Vinny Cerrato's keys to the games
Because Vinny Cerrato refuses The Post's interview requests, we really only hear from him during his Friday journeys "Inside the Red Zone" on ESPN 980. Unfortunately, the Thanksgiving holiday meant no ITRZ last week, which meant it was time to tune in for his weekly appearance with Larry Michael on ESPN 980's pre-game show. Pretty soon, I'm just going to build a house on ESPN 980's frequency and raise my children there.
Anyhow, since his words were scarce last week, it seemed worth a listen. In the final question of the segment, Cerrato was asked for his keys to the Eagles game, and he totally nailed 'em.
"I think this, Larry, we cannot turn it over, number 1," he said.
The Skins had two interceptions, both of which led to points.
"Number 2, we need to be able to run the football, because if we can run the football, then play-action pass, and it'll slow down their blitz, and if we can get some big plays when they're blitzing," he said, in something vaguely resembling a sentence.
The Redskins ran 25 times for 82 yards, an average of 3.3 ypc. That's not too great.
"And special teams, you know, no big returns, contain DeSean Jackson, and on defense like I said, no big plays," he said. "You cannot give 'em the big plays. Last time we played 'em, what, a month ago, that first drive they had the reverse, and then DeSean Jackson caught that other pass, so we cannot give them the big play."
Well, both teams had four "big plays" of at least 20 yards, but only the Eagles had a big scoring play. It went for 35 yards, to Jackson. Good call, sir.
"And we've got to get pressure on the quarterback and get some turnovers," Cerrato said.
The Redskins had two sacks and created one turnover.
So he was completely right. The Redskins would have done better had they forced more turnovers, yielded fewer turnovers, limited the big plays, run the football better and pressured the quarterback.
Other topics covered by Cerrato included DeSean Jackson, whom he famously did not draft in 2008. Michael asked what they saw in the collegiate Jackson.
"He was an outstanding returner and he ran excellent routes coming out of Cal," Cerrato said. "And he was very polished as a route runner, and he had explosive speed."
And Cerrato was asked about the rash of injuries, even before Fred Smoot and Justin Tryon and Jason Campbell and Mike Sellers and three water boys went down.
"Yeah, it's been quite amazing, how many guys that we've lost," Cerrato said. "And when you lose somebody, then it's just an opportunity for somebody else, is what it is. And it gives guys the opportunities, it gives them a chance to step up and show what they can do, and I think you've seen that with Fred Davis. I think we saw that with Chad Rinehart, then he got hurt. You know, and I think with the receivers, same thing. And I think today Kedric Golston gets a start, and I think we've got a chance to see maybe [Kevin] Barnes in the secondary, too. But I think you get a chance to see some of these younger guys play, and they all played extremely well last week against Dallas."
In that game we lost.
Although that's really unfair, because you want to take a look at the younger guys, and see them improve, and that's actually happening.
Edwin Williams? Cerrato likes.
"Well what he did was in training camp he got better each week," the EVPFFO said. "You know, each preseason game he got better. And the thing that he needed to work on when he got there was he needed to learn how to roll his hips and be more explosive, and he got that and he worked on that and Buges just schooled him on that. And you've got to give the kid a lot of credit, because he kept working on that. And the thing about it is he's a big man, he's 300 and what, 18, 20 pounds? And he's got a great lower body, so he's got a good base. And last week against the Cowboys he came in, and the first couple plays I think were a little rough for him, and then after that he settled in and played well. The guy's big, he's tough, he's smart, and he's gonna get an opportunity to play the whole game this week."
Williams had two false starts on Sunday, both on third downs.
Levi Jones? Cerrato likes.
"I'll tell you what, pleasantly surprised," Cerrato said. "I mean, he's a vet, so he's been through a lot. And he's stepped in there and he's played against some outstanding rushers, last week DeMarcus Ware, this week's he's got [Trent] Cole, and he's been up to the challenge. And he's a big, physical run blocker. So the guy's been great, and he's a good guy, and we're just glad that we have him."
Tweet from Skins official blogger: "Levi Jones is having a really dreadful first half."
And also, Redskins' recent performances? Cerrato likes.
"You know, over the last few weeks, we've been playing, you know, fairly decent," Cerrato said.
I dare you to put that on your resume.
"You know, we've been playing very good on defense, and we've been making some progress offensively," he continued. "So we just need to put a whole game together, offense, defense, special teams. It seems like if we kind of do one thing, then one of the other areas, you know, dysfunctions."
Best. Verb. Ever.
"So what we've got to do is put a complete game together," he said. "And the other thing is we cannot turn the ball over and we've got to eliminate the big play is what we've got to do, because last time we played them, if you remember, they had four big plays, and that was it."
Like I said, he nailed it.
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