Cerrato discusses an aging offensive line
I was glad to hear Vinny Cerrato discussing the perils of having an aging offensive line without much depth during his ESPN 980 radio show last week. I was encouraged to hear him note that having such a line was one of the problems with the 2008 Redskins. And I was--I don't know, pick a word, stupefied? dumbstruck?--that the thing that got him talking about aging offensive lines was, yes, that's right, the Cowboys.
This all happened when Cerrato--wearing his Official Media Person hat--was interviewing ESPN's Ed Werder about what to expect from the Cowboys, which is just unspeakably bizarre to begin with. Cerrato brought up some of Dallas's injuries.
"The biggest concern, obviously, is the injury to Marc Colombo, which forces Doug Free, a former fourth-round pick, to make his first career NFL start, and disrupts the continuity that they have had on their offensive line," Werder said, as the dramatic irony music began in the background. "He has started 41 consecutive weeks next to Leonard Davis, so I think that's the biggest challenge they face going forward, is that when they put their team together the thing they had the biggest concern about was the lack of depth on their offensive line. And I think if they try to help Doug Free too, much then they sort of expose another guy who seems to be suffering from the advance of age on the other side, and that's Flozell Adams."
Now, this has to be hitting close to home already. If I was hosting this show, I would be rifling through my notes for a new topic. Ask Werder about Bill Belichick. Ask him about the playoff chase. Ask him about the weather in Nova Scotia. Just don't discuss the perils of having an aging offensive line.
"Yeah, you know what, it was interesting, because talking with John Clayton this summer," he began.
(Wait, so he interviews ESPN personalities when he's off the clock, too?)
"...He said the Cowboys' offensive line was the oldest offensive line in the league by I think it was like six years, like 158 years combined for those five guys."
(I just checked. Entering Week 1, the Cowboys' five starters were 156 years old. The Redskins' five starters were 150 years old. That means, if Cerrato's six-year gap is correct, Washington had the second-oldest line.)
"And I think what happens--and kind of what [Clayton] talked about, and what happened to us the previous year--starting the second half you see it because guys start to get hurt."
(So you knew your offensive line was old, and you knew that this was going to happen? I think I preferred to imagine that you didn't actually know this.)
"They start to wear down as they get older."
(Get the heck out of here. Really?)
"Because isn't Gurode the center banged up a little bit, and Flozell the left tackle's a little banged up?"
(You're seriously going to ask yet another question about another team's aging, banged-up Cowboys' offensive line? Why not just go all the way and ask about coaching staff dysfunction?)
"Yeah, Andre Gurode missed some practice time last week," Werder said. "I think he's pretty healthy now. And I don't think Flozell has any physical issues, but the Cowboys have already been in a situation where they've been forced to keep receivers and backs in to help support Flozell Adams against certain pass rushers."
I mean, how can that not be awkward, for Cerrato to sit there and listen about another team being forced to keep receivers and backs in to help support an aging, injury-riddled offensive line?
But I guess maybe you just have to get used to that. Because here's what happened when Cerrato asked Werder about Wade Phillips.
"It's a very unique and potentially dysfunctional setup that the Cowboys have," Werder explained, "where they have a head coach who has absolutely nothing to do, it seems, with the offense. And so it's created a division where the offensive players are coached only by the offensive coaching staff, and it's almost like you have two head coaches. Which, like when you have two quarterbacks, it's like you have none."
And when you have three playcallers, on the other hand, it's like you have three.
Anyhow, there was at least one moment of intense self-awareness in Friday's show. Werder was complaining that the early morning timeslot was kind of a drag, and Cerrato said that at least more people listen at that time.
"You know, enough people hated me already, so I'm not sure that's a good thing," Werder said.
"Well, " Cerrato said with a hearty laugh, "you're jumping into my boat, then."
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