Cerrato Resigns

December 17, 2009 by  

Cerrato Resigns:Vinny Cerrato has resigned as the Redskins’ executive vice-president of football operations, the team has announced.

“We agreed that the franchise needs someone different in this position,” Cerrato said in a statement released by the Redskins this morning. “I’m thankful to Dan Snyder and other members of this ownership team for the opportunities I’ve been given over the years.”

“Of course I am disappointed with this year’s results, but I strongly believe that with outstanding picks and encouraging performance by our younger players, we have laid a strong foundation for the franchise.”

Cerrato has served two stints with the team, and assumed the title of executive vice president of a football operations on Jan. 22, 2008, following the resignation of Joe Gibbs. He played a central role in the team’s hiring of Coach Jim Zorn and has effectively served as the team’s general manager since that time, charged with building a roster that might snap the franchise’s 17-year Super Bowl drought.

Asked Oct. 27 if he felt he’d given the Redskins’ coaching staff a playoff roster, Cerrato said, “Yes.”

But with a 4-9 record heading into Monday night’s game against the New York Giants, any postseason hopes are deferred at least one more year.

Cerrato hasn’t spoken publicly with local reporters since that Oct. 27 meeting. He acknowledged at the time that accountability would be a prevalent theme around Redskins Park.

“I got to look at myself, we got to look at everybody and we got to just go out now and you know what you got to do — you got to get to better day to day, week to week,” he said. “And that’s what it’s about, it’s about improving each game. It’s one game at a time, one day at a time.”

This season Cerrato has been especially active, as injuries have plagued the Redskins. They’ve already put 10 players on injured reserves. In last Sunday’s win over Oakland – the team’s most dominant since Cerrato’s promotion in January 2008 – the Redskins starting lineup featured only five offensive player who started Week 1. The team has been forced to acquire players midseason – such as tackle Levi Brown and running back Quinton Ganther – who are now starting.

Cerrato’s biggest shakeup came in the early weeks of the season. With Zorn’s offense struggling, Cerrato brought Sherm Lewis out of retirement on Oct. 6 as an offensive consultant. Two weeks later, Cerrato stripped Zorn of his play-calling duties and handed them to Lewis. In recent weeks, with Lewis and offensive coordinator Sherman Smith, sharing the responsibility, the offense has improved, posting two straight games with 30 or more points, the team’s most prolific scoring outings under Zorn.

In his statement this morning, Cerrato singled out some of the coaches he has worked with but made no mention of Zorn.

“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 professionall football players in the world,” Cerrato said. “I wish them all the best. I’ve also had the privilege of working for a franchise supported by the most loyal fans in the NFL.”

Cerrato and team owner Daniel M. Snyder enjoyed a close relationship and conferred on most major decisions that involved the team.

“More importantly, he is my friend, and he has always been there for me and the Redskins,” Snyder said in the statement. “He’s the consummate optimist and has always made decisions based on what would be the best for the team.”

While players and people around the organization have acknowledged that the team could undergo major changes in the offseason, the timing of today’s resignation caught many off-guard. Cerrato had acknowledged that Redskins employees are constantly being evaluated.

“I feel like my job’s on the line all the time,” he said Oct. 27. “It’s not something that I really worry about. My job is to get us going, to fill these holes when guys get hurt. Things take care of themselves after the season. I don’t worry about those things.”

Cerrato’s fingerprints are all over the current Redskins squad. As the director of player personnel and vice president of football operations, he was responsible for the drafting of quarterback Jason Campbell, tight end Chris Cooley, cornerback Carlos Rogers and safety LaRon Landry (during the tenure of Gibbs). He also helped engineer trades that brought in Clinton Portis and Santana Moss. Cerrato is also credited with free acquisitions, such as defensive end Andre Carter, linebacker London Fletcher, guard Derrick Dockery and Albert Haynesworth, perhaps the team’s biggest free-agent splash, with a $100-million price tag attached to the All-Pro defensive tackle.

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