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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 16-- Day 3 Final Thoughts, the Front Office

While many seem to naysay the promotion of Vinny Cerrato to whatever title he has now as a sign that things will go back to the way it was done prior to the Joe Gibbs hiring, I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by the restraint and plan Cerrato has implemented..

What is certainly different now that Gibbs has left is that the head coach will have far less say in the determination of who will be on his roster.. Joe Gibbs was not only the President of the team but the de facto GM with Cerrato and Dan Snyder at his side.. Now, Jim Zorn will be the team's coach and coach only.. Surely his opinions will be voiced and heard but he owns no rubber stamp.. That said, Gibbs earned the right to run the ship, Zorn has not and it would be hard to argue making the case to continue the decision making process via a triumverate..

So Cerrato is in charge, and since that promotion, Vinny has been open much more frequently to discuss the team's direction.. This is important on many levels.. The Redskins and the press core haven't had a great relationship under the ownership of Snyder.. Personally, I've got no complaints, the team treated me to a certain level of access that is appreciated.. But some of the others were left in the dark and that in turn garnered a lot of negative attention to the team.. Being more open about moves, potential moves and general team direction is always best.. The people who write and talk about you are an important arm of your operation.. They need to be in the loop or they will start guessing, and sometimes you don't want to read or hear what we might guess..

More importantly of course is how the team is truly built and what the results are on the field.. Should the Redskins win, the media will talk about how great they are.. Lose, and well, you've read that story a lot recently..
The team has shown remarkable restraint this off-season opting so far to hang onto the bulk of their draft selections and shying away from the big money of free agency.. I don't want this to be perceived as the way things will go on from here.. As it turned out, this free agent crop was thin to put it bluntly.. The few available difference making players broke the bank because there were many teams who unlike the Skins weren't flirting with the cap ceiling heading into this off-season.. In other words, teams like the Browns, Bears, Bucs, Titans, all had big money to spend so they might as well overpay.. The Skins did not have the luxury of outbidding teams this time around and truthfully, there wasn't anyone worth doing so for anyway.. So the Skins held back.. The fact that they were able to restrain the typical tendencies still is worth praising..
So the draft becomes a very important part of this team once again.. And that is where Cerrato has done well..
This team has drafted Derrick Dockery, Ladell Betts, Sean Taylor, Chris Cooley, Chris Samuels, Jon Jansen, Jason Campbell, Fred Smoot, Rocky McIntosh, LaRon Landry, all very capableand in some cases pro bowl caliber players..
The amazing part to me during the boom or bust era of free agency for the Skins was that their draft classes were rarely poor, they just chose not to use many of their selections.... I've always felt that this team needed to emphasize drafting more.. Good drafting plus the willingness to spend (which the Redskins do, don't let this off-season fool you) is the key to success.. Seeing them supplement a good core of drafted players with key free agent acquisitions is more in line with how the good teams stay that way.. In the cap era, Having Cooley for four years on a rookie contract is so much more worth it then trading for Jeremy Shockey and breaking the bank.. When your pick fits, you pay him (a lesson learned after letting Smoot and namely Antonio Pierce go), when they don't, no harm no foul on your cap.. Relying less on free agency means the misses won't sting you as much in terms of team chemistry and cap breaking cuts..
In this regard, I like how the Skins handled this off-season, and it would only be fair to credit Cerrto with that..
This team now has a de facto GM, despite Cerrato not carrying that specific title.. If the team has issues, we now know who to look at..
Snyder of course has a large role in determining the team's roster too.. But I do honestly believe Cerrato's opinions are being taken into consideration.. Of coursem, big deals like maybe one for Chad Johnson or the close call with Lance Briggs run through Snyder.. This is not going to change.. But Cerrato seemingly has the power, or at least is reprensenting publicly that he does..

While I don't think this roster feels championship ready, the Redskins took what was handed to them this off-season and didn't make any ghastly errors by overpaying this off-season.. That level of maturity is something I think we all hope continues into future seasons..

OK men


Blogger ruffin said...

"So Cerrato is in charge, and since that promotion, Vinny has been open much more frequently to discuss the team's direction.. This is important on many levels.."

Nice observation; thanks for sharing it. Still, Cerrato was all over ESPN during his year off (Martyball), and I don't see much from him on WP or WT now. Perhaps I've missed it, but how specifically has he been more open, and why hasn't it hit the DC rags more obviously?

In any event, good sum of the FO, even if it's beset with your typical, ah, unique typing style.

Keep 'em coming before we lose ya'.

12:13 PM  

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