim Zorn’s days as the Skins Head Coach are numbered.  Whether it’s deserved or not, it’s clear that the fans and Dan Snyder will want change next season (if not much earlier).  There’s an off chance that the Redskins win big Monday night which might buy Zorn more time.  If the Skins wind up winning a few more in the harder part of his schedule he might be able keep it for the remainder of the season.  My view is that if the plan is to fire Zorn after Monday night, just fire him now.  Deal with him like a man, or else just let him do his job.

Stay tuned this week for an examination of who might be the Redskins next head coach if Zorn gets the axe, a comparison of Campbell and much, much more.


Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post has done a great job collecting thoughts from various media and football persona’s regarding the changes Cerrato has handed down.  Tony Dungy’s take here and everyone else you can think of is here.

Tony Kornheiser talked on his radio show this morning about his conversation with Dan Snyder in the owner’s box and Joe Theismann even came up as an option for a candidate to be the next (interim-only please?) head coach.

Comedian Danny Rouhier examines the futility of the Redskins great draft picks since 1991 and his latest “Redskins Anonymous” meeting.  It’s awesome, I promise.

Your Thoughts

What do you expect the product will be like against Philadelphia on Monday night?

Is the Zorn Era over?

Should it be?

Is Campbell done here?


Boycotts and "Revolution"

Pardon the time between posts here at Washington Sportsjam, I’ve been a little too depressed to write lately.  There has been a lot going on in this area the past two weeks and it hasn’t been pretty.  Where do we even begin?  Should we start with the weekly questions about Head Coach Jim Zorn’s job security or perhaps with the fact that Redskins have not scored 30 points or more in the last 22 regular season games?  How about with the boycott plans for this Sunday’s game against Kansas City?

There have been efforts lately to organize people in various ways to try and get a message across to Redskins owner Dan Snyder (who many feel is responsible for the current problems of the team).  These have included wearing brown bags at home games (back when we were 1-2, yeah, 1 AND 2!) as well as not showing up at games/selling tickets, or booing at home games when the team doesn’t produce while defensively stating, “we’re not booing the team, we’re booing the owner”.  Riiight.  The most difficult aspect of showing frustration towards the owner is that more often than not the team suffers and becomes the object of the attack.


Now, there is another move that is gaining some ground that is hoping to be more effective.  A blog by the name of “Burgundy Revolution” has started and is planning a “Black Sunday” for this week.

The purpose?  The organizer from Burgundy Revolution says “… to hopefully show Snyder there are a lot of us, and to hopefully draw more people into the movement.”

“I can’t speak for everyone that is anti-Snyder, but for me, I don’t expect we will actually get him to sell the team; the team is too valuable.  What I am hoping for is that he wakes up and admits that he does not know how to run a football team.  If Dan Snyder will openly admit/apologize his past mistakes, fire Vinny Cerrato and bring in a REAL GM, and finally promise to not impose his will into football decisions, then I have no more reason to push for revolution.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I/we SUPPORT THE TEAM.  Any actions that we are taking are directed at the management not at them.  If any player sees people in black, please know that this is not about you; don’t take it personally.

As for WHY do I am I behind this? I am behind it because I am tired of hurting.  I love the Redskins and have since I was a little kid.  When we win a game on Sunday, it just makes my week; when we lose I am always saddened.  Lately the losses have been hurting more and more because they just keep happening AND we keep getting our hopes up.  A loss in which we are competitive hurts, but at least I can hold my head high at the office on Monday.  This year, I have had trouble holding my head high after we win!  I don’t see the situation getting any better until there is a serious change at the top.  Firing Zorn is not the answer, replacing Campbell is not the answer.  These may or may not be a part of the solution, but they alone will not do it.”

My Thoughts on the Planned Blackout or “Black Sunday”

Honestly, what Skins fan can’t relate to that last paragraph?  I remember my face hurting from smiling the whole day after the Monday night miracle (you remember the amazing passes by Mark Brunell in the last five minutes in Dallas to Santana Moss who thereafter would be called “the cowboy killer”?).  I was working at a YMCA in Hampton Roads and some of the old women asked me why I was so happy, I couldn’t even explain it without laughing or tearing up a little.  Yeah I probably looked like the most idiotic lifeguard anyone had ever seen in Virginia Beach, but I felt like a billion bucks.  Of course the opposite has been true, I’ve invited people over to watch Skins games and have ended up throwing chairs and pillows, ripping newspapers to shreds, yelling uncontrollably and having a week or more completely ruined.

The Premise of the Argument

While I can relate on the emotional level of the highs and lows of being a Redskins fan, I cannot agree to the premise of the argument which seems to be that Dan Snyder is the ultimate and end all reason for the demise of the franchise.  He is one of the problems and he has the power to rectify the dysfunctional culture that has riddled the team.  But the way some fans view him seems to be that he’s possessed by Satan himself and is hell bent on destroying the team.  There are certainly times where it looked like he was (back when Brad Johnson was benched in favor of Jeff George and when Brian Mitchell was released but Deion Sanders was signed).  Unfortunately, most fans that hate Snyder spend much of their time calling him “Danny” and releasing a tirade of ad hominem attacks that end up sounding little more than a five year old having a temper tantrum.

Let me be clear on this, Dan Snyder does not  hate the Redskins. He does not value money over winning.  His track record speaks to exactly the opposite of that.  What we have here in Washington is an owner who wants to win and will spend whatever money he can to do so.  The problem is that he’s been spending his money unwisely and has hired people that are more open to his involvement than carving out a name for themselves.  He has made poor decisions in the past and as Mike Wilbon of the Washington Post writes in his article “Snyder Must Lead Redskins by Getting Out of the Wayhe needs to make a smart decision on someone to oversee football  operations and leave it to that person.  That’s the only way out of this mess.  We’ve seen what Vinny Cerrato can do and what shape the offensive line is in (anyone besides me still miss Jon Jansen???).

Will it Right the Ship?

At first I was on the fence about the Blackout for Sunday.  I’m not talking about the logistical problems of getting 90,000 people to get on board (or even 10,000 for that matter).  I’m talking about the implications of the act.  I talked to a waitress last night in a small town off I-70 in Maryland about the idea after I found out she was a die-hard Skins fan whose family was a long time season ticket holder.  Her response really resonated with me.  In essence it was the following, “Why wear black?  If you’re going to the game to cheer on the Redskins, you wear Skins colors.  You deck yourself out in the burgundy and gold and you actually cheer them on.  You don’t boo, you support the team.”

Now, I understand that people are frustrated right now.  I know people want to let Snyder know they are disappointed and angry at the personnel and player decisions that have been made the past few years that have led us to where we are now.  That’s okay.  But broken down, these are the implications I see when fans come wearing black on Sunday:

  • If you’re wearing black, you are not wearing burgundy and gold. As mentioned above, this is kind of a simple idea: are you in or are you out?  To me it’s a little like those that booed when the Redskins beat the St. Louis Rams and said, “I’m not booing the team.  I’m booing ownership.”  Really?  Is Dan Snyder on the field?  Is Vinny Cerratto playing offensive line?  Who do you think that reflects on when the game switches over to a national broadcast and football watchers all over the country see a team beating their opponent and getting booed by their home fans to get off the field?
  • Will this get to Dan Snyder anyway? If enough people do this, it might get some attention.  I know Dan Steinberg with the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog would cover it if there are enough people.  Other than that how’s it going to make it past the bleachers and up the stairs?  If I’m Dan Snyder I’m thinking you’re mourning the loss of the season and I need make another knee-jerk reaction to change things up (such as getting rid of Zorn, hiring Gruden and letting chaos start a new chapter).
  • Is there another approach that might be more effective? Granted, this is activity number 1 for the Burgundy Revolution (did I mention the name itself sounds great?  Because it does…) and it could be just the beginning of a larger and more creative plan for change in D.C.  Mark Newgent, a Redskins fan and writer for the Examiner seems to think the Cincinnati Bengals fans have a good strategy for change in their “Who-Dey Revolution

Listen, I’m not hatin’ on this “movement”.  If it works, heck, great job and great idea.  I think Redskins fans are a broad array of folks united for a love of the great franchise that we used to see and still support.  The rest of the season definitely seems bleak with the offensive line in flux, Zorn’s job on the line, an underperforming defense and a no-show offense but it’s also a time where the bandwagon fans drop off the map.  I appreciate the effort being made by fans that care to restore the franchise to its once prominent place in the NFC East, the NFL and in the sports world.  I disagree as to the method but I wish them good luck, and if you err, err on the side of supporting the team.

If you want to Blackout on Sunday here’s the final instructions from the Burgundy Revolution organizer:

“1) Wear black to the stadium on Sunday.
2) Don’t spend any money on concessions.  If you need drink, do it outside before the game!
3) Cheer loudly for your players.  Whether they play well or not, they are your players.
4) Spread the word.  Not about my blog or twitter handle, but about the movement in general, about others carrying the torch such as @boycottSnyder, @savetheskins, @selltheteamdan, @letsbuytheskins, @redskins_fans and their blogs”

Your Thoughts

Do you support a “BlackSunday” against the Chiefs?

Am I off base and naive about Snyder?