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Cerrato: 'Some crazy things have happened'

I've got this fancy new recorder that lets me record like 73 hours of audio, so here are more, non-Jimmy Clausen highlights from Vinny Cerrato's ESPN 980 radio program, Inside the Red Zone.

And sure, the program is two hours and just cherrypicking stuff like this is probably unfair to some degree. I guess Cerrato could start a blog and make fun of all my missteps on my radio and television appearances.

1. Cerrato was interviewing CBS Sports's Clark Judge about the Oakland Raiders, this week's opponent.

"As you know Vinny, living in the Bay Area, it's a dysfunctional ballclub,"Judge said at one point. "And it will be until and unless Al [Davis] cedes control of that team. There's just some things that don't figure there and never have. It's gonna take them a while to get those things straightened out, but I think once they get a new direction, that can happen. They've got talent on that club. They've got a lot of talent on that club. It just doesn't fit in."

No comment.

2. Cerrato was interviewing new Virginia Coach Mike London, and at one point he brought up a sore spot: the lack of an indoor practice facility.

"You gonna get an indoor facility pretty soon?" Cerrato asked with a chuckle.

"I'll tell you what, that's what's on my agenda right now," London said. "Obviously the facilities here are fantastic, and you can always add to the overall experience, and I think that's something that's recognized. And while I'm here, I'm gonna be working on that....

"I think more so for recruiting than anything else almost, just because everybody else has it," Cerrato answered. "When a kid comes there and it's cold out, you say where do you practice when it gets cold? Especially for development in the offseason also, I think it's huge."

No comment.

3. At one point in his conversation with Judge, the issue of poor tackling came up.

"I'll be honest with you Vinny, I've seen a lot of poor tackling throughout the league this year," Judge said. "I was at the Dallas-Giants game last weekend, and I thought the Cowboys were terrible tackling."

"Well, that happens as the season goes on," Cerrato said. "Just because, to me, teams aren't practicing with pads and you just don't work on those fundamentals, and the only time you're practicing tackling is on Sundays. So a lot of time, that tackling isn't as good."

No comment.

4. Later, Cerrato was interviewing Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney, and at the end of the interview, Swinney had a question of his own.

"Vinny, I think I met you," Swinney said. "Are you still the player personnel guy or general manager? You came down to Alabama to recruit [Chris] Samuels? I was an assistant then, and you and Mr. Snyder flew down to I think recruit Chris. I was just a young guy, but I remember you guys coming in."

No comment.

5. Cerrato also interviewed his friend Mel Kiper Jr. about April's NFL draft, at one point, for example, asking where college QBs Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett would go if they declare for the draft.

"Now Mel, who's your top 5?" Cerrato asked at one point. "If the draft was today, who's your top 5?"

"Well, Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, the two defensive tackles, they're gonna scrutinize them, the NFL will, and it depends on the system you're in as to who you take," Kiper said. "Certainly the quarterbacks will follow suit. Eric Berry would be at 3, the safety from Tennessee who they moved around this year, to get him in a lot of different areas and show a lot of the skills that he has."

"You think a safety will go in the top 5, Mel?" Cerrato asked, sounding surprised.

No comment.

6. "And certainly the quarterbacks," Kiper continued. "You would line them up there after, with Jimmy Clausen, Jake Locker, Sam Bradford, Ryan Mallett if he decides to come out. Those four quarterbacks, depending on who comes out, would be in that next tier."

"Say they all came out, Mel, how would you rank 'em and give us the evaluation," Cerrato requested.

"Well, Jimmy I think is a kid who you would have to look very seriously at," Kiper said, and it was unclear exactly who "you" was referring to. "And it's not done yet, I don't have any final evaluation," he continued. "I think I'll position them right behind those top three and then make a decision down the road on who's 1, 2 or 3 from the quarterback group. But all those guys right now are, I think, bunched together."

"It sounds like the top of the draft is gonna be defensive tackles and quarterbacks and a running back," Cerrato concluded.

7. Still later in the program, Cerrato and co-host Frank Hanrahan were discussing the Redskins' season.

"You know, a kick in Dallas, some crazy things in Philadelphia, and the New Orleans game," Cerrato said with lament. "Some crazy things have happened to us that you haven't seen in football in a while. And all these teams are going to the playoffs, and more than likely we could have won them all, but we've just got to learn how to win the close games at the end, that's the thing that we haven't been doing. But you'd like to see the continued development of these guys. Devin, Malcolm, Marko, Fred, Jason Campbell, Ganther, all these guys keep performing and keep improving. Because we are making progress offensively and stuff, so I think that's what you'd like to see.

"And we've got some big games [left]. You'd like to get on a winning streak here, because you've got some really big games at home here, on a Monday night with the Giants, and on a Sunday night with Dallas. There'd be nothing better than to win those games, for the fans and for everything else. To win those games, I think it would get everybody kind of going in the right direction. Because if you look at it like this, last year's Cincinnati, I think they won their last four, three or four games at the end of the season, so they got a little momentum going into the offseason, and now they're 9-3. So there is some carryover factor."

Indeed, the Bengals won their last three games of '08. So did the Falcons, who are now 6-6. The 2008 Miami Dolphins won their final five games, and then began this year 0-3. The 2008 San Diego Chargers won their final four games, and then began this year 2-3. That's the carryover factor at work.

8. In the final segment, Cerrato was asked to provide his keys to the Oakland game. Here they are.

"Well, I think this, I think consistency," he said. "I think to build on what we did last week offensively, and to continue the young guys not up and down, just the consistency, and to continue to build and grow on what they did the week before. So for Devin and Fred to have better games than they did the week before. For Malcolm, Marko and some of the other young guys to continue and improve upon what they did and to make more plays. So if we can continue to do that, then I think that'll keep us progressing offensively.

"And for Jason to continue to progress and protect the football. And what we've got to do is they have a very good defensive front, what we've got to do is we've got to protect up front, and we've got to be able to run the ball. So it'll be a challenge for us in that aspect. And our receivers are gonna have to do a good job getting open against press coverage, because they're gonna line up in your face and try to press you and we've got to do a good job getting off press.

"And defensively, disrupt that quarterback. He's been in a rhythm, they've won some games the last few weeks, so we've got to disrupt Gradkowski and get some turnovers, get some pressure on him, and stop their run. They've got Fargas, they've got McFadden, they've got some running backs, so we've got to be able to stop the run.

"And we can't give up big plays. We've got to play physical, we've got to play passionate, we've got to play with energy like we have been over the last month or so. If we can continue to do that, then I think we'll do well. And you know what, in the kicking game, don't give up the big play, and hopefully when Graham Gano gets the opportunity to kick, he makes the field goal."

So those are your keys.

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 11, 2009; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Cerrato's interview with Jimmy Clausen
Next: Riggo discusses Hall of Fame voting


So Vinny says "consistency" is important on offense, and having the young guys build and grow on what they did the week before. And then he says that they want momentum to carry over until next year. So....while it's obvious that Zorn isn't coming back, am I crazy to believe that after Shanahan and Cowher and the hot assistant of the moment turn Dan down this offseason, he and Vinny announce that the best way to ensure consistency is to give Sherm Lewis the head coach position? Or even crazier, that they install Sherm Lewis as "play caller" before bringing in some new neophyte head coach?

With the Redskins, anything is possible...

Posted by: TheFingerman | December 11, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Playing better than you did in a game you lost? Brilliant!

Posted by: cao091402 | December 11, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Perception = Reality

Posted by: WheresRickySanders | December 11, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I swear if this man is associated in any way with the Redskins next year, I'm disowning them as my team. He doesn't deserve to cut the grass on the practice field.

Posted by: innocentbystander | December 11, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I know I mentioned this in another post, but: This stuff is straight out of a Joseph Heller novel. I wish he was alive to write about this.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | December 11, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

It's like the story of this franchise as written by the onion....

Posted by: jbanks979 | December 11, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love that guy from Clemson!

Posted by: TheDubb | December 11, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Did Vinny mention how many rings he has? Because he has rings. The man has GOT rings.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | December 11, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Mark my words, Charlie Weis is going to be a Redskins Coach next year, and Claussen will be the QB. Brace yourselves.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 11, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Mercy....uncle.....tap out....please!!! I beg of you, Dan, to stop talking about Cerrato. The more I hear about how this guy thinks the more depressed I become, knowing that Danny is going to bring him back.

You know, WE ARE ONLY A FEW PIECES AWAY and this really is a PLAYOFF ROSTER......

Posted by: jahs4fun | December 11, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

re: the carryover factor. Miami, S.D., and Atlanta all made the playoffs. Cincy did not. So I think that was the intended comparison for a team that is struggling, and has struggled for quite some time, to end the season on a positive note.

Posted by: theraph | December 11, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Did he really ask if a safety would go in the top five? As if there was no such person as Sean Taylor?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Next year will be even better than this year!

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | December 11, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you missed the part of the convo with Dabo when Vinny commented about Dabo having to be interim with someone else's guys and how it's nice to have your own guys in there as a head coach.

Someone should have asked... "Then why did you and Dan go hire a coaching staff then try to go hire a head coach if you believe that philosophy?"

Vinny ...

Posted by: HollywoodPB | December 11, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Why does he continue to talk? Its a train wreck every time he says something.

"Say they all came out, Mel, how would you rank 'em and give us the evaluation"

I bet Vinnie was taking notes when Mel was talking. Vinnie you dip-shi* that is your job to scout. And Vinnie you know Mel is a Raven fan right? Mel will sabotage you, not that you don't do that to yourself.

Posted by: doesntmatter | December 11, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you make some excellent points but are really, really nitpicking Vinny on some of this stuff. The guy may not be a worthy GM but he certainly knows more about football than most of us out here...

Posted by: SkinsFanNYC | December 11, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"You think a safety will go in the top 5, Mel?" Cerrato asked, sounding surprised."

Oh God, please don't give him any ideas.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 11, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I gotta agree SkinsfanNYC. I think Cerrato is terrible and I hope to God he's no longer in his position next year but this really is nitpicking.

When the Clemson coach mentioned meeting him, Vinny recalled the dinner and was gracious in his comments. When he asks Kiper about his opinion on QB's it's because those are the names most casual fans know. He also spent quite a bit of time talking to Swinney about the back they have coming out.

The point is Vinny is awful, yes, but he is a football guy. Just not a good one. We don't need spin to see that.

Posted by: themantoyou | December 11, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

SkinsfanNYC must not know too much about football then. No offense, nyc. I am confident that I could run the Skins better than Vinny is now. Cerrato is horrible, and everyone in the league knows it. Why the heck is he on the radio anyway, and not concentrating on his JOB? I am this close to giving up my subscription to DirecTV and the Redskins forever. Snyder has all but ruined this team. Been a fan my whole life, born into it, and I swear I may quit watching and investing my time and $ into this sorry a$$ franchise. 37 years of futility is what it feels like, and I'm sick of it. Why do I put in the $$ and heart year after year? Been in Atlanta the last 15 years, & at least the owner here knows his buddies are not the best option to run the team.

Posted by: sgtskins44 | December 11, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Did he really ask if a safety would go in the top five? As if there was no such person as Sean Taylor?
Posted by: StetSportsBlog | December 11, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Just passin through here, but I couldn't help but notice #36 was drafted at 6. But I feel you.

Posted by: RomoLongballs | December 11, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Is Vinny single-handedly trying to sabotage the Hoos' recruiting?

Get lost D-bag.

Posted by: TheSuperhoo | December 11, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

If Vinny is still on the payroll next year, that's it for me. If he is still the General Manager/Racquetball Partner-In-Chief/Official BFF To The Team Owner/Talk Show Personality, I will stop supporting the team in any way until he is gone.

Posted by: CommonSenseDude | December 11, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Any more starting offensive linemen at the University of Maryland this year? Maybe if we hire the Fridge as coach, we can get them all? It's all good. There is a plan. Vinny's the man.

Posted by: jburnetti | December 11, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

"offensively and stuff,"

LOLOL this sheepdip actually said "offensively and stuff,"

he ought to be bussing tables, for chrissakes, the inarticulate clod. instead he's what our team's owner gives us as a figurehead GM to cover for all his own decisions that bomb.

as a fan (close to former fan here) I'm OUT until the stupid pric owner gets a real GM to run his toy team.

Posted by: greatteamdan | December 12, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Cerrato is an idiot - this dialog only serves to portray that fact in High Def - he's clueless. If Snyder keeps this putz, this goob, this unmitigated fool on staff next year then there is no hope for improvement - he has no idea, no focus, no common sense - with hs eyes as big as they are - why can't he see ?????

Posted by: whelms | December 12, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

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