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Is Vinny Cerrato's problem really public relations?

In a wide-ranging interview transcribed by Dan Steinberg for D.C. Sports Bog of the Washington Post, D.C. media veteran George Michael gave his opinion on a number of Redskins-related topics on the Mike Wise radio show. 

The entire transcript is fascinating and Michael has a unique viewpoint from his time around the team and his admittedly close relationship with owner Dan Snyder. But if Michael is a friend of Snyder’s, he certainly said a few things that would make his friend/boss feel uncomfortable. 

Asked if Vinny Cerrato was a capable talent evaluator, Michael said the following.

“Oh, there’s no ifs buts or ands,” Michael said. “I mean, I know that
for a fact, I know that from other people around the league. Here’s the
problem Mike — and God, I can’t believe I’m telling all this
truth — Vinny Cerrato is a zero when it comes to public
relations and building relationships with people in the world.”

Wow.

“I’m
sorry. My Good God,” Michael continued. “[Cerrato] doesn’t ask why don’t people like me, but you’ve
got to go out and you’ve got to do things . . . I feel bad that Cerrato
has not gone out and tried to build these relationships.”

The Redskins have a complicated relationship with the local media that others could speak more intelligently about, and it’s hard to argue that their public relations is poor.  The team’s fanbase is predictably unhappy with the team’s recent run of so-so play.

But it’s also hard to argue that whoever is making personnel decisions for Washington is a great talent evaluator. Michael admits that Cerrato isn’t always calling the shots.

“Let me tell you the truth: Dan [Snyder] does make I think most of those
big-type decisions,” Michael said. “He says ‘Let’s get this guy, let’s
get that guy.’ And the guy that takes the heat for it — and it’s why I
think he’s never gotten fired — is Vinny Cerrato.”

Yikes. No matter how much Snyder wants to win, it seems pretty obvious that this is not a successful way to run a football operation in 2009. It rarely works for Mike Brown of the Bengals and his father was Paul freaking Brown, perhaps the greatest innovator in football history.

There seems to be a theory that the Washington roster is one of the league’s most talented, but few outside of Redskins headquarters would agree with that sentiment.  Most would say it’s a mediocre roster with a quickly aging offensive line and very little depth.

And while it isn’t fair to coach Jim Zorn, he’ll ultimately be the one who takes the blame.

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24 Responses to “Is Vinny Cerrato's problem really public relations?”
  1. dmackerman says: Oct 2, 2009 12:43 PM

    Cerrato really is a zero and needs to go. But as mentioned, Danny really is the problem. He needs to put his giant ego aside and realize, for one second, that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.
    PS. Everybody look for the brown paper bags over fans heads at this Sunday’s game. Courtesy of 106.7.

  2. Hap says: Oct 2, 2009 12:44 PM

    In Washedupington, it’s the blind leading the blind. And, the fish stinks from the head down.

  3. DC Vikings Fan says: Oct 2, 2009 12:46 PM

    George Michael is a homer, first class. He can try to make it sound like Cerrato’s problem is his personality, but the evidence of his and Snyder’s football acumen is on the field 16 weeks per year.
    I also enjoy the cosmic justice for the team continuing to use that racist name. For those of you who want to claim otherwise, when has a reference to skin color ever been positive? That includes the terms “redneck” and “white trash.”

  4. Debacled says: Oct 2, 2009 12:48 PM

    Welcome back to the Sportsmachine…

  5. SlimPickens says: Oct 2, 2009 1:04 PM

    I love George Michael. That video ‘Freedom 90′ helped me to have relations with myself

  6. texasPHINSfan says: Oct 2, 2009 1:17 PM

    yikes.
    so basically snyder is a jerry jones that doesn’t want the public appearance as such.
    i used to think cerrato was what was dragging that organization down… i guess now we know the truth. cerrato is just snyder’s “fall guy”, eh?
    sad.

  7. downwithdansnyder says: Oct 2, 2009 1:21 PM

    I would LOVE to have Dannyboy Snyder in my fantasy league. It would be like playing the Lions…ohh wait a minute….

  8. Ocelot138 says: Oct 2, 2009 1:22 PM

    “There seems to be a theory that the Washington roster is one of the league’s most talented, but few outside of Redskins headquarters would agree with that sentiment.”
    And don’t forget Mike Florio, who thought they were so talented, he picked them to make the Superbowl. Clown.

  9. isonic1 says: Oct 2, 2009 1:25 PM

    Is the name Sexual Chocolate bad?

  10. BDiddy says: Oct 2, 2009 1:26 PM

    “Is Vinny Cerrato’s problem really public relations?”
    No, but it is true that he also sucks at PR.

  11. Mangy66 says: Oct 2, 2009 1:28 PM

    Moreso than any team I have followed in the past, this team needs a complete makeover.
    Jason Campbell won’t be back no matter how he plays this year.
    Clinton Portis is loveable, and did a lot for this team, but his schtik, and his running style have gotten old and predictable.
    Santana Moss will have a big week here and there, but should be a #2 receiver.
    The offensive line stinks.
    Our DE’s stink even more.
    LaRon Landry will always be overrated in my book until her realizes that you can’t make tackles with only your shoulders (Stanley Richard wannabe).
    Carlos Rogers and DeAngelo Hall have blown this season.
    Also…Landry and Rogers cannot catch a ball if it’s handed to them. they might as well have clubs for hands.
    Chris Cooley, Haynesworth and the other DTs and the starting LBs are the only players on this squad worth keeping.

  12. dcfan-1212450 says: Oct 2, 2009 1:39 PM

    The Redskins problem is absolutely the owner. No doubt. Cerrato is the fall guy, but does not have the balls to stand up to Snyder. And Snyer is too much a fan of the team to be a good owner. He is in depth into every decision. Even his idol, Joe Gibbs, couldn’t show him the way. Gibbs would always say the reason he was a great coach is because he surrounded himself with great coaches. If Snyder surrounded himself with a really good GM and President, stayed out of everyones way, and signed the checks, the Skins could easily be a top tier team. Unfortunately i see that as likely as me dating Megan Fox…

  13. downwithdansnyder says: Oct 2, 2009 1:43 PM

    Anyone that thinks PR is Cerrato’s only problem. Google Cerrato’s draft history. It’s not pretty as one would expect. There are a few good picks in the many drafts he’s run, but hey you know what they say about blind squirrels….

  14. Beezer says: Oct 2, 2009 1:44 PM

    “There seems to be a theory that the Washington roster is one of the league’s most talented.” Whose theory is that? The only person that believes that is Mike Florio and Joe Theismann.
    They have no depth anywhere on the roster due to their past decisions to signs big name players and trading away draft picks.
    At QB Jason Campbell has tools but he does not have the accuracy or decision making ability to ever become a good starting QB.
    At running back Clinton Portis has been overused and already seems to be wearing down. Ladell Betts is a good number two back.
    At Wide receiver Santana Moss is still a great receiver but is getting up there in age. Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas have not shown much despite solid training camps. Randle-El is a great slot receiver.
    TE – Chris Cooley is a great tight end in this league and is a favorite target of Campbell. Fred Davis has not shown much to warrant a 2nd round pick. Still confused why the skins used a 2nd on him when they could have addressed the oline
    OL- Samuels ia very good left tackle but has suffered several injuries over the past few years. Derrick Dockery is a good run blocker but the rest of the line is average at best. Not including Randy Thomas who is on IR.
    Their defense is very good because they have one of the league’s best running back corps to go along with a very good defensive line.
    Secondary – Laron Landry is one of the league’s premier safeties but their corners are very inconsistent. DeAngelo Hall is loaded with talent but is one of the league’s most overrated players. He is very weak agains the run and his tackling is poor. He makes several spectacular interceptions during the season but that is because he takes way to many chances and gets beat often. Carlos Rogers is great at times but he is very inconsistent.

  15. NagaSwan says: Oct 2, 2009 1:50 PM

    oh my god that is the best interview ever.
    BTW “So, why, then, have things gone so badly from a PR standpoint?
    ‘It’s Dan’s fault…and that’s a shame,'”
    Snyder gets the blame for the PR too, not just the shitty talent evaluation.

  16. rockotica says: Oct 2, 2009 1:57 PM

    who cares about vinny cerrato? what about vinne favalee? late night east coast even #’d days programmer for cbs during a full moon? riding a bus, whispering. oh my debbie!

  17. skigle1 says: Oct 2, 2009 1:59 PM

    I did use to tune in for Plays of the Month every last Sunday of the month.
    The name of the team has been around FOREVER!! It’s not racist…

  18. HappyBunny says: Oct 2, 2009 2:46 PM

    Wow, things must really be bad for the most homeristic “journalist” George Michael (wait, I forgot about Larry “Adware” Micheal and Joe “Thee”sman) to rag on them.
    AND Cerrato’s one “good” pick from last year (the 7th rounder actually discovered by a team scout), Chris Horton, just got benched by Blache.
    Way to go, guys!

  19. Hovenaut says: Oct 2, 2009 2:47 PM

    Vinny Retarddo, NFL exec, non pareleil. Somewhere Bobby Beathard is lol’ing.
    When Marty Schottenheimer was in D.C. for a couple of days, he got rid of this ass-clown. Maybe Vinny thought Dan (I’ve got a golden ticket) S. would give him a callback soon enough, which eventually did happen.
    But when he was shown the door that brief, shining moment, there was NO OTHER NFL TEAM REMOTELY INTERESTED IN THE SERVICES OF VINNY CERRATO, NFL EXECUTIVE. Not a coincedence, I’m sure.
    Can we get Bill Parcells on the horn? And let him know how enticing D.C. looks in 2010?

  20. Hoops says: Oct 2, 2009 2:57 PM

    Vinny Cerrato can evaluate talent? Are you freaking kidding me? Where should I start on all the catastrophic mistakes this guy has made.
    He let Ryan Clark go and signed Adam Archuleta. Clark didn’t even want that much money and loved playing in DC. He is now a starting safety for the steelers, on arguably one of the greatest defenses ever last year and won a super bowl. Archuleta got signed to the highest contract EVER for a safety and didn’t even start the entire year. Goon got demoted to special teams and isn’t even in the league anymore. He’s actually playing with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL….Cerrato can evaluate talent…what a joke.
    He brought in Brandon Lloyd, paid him a mint, and dude was a complete bust. He could have resigned Antonio Pierce, who is a stud linebacker and wanted to remain with the Redskins. Instead he let him go to the Giants, start for their Defense and he wins a super bowl (seeing a pattern here).
    None of the high draft picks from two years ago (Kelly, Davis, & Thomas) have done anything to substantiate such a high pick. Cerrato is a joke and needs to get banned from Redskins park FOREVER.

  21. DC Vikings Fan says: Oct 2, 2009 3:16 PM

    # isonic1 says: October 2, 2009 1:25 PM
    Is the name Sexual Chocolate bad?
    isonic1, sounds like you’re a backdoor man. I guess it’s ok for you.
    # skigle1 says: October 2, 2009 1:59 PM
    The name of the team has been around FOREVER!! It’s not racist…
    skiglei1, that has to be the dumbest response I have ever heard.

  22. Rafterman says: Oct 2, 2009 3:30 PM

    # Mangy66 says: October 2, 2009 1:28 PM
    Moreso than any team I have followed in the past, this team needs a complete makeover.
    Jason Campbell won’t be back no matter how he plays this year.
    Clinton Portis is loveable, and did a lot for this team, but his schtik, and his running style have gotten old and predictable.
    Santana Moss will have a big week here and there, but should be a #2 receiver.
    The offensive line stinks.
    Our DE’s stink even more.
    LaRon Landry will always be overrated in my book until her realizes that you can’t make tackles with only your shoulders (Stanley Richard wannabe).
    Carlos Rogers and DeAngelo Hall have blown this season.
    Also…Landry and Rogers cannot catch a ball if it’s handed to them. they might as well have clubs for hands.
    Chris Cooley, Haynesworth and the other DTs and the starting LBs are the only players on this squad worth keeping.
    —————————————————-
    DING!! DING!!
    WE HAVE A WINNER!!
    —————————————————-
    My sentiments almost too a T.
    I will add that I feel sorry for Cooley, because he’s a decent player who’ll be stuck with this sorry excuse for a franchise for most of his career. Basically because he’s too popular with the fan base for his own good.
    Portis should have been allowed to go free agent when his contract expired, but those idiots resigned him.

  23. golongboyee says: Oct 2, 2009 4:00 PM

    Dan Snyder is the perfect example of what happens to a businessman when he lets his ego get the best of him. When he thinks he knows all and wont admit what he doesn’t know and get help. It is a 100% guar disaster.
    It is happening with Six Flags, Johnnie Rockets, and the Redskins.
    He is NOT a good businessman, despite what people like to repeat. So what if the Skins are one of the most profitable org in sports. Any average businessman could do what he did. A good businessman would have done 100% more AND had sense to get individuals who know how to put together at least a competitive team.
    Snyder is clueless and I really feel pity for Redskin fans. Because Snyder is a huge fan and will NEVER sell the team AND he will never change!

  24. rooster75 says: Oct 2, 2009 5:03 PM

    Entertaining interview, even though there’s a bit of spin control from one of Snyder’s admitted cronies. George Michael was a true innovator with the Sports Machine though.
    Could this Help Wanted ad pop up on the job boards if the ‘Skins lose to the Bucs this Sunday?
    http://thelaymansperch.com/blog/category/redskins/

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