Redskins: Vinny Cerrato resigns, team names Bruce Allen to replace him

Cindy Boren
Washington Post NFL Editor
Thursday, December 17, 2009; 3:00 PM

Post NFL editor Cindy Boren discussed today's news that Vinny Cerrato has resigned as Redskins VP of football operations and that the team has named former Bucs GM Bruce Allen to replace him.


Cindy Boren: Hello, folks. Thanks for joining me for this impromptu chat about the departure of Vinny Cerrato and the arrival of Bruce Allen. Whaddya know, whaddya think? Let's roll.


VA Square: Did you have anything to do with this?

Cindy Boren: While I am flattered that you think my powers and skillz are so mad (at least that's how I choose to interpret the question), I was totally uninvolved. Had I been in on it, do you think I'd have picked today to have a giant hole knocked in a wall of my house? I fled the joint, leaving it to the honest-faced workers (I may go home to find the place stipped bare). So, no, bupkes. I did, however, draft Brian Orakpo. Totally.


Los Altos, CA: Why fire Cerrato at this juncture? It's not like his leaving means the Skins can now win out. And besides, haven't they been playing better and with more heart in recent weeks? New GM aside, his "resignation" has no effect on how players perform. That ship sailed at the start of the season when they named the final roster. This is a PR stunt, right?

Cindy Boren: Good question. I could see it if a Holmgren, say, forced Snyder's hand by saying he was going to take a gig elsewhere. You'd have to make the move now in that case. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a PR "stunt." I think there's a big measure of trying to polish the team's tarnished image by returning to a name from the glory days. In the end, that has to have trumped the big glitzy name (which has really not worked here). Whatever it is, it's a good move.


DC 20016: On top of everything else, Vinny has no class whatsoever. I am so so so so so so glad he is now gone.

Cindy Boren: Well, I think that's harsh. However, it was graceless of him to not mention Jim Zorn.


Anonymous: Why did Danny have to pull the trigger on this hire so quickly?

Did he even use the Rooney rule?

Cindy Boren: It's not as if people were talking Bruce Allen Bruce Allen Bruce Allen. The timing was odd, but it circumvents the Jan. 4 drama that would have been inevitable. Now you've got a guy on board who can watch the team over the last three games and make some important judgments on these youngsters. As for the Rooney rule, the Fritz Pollard Alliance folks (a driving force behind it) told Mark Maske they're satisfied that Daniel Snyder complied with it, and that he did so 10 days ago. Roger Goodell, in a chat on, said he was satisfied that the Redskins complied. You can't just give lip service by interviewing your coaches, so perhaps Morocco Brown was interviewed.


Arlington, Va.: Will you watch "Kindergarten Ninja" tonight as a tribute?

Cindy Boren: You know, I just might. Unless my TV has been stolen.


Laurel, Md.: Re: The question as to why fire Cerrato now...

I think it was a smart moves because it gives Bruce Allen 3 weeks to evaluate the team from actual games played.

Cindy Boren: Bingo (not a Sherm Lewis joke). I agree. And it saved a forest because of all the stories that would have been written.


Washington, DC: Where did you first hear the news about Vinny? And what was your immediate reaction?

Cindy Boren: This being a family site, I cannot quote my immediate reaction. It was something like this: ()*(*^^$%#%^^%(& ... because of the giant hole in my house, not because of any feelings one way or the other. The workers had just arrived and opened the house like a tincan when the word came down.


Herndon, Va.: Shouldn't we wait to see the dynamics between Snyder and Allen before we deem this move a success? I'll rejoice when Danny reaches for the free agent cookie jar and Bruce smacks his hand away. Snyder has to prove to the fans he's going to let his GM handle football decisions.

Cindy Boren: Well, Allen has worked for some, shall we say, challenging owners in Al Davis and the Glazers. Al Davis certainly scouted players (JaMarcus Russell...oof!). I can't imagine that Snyder will stop looking at players or having input, but I believe Allen is secure enough to stand up to him. And, because of that last name, Snyder just might listen.


Chevy Chase, Md.: Goodbye and good riddance. Any thoughts as to whether this was a "forced" resignation?

Cindy Boren: I think it was a courtesy given to a friend to let him resign rather than be fired.


Montgomery Village, Md.: Cindy

If not Chucky Gruden, then who?

Were there any other coaches--who might have been assistants wherever Allen was -- who are now ready?

Also, Vinnie's out the door statement made it sound like maybe he wasn't exactly thrilled with the timing. Did HE want to wait until after the San Diego game to fire Zorn himself? Looks like Z-man has the last laugh for at least three weeks.

Cindy Boren: If you could take the temperature of the name Shanahan right now, it would bust the thermometer. That's whom everyone is hearing, as coach and team president. We shall see.


Cap Hill, DC: Not that there weren't thousands of other reasons to do this, but do you think The Owner has thought about what might have been if Norv Turner (who seems to have finally shooed away the rain cloud) or Marty Schottenheimer might have stayed? Or is that thought process older than an old calendar. Also, sorry about the hole in your house.

Cindy Boren: I would hope Snyder doesn't think about Norv or Marty. Just because I don't think you can look back in this biz. Gotta keep moving forward. Now, it would be nice if mistakes weren't repeated, but regrets are for suckers.


Rockville, Md.: What people are missing is that this is THE perfect time to make this move! Bruce Allen will be able to see what he has, both with coaches and players. This can only help him make decisions for the future. Additionally, every Redskin player now is playing for the big boss and have something more to play for than pride: their jobs!

Cindy Boren: Well, they already were, but you raise a fair point.


21771: I heard Bruce Allen is going to hire Jon Gruden. Gruden will be in the MNF booth doing color commentary _and_ coaching the Redskins at the same time. So there...

Cindy Boren: I am 99 percent certain that is's be a nice payday, though, wouldn't it? (I say 99 percent because with this team nothing is certain.)


Tysons Corner: So who is the next coach? Shannahan, Gruden, or ____?

What big name free agent are we going to sign?

What is my favorite food?

Cindy Boren: Shanahan.

I don't think they will pursue a big free agent.

Cookies. Any and all cookies.


North Carolina: I know we will still have to see who the next coach is but do you think with Allen in and Cerrato out the chances of Jason Campbell being back in 2010 will increase or decrease?

Cindy Boren: I think it depends on who the coach is.


Rockville, Md.: So it will be Allen's son, but is he respected around the league and do potential coaches generally believe he knows football?

Cindy Boren: Bruce Allen is highly respected around the league. He has worked well with high-maintenance, egotistical coaches.


Rockville, MD.: Listening to the press conference now...already think he is a step up from Cerrato...professional and ready to go! Thoughts on the coach being here past this season?

Cindy Boren: I still believe Zorn will not be here after this season.


Paris, France: Hi Cyn,

I know that you were comfortably sitting on your couch at home popping in those bon-bons when this big news hit. Thanks for taking the time for the chat!

Upon reflecting on this hire, (yes, I went out and bought a replacement beret that's not too small) it sure seems like the Danny ACTUALLY listened to all the pundits and a hired a real GM which most likely means that he will stay (mostly) out of the decision making process.

Do you think like I do - never mind, I take that back...Do you think that everyone now realizes that (almost) no job is safe in this organization?

I personally think that it means that the personnel will be playing their guts out from now on.

I wouldn't mind seeing Campbell back with Zorn as his QB coach.

Cindy Boren: Hey, Paris! Glad to hear about the new beret. Don't discount the Burgundy Revolution. We'll never know what season ticket holders were saying (or whether there was a dropoff; I know several who were dropping their tickets). I think it's quite possible that there was a financial hit in ticket sales and some embarrassment. At some point, Snyder was a fan just like the rest of you; maybe that trumped it all. He has seem humbled by this season and the reaction of people to his ownership and the team's lack of success.


He has worked well with high-maintenance, egotistical coaches: And high-maintenance, egotistical owners.

Cindy Boren: Good point.


Cleveland, Ohio: Do you think Vinny Cerrato could get another job in the NFL in any place OTHER than DC?

Cindy Boren: My feeling is no.


Phoenix: Did they interview you for the job?

Cindy Boren: I actually turned them down, opting instead to wait out the renaissance of newspapers. So I've got that going for me.


Houston: Wow, you're right. Vinny left before the Zorninator!

I just want to say that I'm sure Danny waited until you had a hole in your house to make this announcement.

It's because he hates The Post so much.

Cindy Boren: I am somewhat pleased to note that at least the hiring process is proceeding logically now. There's a GM, and, should he opt to replace Zorn, he can hire a coach, who can hire his assistants. That would be somewhat refreshing. I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with the ginormous hole in my house. Pret-ty, pret-ty sure.


Westminster, Md.: Am I alone in still feeling hopeless? While I'm glad Vinny's gone, I don't have much faith in Snyder to sit back and CTC (cut the checks).

Cindy Boren: Have you failed to notice that the cycle of hope has begun again or has your fandom just really been ruined? Somebody long ago said "you gotta believe" and so you do.


NYC : I bet ESPN is happy they kept the Skins on MNF, I mean there are more story lines in the booth then on the field.

But isn't Shanahan going to big D, for more money and a better team? ....Jason Garrett to the Skins?!?!

Cindy Boren: This is gonna be great fun Monday night. Of course, it'll be the 800-lb gorilla in the booth; no one will mention it. I don't see Jason Garrett happening. And maybe Shanahan ends up in Dallas, but that's not the hot talk right now.


Washington, DC: I'm not clear on this "standing up to Snyder" concept. Do you mean that if, say, Snyder wanted to trade all our draft picks for Reggie Bush, Allen would say no and Snyder would listen? Because that would be a pretty radical change around here.

Cindy Boren: I think Allen will be far less malleable than his predecessor and has the capability of making far more convincing, more eloquent cases for why he likes or does not like a player.


Germantown, Md.: I think the Skins should now go back to the Early-70's Uni's that they wore when his pops was here.

Burgundy Jersey, fat stripes on the sleeves, and the yellow/gold pants.


Cindy Boren: We have an old old pic of his dad riding a tricycle. Let's hope they don't go that far.


20036: You have to figure Bruce Allen knew all too well about Snyder being a "hands on" owner and they settled on a working arrangement during the negotiations. BTW, any word on how much they're paying Allen?

Cindy Boren: No word on the money yet, but Bruce Allen has been around the league a long time. This ain't his first merry-go-round.


broke down in Arkansas: Hey Cindy,

Thanks for all the coverage, it's helping the time to fly by while i wait for my car to be fixed!

I missed the press conference but Jason Reid has transcribed parts of it already:Snyder introduces Allen.

I'm wondering if you can elaborate on what was probably a key part? here's what Jason wrote:

Snyder: Bruce has the authority. When Bruce makes the decision, it's a Redskins decision.

Thanks again, and P.S. -- I love the Podcast!

Cindy Boren: Hey, Arkansas! I'm not sure I can elaborate more on that. Snyder said that Allen is in charge and, during the press conference at least, he always means it.


Reston, Va.: While there is certainly reason for the Redskin Nation to rejoice, their celebration should be tempered somewhat. Wait until we see whether or not Snyder will sit back and let Allen actually run things.

Cindy Boren: Baby steps, Reston. Baby steps.


Bend, Ore: I'd love to see some continuity from this year to next. What are the chances that Blache returns on defense? What about Bugel? I figure Zorn is gone, but how similar are the West Coast offenses that Shanahan or Gruden used to run? Is there a lot of carry over from Zorn's system?

Cindy Boren: If they replace Zorn with a big-name coach, I cannot imagine that he would not want to bring in his own people, not matter how well the defense is playing or how popular and successful Bugel is.


Cindy Boren: I have to knock off a few minutes early, I'm sorry to say. Jason Reid will be chatting tomorrow and I'll be back Monday afternoon before the big game. Until then, let's keep the conversation going on the Redskins Insider blog and Twitter feed. Thanks for joining me!


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