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Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

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Old 03-27-2009, 10:30 AM   #1
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Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

Good Morning everyone. I just caught the last 10 minutes of Walker's interview with Cerrato on ESPN980 this morning. Here are my complete recaps from the podcast:

-The #1 thing Doc Walker wanted to know had to do with a crucial detail about our front office structure: Who has final say in personnel decisions. Vinny beat around the bush and wouldnt give a straight answer. He spoke of how Snyder, Zorn and himself go into the draft with a plan, build consensus, yada yada yada... so no one really has to make a final decision on everything, because theyve already made decisions together on what to do in any given scenario... riiiiiight. I interpretted this to mean Snyder has final say. And Cerrato specifically mentioned that Snyder doesnt watch tape or review film.

- In last years draft, the Skins "Plan A" was to draft Jarod Mayo. Since he wasnt available (alot of people were surprised New England took him so high), they went to Plan B - which was to trade down with Atlanta. Apparently, the teams had had some sort of discussion prior to the draft.

-Cerrato has hold Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, and Malcom Kelly that the team is relying on the three of them to improve the offense this year. I know I shouldnt read into it too much, but the way he said it, i got the feeling he was saying, "Look, were not doing another thing to improve our offense. Its all on you so so you're going to have to step up."

-Fred Davis is ahead of everyone else - he "got his clock fixed," he was working out at the park two weeks before everyone else, and told Cerrato he's committed to being a great player.

-If Vinny had to do it again, he would absolutely trade a 2nd and a 6th for Jason Taylor. He was a perennial pro-bowler a year past being the league MVP, and we lost two DEs on the first day of camp. We were a playoff team the previous year and had a real chance to compete in 2008. More importantly to Cerrato, when Daniels went down, the air went out of the team. Daniels was a stud, a leader, and it was like all the teams hopes shattered right there. Cerrato felt he had to do something to make the team believe again. He talked to the players (Shawn Springs, Phillip Daniels, etc.) and they said “go get him.” Doc and Cerrato both felt Taylor would have been a key contributor if he had not been hurt.

The team wanted Jason Taylor back this year and the plan was for him to play 1st and 2nd down at SAM linebacker. On 3rd down, he was going to rush the passer from all over. From Cerratos perspective, they would have really been hurting capwise if they had kept Taylor, so it was very important to him that Taylor was in a position to PLAY. They felt a lot of his problems last year were a result of his not working out with Miami in the prior offseason. Snyder and Cerrato flew down to Miami to try and convince Taylor to work out here, but we all know how that turned out.

-Vinnys Cerrato Core Beliefs on bulidng a team: Young players are critical with the salary cap. We need to build through the draft with young players and add free agents here and there. The plan this year was to add one significant free agent (Haynesworth) and keep one of our own (Hall). When Dockery got cut, we pursued him, too.

Vinny looked at a lot of tape on Dockery before signing him here. Specifically, Cerrato focused on 2007 and how Dockery played against NFC-East teams. Against Dallas, Dockery had a pro-bowl performance – he completely wore down Chris Canty. Dockery didn’t play as well in ’08 as ‘07, but both years were much better than his contract year here – ’06. Everything about Dockery is better than when he left here. Cerrato was so excited about the possibility of Dockery being available that he actually called Buffalo before they cut him to try and keep them from trading him to Detroit. The second he was cut, Dockery called Cerrato personally and said, “I wanna play there. My agents going to play tough, but don’t worry, I’ll be back.”

Before resigning DeAngelo Hall, Cerrato talked to our defensive coaches and players and asked about Halls work ethic and locker room presence – the vote was unanimous, everyone wanted Hall back. London Fletcher told Cerrato he had many conversations with Hall about his past troubles and what went on in ATL and Oakland.

Never knew Cerrato is somewhat responsible for us getting Stubby - Cerrato was in SF when Stubby was starting to “blow up” so they were trying get rid of him and trade him somewhere. Their play was to get picks to trade up in the draft to the 22nd spot with Jacksonville to draft Reynaldo Wynn. Funny how things work out. Anyway, Cerrato was very familiar with Stubby and knew he only wanted to get paid. Cerrato was obviously cautious with Haynesworth. What impressed Cerrato about Haynesworth is that he really wants to be remembered as one of the best DTs to play the game. He doesn’t just want to get paid. Cerrato tried to get Reggie White the offseason when he ended up going to Green Bay because he knew how White could change an entire defense. He sees those same things in Haynesworth. He firmly believes Haynesworth presence will change our entire defense and make everyone better. A lot of FA defensive ends are calling Cerrato because they want to play next to Haynesworth. (I cant stop thinking that Jason Taylors an idiot.)

-Orakpo won’t be there at 13.

-Andre Smith would be a “definite candidate” if he fell to 13. Cerrato talked about a lot of the mistakes Smith has made to make his draft stock and even said “I don’t know who advised him to run without his shirt on” (lol). Cerrato said what teams do at this point is they stop focusing so much on the combine and go back and look at tape, because the “tape don’t lie.” Smith is a very, very talented player and Cerrato doesn’t think Smith will be there at 13, either.

-Player Evaluation Process: The scouts come back in at the end of march and they, the coaches, and Cerrato meet regularly up until the draft. When they meet, Cerrato tells them, “you need to say what you want to say now.” He doesn’t want them leaving and talking to other staff and changing their mind. He wants them making their recommendations on the work they’ve done themselves.

The scouts make a “Tell a Story Tape” for each player the skins are considering selecting in the draft. Its not a highlight tape – it’s a tape of about 40 plays designed to show what the player’s strengths and weaknesses are. Then, they watch 3 full games of the player in action. Scott Campbell runs the projector. Cerrato takes notes. After they watch the tape, Scott will go ahead and ask everyone’s opinion on the player. Then they write one report on the player and give him an official “Redskins Grade.” Then, they move on to the next player and do the same thing. They look at all players of the same position in the same session because it makes it easier for them to compare.

-Why did the skins take Devin Thomas over Eddie Royal? The skins liked Eddie Royal alot last year. However, they already had Santana Moss and ARE and they didn’t want another little guy. In the WCO, there are a lot of slants and we needed a big guy.

-Chad Rinehart only worked out with the scout team last year and ran the other teams plays. Doc asked Cerrato why Rinehart didn’t practice at LG with the team on Wednesdays, since Kendall always sat out. Cerrato explained the teams rationale this way – they only dress 7 OL on game days. Fabini was versatile and able to play G and T. It was important to get him reps. Geisinger had to practice and dress because he was the only backup who could play center. While it would have been nice to get Rinehart more practice, hes a rookie. Rookies cant be expected to learn all 5 positions and they cant “waste” the reps on a guy who can only play one position… so Fabini got the practice reps over Rinehart. Rinehart improved dramatically in the past few weeks because he finally got to practice with the first team.

Stephon Heyer is RT. He will not play LT. Heyer needs to work on strength and fundamentals in the offseason. He is essentially unbeatable when he bends his knees and positions his hands correctly, but he keeps wanting to stand tall. Heyer is working hard on this. Cerrato essentially said that if he improves enough, the RT job is his.

Special Teams: We’re not drafting another punter. We’ll look to free agency and bring some other guys in and have competitions for both kicking spots. As a whole the other ST positions are all great. Rock was solid as a KR.

We need to improve at PR and there will be competition at that spot. That’s why we went after Dorsey from the CFL. Santana Moss LOVES returning punts and the plan is for him to do that atleast 1-2 times per game. (I imagine the new rules passed this week to protect return guys from injury had a lot to do with this decision.)

3rd Running Back: We got Alridge because hes a great 3rd down back. After he was cut by Denver, Cerrato called them and they told him to get Alridge because he was the fastest guy they’d ever seen (he got hurt so they IRed him). He (and Dorsey) are going to compete with Rock for the 3rd RB spot. They are explosive “Sproeles-type guys” and that’s what the team needs now.

Further FA moves: The sign on the door at Redskins park says, “Veteran Minimum Only.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ok, thats it. If you want to listen yourself, you can find the podcasts here:

ESPN 980 - Home of the Redskins

Last edited by BigHairedAristocrat; 03-27-2009 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:40 AM   #2
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

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Originally Posted by BigHairedAristocrat View Post
...
-The #1 thing Doc Walker wanted to know had to do with a crucial detail about our front office structure: Who has final say in personnel decisions. Vinny beat around the bush and wouldnt give a straight answer. He spoke of how Snyder, Zorn and himself go into the draft with a plan, build consensus, yada yada yada... so no one really has to make a final decision on everything, because theyve already made decisions together on what to do in any given scenario... riiiiiight. I interpretted this to mean Snyder has final say. And Cerrato specifically mentioned that Snyder doesnt watch tape or review film.

...
Why is this so hard for people to believe. Do people think that the head of any major business makes every final say? If JZ and VC are saying player x makes the most sense, who here thinks DS will overrule them? and the same could be said in any other combination obviously. I agree it's within DS' discretion to overrule them, but I bet you, you won't find one instance of it, or even the appearance of it.

Thanks for the info though BHA!
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:43 AM   #3
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

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Why is this so hard for people to believe. Do people think that the head of any major business makes every final say? If JZ and VC are saying player x makes the most sense, who here thinks DS will overrule them? and the same could be said in any other combination obviously. I agree it's within DS' discretion to overrule them, but I bet you, you won't find one instance of it, or even the appearance of it.

Thanks for the info though BHA!
Makes sense to me. Not sure why he would lie about it. Guess it's just the easy thing to hate on Snyder and assume he's pulling the strings.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:53 AM   #4
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

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Why is this so hard for people to believe. Do people think that the head of any major business makes every final say? If JZ and VC are saying player x makes the most sense, who here thinks DS will overrule them? and the same could be said in any other combination obviously. I agree it's within DS' discretion to overrule them, but I bet you, you won't find one instance of it, or even the appearance of it.

Thanks for the info though BHA!
Well DS obviously has the right, but the reason I dont like it is because Vinny wouldnt just come out and say it. Why not just say Snyder has final say? We're not stupid so don't treat us as if we are, you know?
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:03 AM   #5
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

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Well DS obviously has the right, but the reason I dont like it is because Vinny wouldnt just come out and say it. Why not just say Snyder has final say? We're not stupid so don't treat us as if we are, you know?
The guy who signs the checks ALWAYS has the final say. It's the Golden Rule. He who has the gold....rules.

Bottom line is that outside of when he first bought the team (and even then he was influenced heavily by P. Rodgers), Snyder has given the coaches what they've asked for. These bad personnel decisions lead back to bad decision making by coaches (Arch - Williams, ARE & Lloyd - Saunders, every player brought in by Spurrier). Gibbs, while a great coach, was not a GM, he had Bobby Bethard in the first run. Vinny is now the GM. We are only in the second year of him being fully responsible for everything.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:08 AM   #6
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

Mayo would have been a great pick.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:09 AM   #7
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

sounds to me like the in between the lines message was that should an elite OT fall to 13th, we would look at him long and hard, but the FO is gearing up for a difference maker on defense again. They will probably adress an y offensive concerns in the later rounds...mistake?
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:31 AM   #8
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

Nice post BHA. Not a whole lot there that I have a problem with. Nice to know we were looking at Mayo, wish we could of got him. I think Davis is going to add more to this offense this year as well as Kelly and Thomas. I understand the thinking about JT though I wasn't crazy about the move. Also glad to hear he understands the importance of getting younger. As far as who has the final say, the owner always doe's, but it's a bad owner in any business who doe's not hire good people and listen to them when it comes to decision making. He could come out and say DS has final say, but that may imply he's more involved in the selection process than he actually is. He said Danny doesn't watch tape or review film. Sounds alright to me.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:46 AM   #9
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

Thanks for the post BHA, good info.

As for the front office structure, in the glory days, Beathard & Gibbs discussed/debated players, both in trades & drafts + overall future strategy. When the two couldn't agree Cooke made the final decision. That worked out quite well!

I too have been quick to dis the danny about his 'meddling', but I also have to agree w/Slingin Sammy, who notes that DS has given what the coaches asked for. I mean does anybody really think signing Danny Weurful (sp?), Jacquez Green,Trung Canidate & Shane Matthews were Snyder's idea?

In fact, I challenge anyone to find a more ridiculous class of signings over the past 25 years by any team. And it happened because Snyder let Spurrier bring his Gator all stars/ nfl journeymen here.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:03 PM   #10
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

I think there's 2 major things I take from this in the redskins draft strategy, (also considering recent draft history):
1. Plan A - they target one player with their first pick. And possibly trying to trade up to get that player. They seem to put in a lot of work and research for the first pick.
2. Plan B - they trade down to get additional picks.

I think the redskins personnel team may be doing a better job than we think. They seem to be getting better and moving in a positive direction. They are making mistakes, but I think they learn from most of them. I can't be mad at the progress they've made, but one thing that I think they still need to learn is - valuing their draft picks more when it comes to decisions that lead to trades like Jason Taylor. I admit I thought it was a good trade at the time, but now I must admit it was a mistake. You can't go back and undo mistakes like this, but I think you must first admit that they were mistakes and then learn from them.

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Old 03-27-2009, 12:03 PM   #11
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

Zorn pretty much confirmed that he definitely knows what goes on in the FO in that Maske recap....
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:05 PM   #12
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

- It's interesting how often Cerrato talked about how he got the players' input re: Jason Taylor and DeAngelo Hall (whether to go after them/keep them), but he didn't talk as much about getting the coaches' input.

- Another mention of Devin Clark (strange)

- Won't draft a punter...which some of course will say means that they will

- Need to improve punt returns (seemed to indicate Dorsey has a good shot). Also, talked about Anthony Alridge (I think he has potential as a 3rd down back)

- Offering Vet Min deals only right now to free agents (as the Warpath crowd laughs in the background)
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:15 PM   #13
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

I hope Thomas, Kelly, and Davis have great years. If they don't, I guess we're screwed. Stephon Heyer's body position won't matter much.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:18 PM   #14
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

They are going to re-air clips of the int in about 5 minutes on espn980 on the Doc, and Kevin show
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:26 PM   #15
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Re: Doc Walker One-on-One Interview with Vinny Cerrato

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Originally Posted by BigHairedAristocrat View Post

- In last years draft, the Skins "Plan A" was to draft Jarod Mayo. Since he wasnt available (alot of people were surprised New England took him so high), they went to Plan B - which was to trade down with Atlanta. Apparently, the teams had had some sort of discussion prior to the draft.

Stephon Heyer is RT. He will not play LT. Heyer needs to work on strength and fundamentals in the offseason. He is essentially unbeatable when he bends his knees and positions his hands correctly, but he keeps wanting to stand tall. Heyer is working hard on this. Cerrato essentially said that if he improves enough, the RT job is his.
First of all, great recap BHA, thanks for doing that. I think people need to begin to accept that Heyer is likely to be our starting RT on opening day. I don't get the sense that we are looking to draft a tackle, put him on the right side and then convert him to a LT down the road (Smith, Oher, etc.). If anything we're going to draft a RT or interior lineman in the 3rd round.

Also since OLB was our top priority last year and we didn't get one AND cut our starting OLB this year, what do you think the focus will be next month? He's pretty much putting it out there to expect us to go OLB at #13.

No talk about Campbell and the lack of an extension?
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