Mike Wise: Redskins take care of business with Cerrato decision

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, left, has finally made the call to replace longtime friend Vinny Cerrato.
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, left, has finally made the call to replace longtime friend Vinny Cerrato. (John Mcdonnell/the Washington Post)
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By Mike Wise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 18, 2009

Before we get to Bruce Allen, and the fact that the son of the late, great George Allen has accepted the challenge of rebuilding the franchise his father once led to a Super Bowl, let's pause for a moment of reflection:

He did it! He . . . actually . . . did . . . it!

The move no one saw coming, the bold stroke no one believed Daniel Snyder was willing to make -- the severing of the strange bond between the Washington Redskins owner and his right-hand man Vinny Cerrato -- became reality Thursday morning.

Ding-dong, Vinny's gone?

Stunner, absolute stunner.

The news that Cerrato is out and Allen is in with three games left in this dismal 4-9 season is nothing if not surreal -- easily the most shocking development to rock the organization since a quarterbacks coach from Seattle was hired to replace Joe Gibbs two years ago.

Think about it: The idea that Cerrato, the executive vice president of football operations, would resign his position before Zorn did -- the mere notion of the Z-man outlasting the V-man -- sounds like fiction as I'm typing this column. And that's after Bruce Allen's introductory news conference, after fielding a deluge of callers with one clarifying word of consensus:


Okay, the idea of gloating over someone losing his job in these lean economic times seems a little warped. But pardon many frustrated legions today for feeling exactly that way. For all the blame sent Snyder's way over his less-than-mediocre decade of stewardship, the owner was always deemed immovable.

Cerrato, hence, became the embodiment of a vapid brain trust, one responsible for just three playoff appearances in 10 seasons. The team architect, like the owner, seemed to be more interested in reloading each season for a pipe dream of a playoff run than in genuinely rebuilding the roster to compete for several years, and at no time did this become more evident than 2009.

So consumed with worry about the progression of the young players he drafted -- especially a 2008 trio of second-round receivers that until the past two months had not shown signs of promise -- Cerrato neglected to bring in the depth the team needed at offensive line to protect quarterback Jason Campbell and kick-start Zorn's West Coast offense.

His infatuation with the skill player over the building-block lineman mirrored Snyder's, which led to the perception Cerrato was merely doing the owner's bidding when it came to high-priced free agents and first- and second-round draft picks.

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