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Remembering Vinny Cerrato

(By John McDonnell - TWP)

Eight things that I will never forget about the Vinny Cerrato Era. And yeah, this is dancing on the grave, but when a guy refuses to speak to the local media while interviewing ESPN personalities on his own radio show, you officially have permission to dance.

1) Drafting three pass catchers in the second round of the 2008 draft. Yes, they're now playing very well, but more than anything else, that bizarre day is Cerrato's lasting legacy in my mind.

"We were not going to jump down a round or two rounds to go get a need," Cerrato said that day. "We were going to take the best players. So, saying that, Fred Davis was the best player on our board at the time we took him. And after Fred went and a couple of guys went, Malcolm Kelly was the only guy with a first-round grade. He stuck out like a sore thumb. It was an obvious choice for us."

More than a year later, that still doesn't make any sense.

2) Kindergarten Ninja. Good heavens, the man starred as Sergeant Antonelli in a movie called Kindergarten Ninja, and he was as bad as all that would suggest. Plus, when I put the clip on YouTube, he had a Skins PR guy call me to complain. Next time, call yourself, Sarge.

3) The iconic images of him sitting next to Daniel Snyder, watching training camp. There are many of these.

"It was a unique relationship between Vinny and the owner, obviously," Larry Michael said on ESPN 980 Thursday morning. True, that.

4) Durant Brooks. A punter. He drafted a punter. Who was cut by mid-season.

5) The Jason Taylor acquisition. This really deteriorated the relationship between Cerrato and the local media, when Cerrato lied about having discussions with the Dolphins and later seemed to brag about his lie.

And more than that, Cerrato--after trading two draft picks for Taylor--said this.

"I'm 100 percent positive he will play longer than one year," was the quote. False, as it turned out.

6) Kindergarten Ninja. Yeah, again. Sue me. It was that good. Look at those guns.

7) Inside the Red Zone. A weekly dose of wisdom, freebased directly from Vinny's brain to your ears, via ESPN 980. I'll just quote one bit of dialog, from back when he used to take phone calls.

Caller: "Good morning. First of all congratulations Vinny, great win."

Radio Host / Executive Vice President of Football Operations: "Yup, you know what, every win's a great win. You know, because they're hard, they're very hard to come by. You know, who would have thought St. Louis does what they did to Dallas? You know what I mean, there's upsets every week. And, because, you know why, these guys are paid, everybody has paid professionals, everybody has draft picks playing. So, it's, there's a lot of mental part of this game. Sorry to interrupt."

8) His final press release. I'm sorry, all of the above stuff is cheap and petty, and I probably shouldn't go there. But Cerrato's cravenly final press release really trumps anything I've done. This part, especially:

I've had the pleasure of working with some great coaches such as Joe Gibbs, Greg Blache and Sherman Lewis, great people on the Redskins staff, and, most especially, some of the best professional football players in the world. I wish them all the best.

You, Vinny, hired Jim Zorn. And this is what you said at the time:

"It was a name that came back and all the people we talked to -- we talked to a lot of people, probably 50-60 people about Jim Zorn -- there was not one negative comment from anybody. Fabulous coach, great guy, great teacher. He had a plan. Every question and every situation he was prepared for."

Fine, he didn't work out. But to kneecap him in midseason? And then to do him like that on the way out? That, I won't forget.

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 17, 2009; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Is the Burgundy Revolution over?


Xmas comes early! Vinny is gone! I was worried Danny Boy was going to take over a la Jerry jones, but it looks like we may have a real GM.

Dan, YOU are a big part of this victory of the Burgandy Revolution. Never forget that. Your name will be in the history books!

Posted by: Leeguru | December 17, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: JDP_ | December 17, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

So since Bruce Allen (son of George Sr., Brother of George Jr.) is the new GM in DC, I suggest it's time to finally get rid of the name "Redskins". I suggest something completely inoffensive, like the Washington Macacas.

Posted by: mlewis222 | December 17, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

You tell 'em, Dan! :)

I always thought Vinny needed a few sessions with a speech therapist, or else just some remedial classes in public speaking. I was aghast that he represented the public face/voice of my favorite football team. :p

Posted by: blackjack65 | December 17, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Bruce Allen is the new GM. I mean GM and Linebackers coach. I mean GM, Linebackers coach, and head coach. I mean...

I hope this is all part of a good plan instead leaping to the next rock in the lake because its the closest one instead of the one that will get you all the way across.

Posted by: rsmskc | December 17, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather unremember him if at all possible. But until that time I can, I will DANCE.

*breaks out the tap shoes*

Posted by: walkdwalk | December 17, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

A real secure GM works and doesn't need to do a radio show, sit with the owner, and chop off Jim Zorn, throwing him under the bus, saying you gave him a playoff roster.

You hired Zorn and you should have manned up about it... leaving the way you did, only serves to reveal more that Vinny is more about Vinny than the Redskins.

Posted by: RedskinRay1 | December 17, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Also Bruce Allen needs to have agreed he is not doing that stupid radio show...

Secondly, is Bruce willing to cut some older veterans, and willing to trade down twice so we can pick up three or four picks?

Posted by: RedskinRay1 | December 17, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

That photo directly under the first caption always makes me LOL.

I seriously hope he doesn't give up his communications career. The world seriously needs more of Vinnie's methamphetabytes of wisdom.

Posted by: jbanks979 | December 17, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Word to point #8. Classless.

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

Great coaches - Gibbs and Sherm Lewis.

I didn't know Sherm Lewis was headed to the Hall of Fame????

Posted by: charley42 | December 17, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't this Bog be titled "Forgetting Vinny" b/c remembering him is the last thing I want to do.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | December 17, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

We always joked about this whenever we heard his name, and it's especially fun today.

Cerrato. Abierto!

Posted by: bryc3 | December 17, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: BrooklynSkins | December 17, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

How bout that first picture? It's one thing for it to appear on the bog---no issue with that. But for it to be the lead picture on the Post's homepage? Come on. I love how the Post doesn't try to hide its contempt for Vinny.

Fish. Wrap.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 17, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

There is a Santa Claus!. I called this last week in an email response to Dan. Not sure if I'd like Gruden. Zorn has kept them motivated for the past few weeks, but the radical turnaround to a coach like "Chuckie" would be interesting to watch. The "D" is most competent; I'd like to think that we could find a nore offensive mided person who could trust Campbell and the young wideouts. Maybe we could add a new owner to the Christmas Wish List?????

Posted by: pruerj | December 17, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Jim Zorn > Vinny Cerrato

Posted by: DocHolliday1906 | December 17, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse


how can you forget the TJ DUCKET trade????

I demand that you add that to the list. ADD IT!!!! TJ DUCKET???? MARK BRUNNELL????

These guys were a second away from becoming free agents and the Redskins coughed up 3rd round picks!!!!!

These are the trades that caused us not to have an offensive line.

Posted by: thesquire2 | December 17, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

That's Dan Steinberg, not Snyder.

Posted by: pruerj | December 17, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse


Vinny: Dan, I know of a receiver that makes acrobatic catches...the fans love that stuff...AND...he can RAP!!!

Dan: Does he have corn rows?

Vinny: Yeah, and he can RAP!!!!

Dan: Pay the man, let's get him in the burgundy and black...sounds like the next Gary Clark

Vinny: Done deal. I promise he will not be like Taylor Jacobs...I promise!

Posted by: thesquire2 | December 17, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah..Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye

I guess he lost the pictures of Snyder and Cruise or least Dan called his bluff.

Posted by: timchadwick | December 17, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

LOL! What a great post Dan. You tore Vinny a new one, and it was well-deserved and waaay overdue. You really hit the nail on his TERRIBLE personnel decisions:

1. "We were not going to jump down a round or two rounds to go get a need" (Great football philosophy. According to Vinny, football IS NOT a team sport)

4. Durant Brooks

5. Jason Taylor

8. This one "[sticks] out like a sore thumb." He picked Zorn and believed that he could be the future, but he immediately undermines Zorn by failing to provide the coach with what the team "need[s]," and now that he's leaving, he tries to wash the blood off his hands. What a despicable man.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | December 17, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I want to congratulate every one of you out there in the Burgundy Revolution who worked to make this happen, holding dangerous, eye-gouging signage, typing vitriolic comments into the interweb, calling in to the talk shows, always representing our demand for change and dissatisfaction with the ennui of mind-numbing mediocrity that was Vincent Cerrato.

Posted by: minorthread | December 17, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

T.J Duckett, now that was great signing!!!!!!!

Posted by: joeboggs | December 17, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Is Kindergarten Ninja on DVD? Seriously, I have to rent that, now.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 17, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

So Durant Brooks finally gets his comeuppance.

/slow clap

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | December 17, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

What about Adam Archuleta? Now that was a great signing.

Posted by: theBIGC_1982 | December 17, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

well done steinz. was the plot of kindergarten ninja that drug dealers were recruiting kindergarteners to sell drugs? AWESOME

but hey, nobody messes with our precint.

at last now vinny can get back to his first love: acting

Posted by: jpfterps | December 17, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Barno1, now that you're no longer working for the Redskins, can you tell us if we can expect to see you in Kindergarten Ninja 2?

Posted by: mgonter | December 17, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance!

Posted by: KarK | December 17, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

There is joy in Mudville after all! After the mighty Vinny Casey struck out, he left town!

Posted by: 1of9000 | December 17, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Vuck Finny and the horse he rode in on. May the Prince George's Macacas find a
O lineman or two under the Kawanzaa tree.

Posted by: habibhaddad | December 17, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I've had a theory for years (based on the fact that the dumba** owner in Cowpoke land is smarter than the dumba** owner we have here), that Vinny was secretly working for Jerry Jones, infiltrating Danny-boys inner circle to tear the Redskins apart from the inside.
What I had not realized is that he was a trained operative. Wonder if the CIA has "the ninja files" hidden, or if there are any other materials available....

Posted by: Darthvier88 | December 17, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I like how the picture was changed...seems the Post finally came to their senses.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 17, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Remembering Vinny Cerrato?"

No one wants to remember Vinny, we want to forget him as soon as we can!

Posted by: DaveLopan | December 17, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I still think Zorns a great coach and should have another year. I think his play calling was his biggest problem and thatcan be fixed. The players like him and we need continuity. Ane anyone that says JC should go is out of their fricking mind.

Posted by: gelehu | December 17, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I'd request all future shots of vinnie include the guns and the six dollar cop uniform

Posted by: jbanks979 | December 17, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Remembering Vinny? Can't we just try and forget!

Posted by: BKCT | December 17, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

no more Mini-me...

Posted by: live1 | December 17, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

In the post-Cerrato euphoria, the fact that Snyder still owns the team may get lost in the celebration. But the fundamental problem is still there, and the Skins won't win with meddling Snyder at the helm.

Joe Gibbs "knew the heritage of the team" and was still a failure. Best of luck to Bruce Allen - he needs to practice up on that Heisman pose for when Snyder comes around.

Posted by: Punisher703 | December 17, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg is really bashing Vinny, but really Vinny only made one huge mistake: Zorn. He made quite a few smaller ones (ie letting Gibbs spend like a drunk sailor, to much emphasis on big names, mediocre drafts, bringing in Lewis to late), but is Allen going to be any better?

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | December 17, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

So ends the "Vinny" era and just like the finale of the Sopranos, fade to black and Vinny in the dark.

Posted by: bernsteinsj | December 17, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Duckett, Archuletta, Floyd, Brooks, Taylor, ... All those and a few more would be enough to confirm a lack of personnel skills, but let's top it off with the fact that Vinny had THREE choices in the second round two years ago and the Philadelphia Eagles still managed to pick DeSean Jackson immediately after the Redskins THIRD pick that day!

Which one of those guys would you NOT trade for DeSean??!!

Posted by: wmcdonald1 | December 17, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Duckett, Archuletta, Floyd, Brooks, Taylor, ... All those and a few more would be enough to confirm a lack of personnel skills, but let's top it off with the fact that Vinny had THREE choices in the second round two years ago and the Philadelphia Eagles still managed to pick DeSean Jackson immediately after the Redskins THIRD pick that day!

Which one of those guys would you NOT trade for DeSean??!!

But Vinny said they wanted big receivers! DeSean Jackson is not big. They already have a small WR/PR in Randle El.

Posted by: jesuisunpizza | December 17, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, and how is THAT working out for them...

Posted by: wmcdonald1 | December 17, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

"Vuck Finny"


that is so great, kudos to whomever came up with that one!

Posted by: greatteamdan | December 17, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Vinny, oh how i'll miss you, buddy :-(
Let me count the ways: Steve Spurrier, Deion Sanders, Jason Taylor, Jeff George, Archuleta, Durant Brooks, Suisham, Bruce Smith, Brandon Lloyd, and the list goes on.
Finally, after 5 years of wishing, I got my Christmas wish. Now, if only Danny boy will let Allen do his job...

Posted by: Afghandude | December 17, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Get that picture of Vinny driving Danny around in the golf cart and the story from the Post a few years ago where Vinny was going to get Danny's pasta.

It's nice to see Zorn and Campbell get the last laugh on this knucklehead crew - Cerrato and Snyder. I won't trust anything Snyder does until he delivers results over time.

Posted by: i155133 | December 17, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

My God - that clip from that movie was beyond awful! I'd pay his salary to come back to the Redskins if he EVER decides to go back into acting!!!

Posted by: spqr2k | December 17, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: pharrrrtt | December 17, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I know I've already posted three times in this thread, but I can't contain myself.

Nobody messes with our precinct, NOBODY!

Posted by: jbanks979 | December 18, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

After all he did for this team, I mean he dedicated his LIFE to trying to make the Redskins winners. He brought good players and some great seasons. Not many. All right, but he did bring some. A few. Well, okay, really just one good season, went two games into the playoffs. Then the coach quit. But he's such a great guy. I really miss Vinny, and we're gonna be SORRY when he's gone.

Just joking. Man what a load.

Posted by: kls1 | December 18, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: blazerguy234 | December 18, 2009 2:26 AM | Report abuse

First Tigger and now Vinnie The Pooh! Is there no shelter for hubris anymore?

Posted by: wiseoldude | December 18, 2009 4:54 AM | Report abuse

Danny boy must have got Bruce Allen to agree to play Danny boy in some games. I think that is Danny boy's fantasy, to actually play in the games. In the game day program, they have a picture of Danny boy holding the ball like a qb. Watch out Jason, Danny might be telling his new coach to put him in.

Posted by: sruppert | December 18, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

I get that you want to blame Vinny for some of the bad drafting/decisions. But have you seen Bruce Allen's draft record? I don't want to be a wet blanket, but I don't know if Allen is any improvement than Vinny.

Posted by: al_kohaulic | December 18, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

He looks like a deer in headlights in that picture...

Posted by: rusty6 | December 18, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

ESPN980 reported this morning that he'll be a "consultant" to Dan snyder and still be on the payroll. This virus is still going to be hanging around Ashburn!

Posted by: rusty6 | December 18, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Vinny getting out of here kinda makes me feel like the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz in the beginning when the house falls on the wicked witch - THE WITCH IS DEAD THE WITCH IS DEAD blah blah blah THE WITCH IS DEAD!!! Its a great day to be a Skins fan no matter what happens from this point - VINNY SUCKED

Posted by: scottmando | December 18, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

FYI Kindergarden Ninja is available on Netfix. I queued it up this morning

Posted by: minchikm | December 18, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"We have a plan, we know what we're doing."

-Vincent Cerrato (circa 2003)

Posted by: c_e_daniel | December 18, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Hey Bruce, if you could, would you somehow make the marblemouthed wonder Larry Michael disappear and bring back Frank Herzog?

Gone are the days when turning down the tv to listen to '2 Grumpy old men and a referee' was a Skins gameday ritual.

Oh, and move OSACKPO to DE fulltime, pick up some Linemen, 2DB's and a real Safety while you're at it...

Thanks in Advance

Posted by: kahlua87 | December 18, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

the only way i choose to remember the Vinny is as a cautionary tale for any organization, business or otherwise, regarding the perils of putting a sycophant in charge of doing anything except fetching coffee.

Posted by: mdrockjock | December 18, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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