Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Redskins Hate

The Czabe sends us to this amazing item about Redskins head of football operations, Vinny Cerrato.

First, some background: In addition to being Redskins head of football operations, Vinny Cerrato was given a radio show on WTEM 980 when Redskins owner Dan Snyder bought the station. Actually, Cerrato was only given the show when the Redskins started winning earlier this season. As a radio host, Cerrato accomplished something like Pravda Radio. He managed to be uninteresting, cliched, insipid, and high-handed--all at once.

But a funny thing happened once the Redskins saw their season start to implode--Cerrato stopped showing up to do his show. The station kept advertising it. Cerrato just stopped going. Remember, it's not like he had to face tough questions or anything. He wasn't a guest--he was the host of the fucking show.

Anyway, after Sunday's loss to the 1-11-1 Bengals, Cerrato skipped his show, again, prompting Dan Steinberg to go through Cerrato's TV archives. Here's what he found:

With Inside the Red Zone off today, leaving fans without a crack at Vinny Cerrato, I thought I'd go back to the executive VP's appearance last week on Redskins Nation with Larry Michael. In addition to discussing the Portis-Zorn incident, Cerrato spoke at length on the draft, and why the Redskins went in the unusual direction they did with their second-round picks.

Here's the key point: Cerrato said drafting according to need can be a way to sink your team. "You can't just go take a need," was the exact quote. "The way that you can screw up your team is if you go draft a need, you're gonna get a bunch of guys at those positions but you're not gonna be happy with the results."

And as an example, he pointed to the poor rookie seasons of two defensive ends who some Skins fans wanted: Miami's Phillip Merling, and Arizona's Calais Campbell.

"I mean, it came down to Phillip Merling, people say that we maybe should have taken," Cerrato said. "He has seven tackles right now for Miami."

Damning. Except it's not even close to accurate.

When Cerrato said this, Merling actually had 23 tackles (17 solo) and a sack, according to For a defensive end who has started just two games, that's actually not too shabby.

By way of comparison, Jason Taylor, who's banking $8 million and cost the team two draft picks, had 22 tackles (15 solo) and 1 sack at the time Cerrato offered this explanation, although Taylor did get three tackles and another half-sack yesterday. Andre Carter, the team's most productive end, had 30 tackles (18 solo) and 3 sacks at the time Cerrato was knocking Merling's production.

"I think Calais has like 11 tackles," Cerrato said last week about another DE possibility. Not so. At the time, Calais Campbell had 19 tackles and a forced fumble. He added four more tackles yesterday, giving him 23 for the season, two fewer than Taylor. His one forced fumble is more than the entire Skins defensive line has contributed.

I'm not saying whom Cerrato should have drafted, and I'm not saying Merling or Campbell are, or will be, stars. But if you're speaking directly to your fans, providing them with "inside information" while justifying your past decisions, and you falsify facts to this incredible a degree....well, even if you don't like drafting according to need, you might want to pick up a fact-checker next season.

That's right, the guy running the Redskins organization knows about as much about football stats at a mid-level fantasy player.

Steinberg has the whole transcript if you want it.

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